Nuclear power programme poised for rapid expansion in India

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New Delhi: Constraints have now been overcome and nuclear power programme is poised for rapid expansion in India

To increase the share of nuclear power generation, the Government has taken several steps to increase the nuclear power capacity and to provide adequate quantity of fuel. These include:

  • Resolution of issues related to Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage (CLND) Act & Creation of Indian Nuclear Insurance Pool (INIP).
  • Accord of administrative approval and financial sanction of – ten (10) indigenous 700 MW Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs) to be set up in fleet mode & two (02) units of Light Water Reactors (LWRs) to be set up in cooperation with Russian Federation.
  • Amendment of the Atomic Energy Act to enable Joint Ventures of Public Sector Companies to set up nuclear power projects.
  • Entering into enabling agreements with foreign countries for nuclear power cooperation including supply of fuel.

This information was provided by the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Development of North-Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh in written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha on Thursday 4 July 2019.

Nuclear share has remained around 3% of the total electricity generation in the country and the share of atomic energy in the overall electricity generation in the country was about 2.93% in the year 2017-18.The main reason for low share has been the low installed capacity base. The reasons for low capacity base are:

Technology development and international embargo regime that persisted from 1974 to 2008. As a result, all the technologies for nuclear power including the fuel cycle technologies had to be developed within the country, thus took time.

Another constraint faced during the first two decades was availability of financial resources, as it had to solely depend on budgetary support. However, the earlier constraints have now been overcome and nuclear power programme is poised for rapid expansion.

Nuclear Plant expansion Programme

Finance Minister’s budget speech in Lok Sabha on 29 February 2016 for 2016-17 budget included a reference to nuclear energy.

The Finance Minister had underscored in 2018: “In the power sector, we need to diversify the sources of power generation for long term stability. Government is drawing up a comprehensive plan, spanning next 15 to 20 years, to augment the investment in nuclear power generation. Budgetary allocation up to Rs 3,000 crore per annum, together with public sector investments, will be leveraged to facilitate the required investment for this purpose.”

To meet the large equity requirements involved in implementation of the planned nuclear power expansion programme, formation of Joint Ventures (JV) of Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) with other PSUs was contemplated. In this context, NPCIL entered into Joint Ventures (JV) with Public Sector Undertakings NTPC Limited, Indian Oil Corporation Limited and National Aluminium Company Limited (NALCO). The Government also brought an Amendment of the Atomic Energy Act to enable Joint Ventures of Public Sector Companies to set up nuclear power projects.

The equity funding of the projects presently under construction and projects whose administrative approval and financial sanction is available, have been tied up.

This information was also provided by Dr Jitendra Singh in a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha today.

Earth Observation Satellite RISAT-2B

RISAT-2B is an indigenously developed Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Imaging Satellite operating in the X-band. The highly agile satellite is capable of operating in different modes including Very High Resolution RADAR imaging modes of 1m x 0.5m resolution and 0.5m x 0.3m resolution. In order to increase the number of imaging opportunities, the satellite is placed in an inclined orbit. As, RISAT-2B is a Radar Imaging satellite; it can be operated effectively during day / night / all weather conditions.

The Satellite will be used for high resolution spot imaging of locations of interest. Apart from this, data from RISAT-2B will also be utilized for agriculture applications and disaster management support.

Applications of X-Band SAR imagery include Hydrology, Crops, Forestry, Geosciences and Cryosphere. During the time of exigencies, very high resolution, day/night/all-weather imaging capabilities of RISAT-2B could be utilized for Disaster Management Support.

This information was provided in Rajya sabha by the Government on Thursday

Launching of Space Station

The Government also told Rajya Sabha on Thursday that the activities associated with Space station being an extension of Gaganyaan Programme, will be taken up after the demonstration of Human space flight.

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