In a bid to ramp up nuclear power generation in the country, the Union Cabinet on Wednesday cleared a proposal to build ten indigenous Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors, the largest ever approval granted for such facilities in one go. Each reactor will have the capacity to produce 700 MW of electricity. “A total of 7000 MW capacity will be added. It will help produce clean energy,” Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal said.
“As the government marks three years of its nation and people-centric governance, in a first of its kind project for India’s nuclear power sector, the 10 new units will come up in fleet mode as a fully homegrown initiative. It would be one of the flagship Make in India projects in this sector,” a government statement said.
With likely manufacturing orders of close to Rs 70,000 crore to the domestic companies, the project is expected to help transform Indian nuclear industry and likely generate more than 33,400 jobs in direct and indirect employment.
“The Cabinet’s decision reflects the government’s commitment to prioritise the use of clean power in India’s energy mix, as part of low-carbon growth strategy and to ensure long-term base load requirement for the nation’s industrialisation. It also supports India’s commitment to sustainable development, energy self-sufficiency, and bolsters global efforts to combat climate change.”
This comes post the Parliament discussions in March where the Lok Sabha was informed that the country’s nuclear power generation capacity was expected to reach almost 15,000 MW by 2024, with the government expediting the process of setting up new plants. MoS for PMO Jitendra Singh had informed the house that government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi had taken a number of steps to speed up ongoing nuclear projects as well as the setting up of new plants across the country. In 2014, India’s nuclear power generation capacity was 4,780 MW.
“When we came to power in 2014, we had set a target of generating nuclear power by three time in 10 years and we hope to reach that target,” Singh had said, adding that for the generated targeted nuclear power, there had to be adequate uranium available, from both domestic and foreign sources. The government was pursuing the process of acquiring uranium from different sources, including from Bihar and Meghalaya the minister had said at the time.