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Sidharth Babu asked: Why does India need to import reactors from outside when NPCIL has its own reactors?

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  • Kapil Patil replies: India is currently pursuing a three-stage programme for nuclear power generation. The Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) has successfully operationalised the first stage of the programme with indigenously designed, built and operated 17 Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs), including two 540 MWe reactors and four additional 700 MWe PHWRs, under construction. According to DAE’s plan drawn in 2004, a target of 208,000 MWe of nuclear power has been set by 2052 using Indian uranium resources.

    In the coming decades, however, India is likely to face a serious deficit in energy demand and supply. A study by the DAE estimates this deficit to be of the order of 412 GWe in the year 2050. This will require large expansion of thermal power capacity and import of coal from the international market. To bridge this energy demand and supply deficit, the DAE modified the 2004 plan to import at least 40,000 MWe of Light Water Reactors (LWRs) in the next two decades.

    The imported LWRs and fuel would also supplement the indigenous capacity through use of spent fuel from the imported LWRs which would accelerate the launch of series of Fast Breeder Reactors (FBRs) in the second stage. The acceleration of second stage would thus bridge the energy demand and supply gap by the year 2050. The imported reactors will be built in collaboration with the NPCIL and the Indian nuclear industry. The Indian industry has successfully manufactured components and equipments for the indigenous PHWRs and is capable of supplying components for the imported LWRs of diverse designs.

    For more on the subject, please refer to the following:

    Strategy for Growth of Electricity in India”, Department of Atomic Energy, Government of India.

    Anil Kakodkar, “Evolving Indian Nuclear Programme: Rationale and Perspective”, Public Lecture at the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore, July 04, 2008.

    Posted on April 10, 2015