India’s nuclear programme is going to play a crucial role to meet the growing energy needs of the country in the times to come, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh said.
Singh was speaking at the three-day International conference on “India’s role in Global Nuclear Governance”, organized by the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA).
“India’s nuclear programme today is moving shoulder to shoulder with all the developed nations of the world and while the concerns are the same as those of the rest of the world, the future challenges are also the same. India supports the concept of global nuclear governance as a part of it is also evolving to a level of higher understanding in this country,” the minister added.
While India has set an example for the rest of the world about how to use this nuclear programme exclusively for peaceful and developmental purposes, Singh said India is eager to cooperate with the other Nation States and civil society to raise awareness on nuclear security issues.
The role of civil society is particularly essential in this regard and there is need for enhancing mutual confidence among nations on higher nuclear security implementation, he added.
Singh also emphasized the urgent need to start a country wide awareness campaign to educate the public about enormous peaceful benefits of nuclear energy and to clear the air about the apprehensions which sometimes come in the way of setting up of new atomic and nuclear plants under the Department of Atomic Energy.
To effectively carry forward an awareness campaign like this, the Department of Atomic Energy solicits the support and cooperation of like-minded scientific groups, social scientists and voluntary agencies who can carry forward the message to every section of society, he added.
“The safeguards observed in our nuclear plants are as per the rules, procedures and principles laid down by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) under the Department of Atomic Energy and are among the best practices in the world,” he said.
In today’s age and times, Singh added that the peaceful and constructive application of nuclear energy is widening with each passing day and nuclear energy is not only proving to be a boon in fields like medical treatment and agriculture, but is also going to be a major source of energy to meet the ever increasing demand of energy and electricity in the country.
The minister recalled that over 60 years ago, Dr Homi Bhabha had started India’s nuclear programme primarily for peaceful purposes and today we have not only vindicated Dr Homi Bhabha’s dream, but also presented a glorious example for the rest of the world. Along with solar energy, nuclear energy is going to be one of the richest resources for India as it moves ahead to become the Asian giant of 21st century, he added.
Backgrounder note on India’s Nuclear Power Capacity :
Plans underway to step up nuclear cap from 5780 MW to 10,000 MW :
Unlike fossil fuel based power production, nuclear power is a clean-air technology that doesn’t emit any pollution and is friendly to the environment.
India’s Total Nuclear Power Capacity currently stands at 5780 MWe, with all 21 nuclear power reactors belonging to the state-owned Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) under the Department of Atomic Energy.
Details of NPCIL’s Atomic Energy Plants in Operation :
·Tarapur Atomic Power Station (TAPS) Units-1&2 in Maharashtra: It has two Boiling Water Reactor (BWR) type reactors of 160 MWe each and two Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs) reactors Unit-3&4 of 540 MWe each–with a combined capacity of 1400 MWe.
·Rajasthan Atomic Power Station (RAPS) in Rajasthan: It has Units 1 to 6 with all being PHWR type reactors with a combined capacity of 1180 MWe.
·Madras Atomic Power Station (MAPS) in Tamil Nadu : two PHWR type units 1&2 of 220 MW each and combined capacity of 440 MWe.
·Kaiga Generating Station (KGS) in Karnataka : PHWR Units 1 to4 of 220 MWe each and combined capacity of 880 MWe.
·Kundankulam Atomic Power Project in Tamil Nadu (One Unit of 1000 MWe VVER PWR type reactor).
·Narora Atomic Power Station (NAPS) in Uttar Pradesh ( Two PHWR units of 220 MWe each and combined capacity of 440 MWe).
.Kakrapar Atomic Power Station (KAPS) in Gujarat (PHWR Units 1&2 of 220 MWe each and Combined capacity of 440 Mwe).
Besides, NPCIL also has a 10 mw wind power plant at the Kundakulam site in Tamil Nadu.
NPCIL’s Units Under Construction :
·Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project Unit-2 (1×1000 MW VVER).
·Kakrapar Atomic Power Project Unit-3&4 (2×700 MW PHWRs).
·Rajasthan Atomic Power Project Units-7&8 (2×700 MW PHWRs).
NPCIL’s reactor fleet comprises of two Boiling Water Reactors (BWRs) and 18 Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs) including one 100 MW PHWR at Rajasthan which is owned by DAE, Government of India.
Latest addition to the fleet is the unit-1 of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project, a 1000 MW VVER (Pressurised Water Reactor type), which has started its commercial operation on December 31, 2014. Currently NPCIL has five reactors under various stages of construction/commissioning totalling 3800 MW capacity
Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project is India’s largest single Nuclear Power Project (2 X 1000 MWe) is being implemented with Technical Co-operation with Russian Federation.
India’s long-term nuclear power programme is based on the potential to utilize the vast indigenous thorium resources for large-scale electricity generation for centuries.
India’s uranium resources can support a first-stage programme of over 10,000 MW based on Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs) using natural uranium as fuel and heavy water as moderator and coolant.
The energy potential of natural uranium can be increased to about 3,00,000 MW in the second stage of the programme in the coming years through Fast Breeder Reactors (FBRs), utilizing depleted uranium and plutonium obtained from the recycled spent fuel of the first stage along with thorium as blanket, to produce U-233.
With the deployment of thorium in the third-stage reactors, using U-233 as fuel, the energy potential for electricity generation is substantially large and sustainable for centuries. Indigenous industrial infrastructure for reactor programme is well developed. Special infrastructure for the production of fuel, heavy water, reactor control and instrumentation have been developed within the Department of Atomic Energy.
Indian industry has gained valuable experience and reached a stage of maturity in manufacturing equipment, components and handling of mega package contracts for these reactors.
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