India To Construct 10 Heavy Water Nuke Reactors

India plans to build 10 heavy water nuclear reactors in order to fast-track its nuclear power programme.
The Narendra Modi government in New Delhi recently cleared the plan, saying in a statement that the proposed move would generate business worth INR 700 billion and create 33,000 jobs in the next 15 years. After attending a Cabinet meeting chaired by PM Modi on May 17, Indian Minister of State with Independent Charge for Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy and Mines Piyush Goyal said that the plan is aimed at generating 63,000MW of nuclear power by 2032. The minister also said that the collapse of the US-based Westinghouse Electric Corporation prompted India to fast-track its domestic nuclear power programme.
Currently, the South Asian nation produces bulk of electricity by burning coal and also generates 6,780MW nuclear power, which accounts for just 2% of its needs. For the last few years, India has been trying hard to develop indigenous technology in nuclear power. Although 18 of India’s 22 operational nuclear reactors use heavy water, they have lower capacity. Goyal informed the media that the new reactors would generate 700MW power each.
Meanwhile, private players, like Larsen and Toubro, Kirloskar Brother Limited and Godrej & Boyce, have welcomed the government’s decision. While Larsen and Toubro Director S N Roy described the move as “bold and historic”, Chairman of Kirloskar Brother Limited Sanjay Kirloskar said: “Nuclear power plants will go a long way in reducing the perennial energy deficit.”
The use of heavy water is a safer and more efficient technology, as heavy water reactors use natural uranium (and not enriched uranium) as fuel. Indian scientists have the expertise to make heavy water nuclear reactors, which can be fuelled without shutting down.
As the Modi government decided to systematically pave the way for a nuclear-powered India, New Delhi underscored its commitment towards promoting non-conventional (or non-fossil) energy resources, like nuclear, solar and wind power. According to a study conducted by the World Nuclear Association (WNA), nuclear power provides more than 11% of the world’s electricity as continuous, reliable base-load power, without carbon dioxide emissions. Currently, 30 countries operate 449 nuclear reactors for electricity generation and 60 new nuclear plants are under construction in 15 countries.


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