Govt proposes 10 new indigenous nuclear power reactors

The union cabinet on Thursday approved a proposal to construct 10 units of India's indigenous Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWR), in a move to fast-track India's domestic nuclear power programme and give a push to country's nuclear industry.

The union cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave its approval for construction of 10 units of the indigenous nuclear reactors with a total installed capacity of 7,000 MW, a significant augmentation of nuclear power generation capacity.

The 10 reactors will be part of India's latest design of 700 MW PHWR fleet with state-of-art technology meeting the highest standards of safety, says an official release.

The first of its kind project for India's nuclear power sector, the ten 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.

With likely manufacturing orders of close to Rs70,000 crore spread across domestic industry, the project will help transform Indian nuclear industry by linking high-end technology programmes with indigenous industrial capacities, says the release.

The project will bring about substantial economies of scale and maximise cost and time efficiencies by adopting fleet mode for execution. It is expected to generate more than 33,400 jobs in direct and indirect employment. With manufacturing orders to domestic industry, it will be a major step towards strengthening India's credentials as a major nuclear manufacturing powerhouse, according to the release.

India has a current installed nuclear power capacity of 6,780 MW from 22 operational plants. Another 6,700 MWs of nuclear power is expected to come onstream by 2021-22 through projects presently under construction. The proposed indigenous PHWRs will help add another 7,000 MW, taking the country's overall nuclear power generating capacity to 20,480 MW.

India has made rapid advances in nuclear technology and its nuclear scientific community has attained mastery over all aspects of PHWR technology. India's record of building and operating PHWR reactors over the last nearly forty years is globally acclaimed.

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, the release added.