India looks at giant leap in power production


Geetanjali Minhas | October 7, 2013

Given the projected growth of economy and the expected rise in energy demands along with it, India aims to add 54,000 MW electricity to its generation capacity.

India’s consumption per hour is 700 kWh/Cap while the same of the US is more than 13,000 kWh/Cap. Though its GDP is the third largest after the US and China, in terms of electricity generation and consumption India is the fourth largest nation after China, US and Russian Federation.

“Use of electricity and economic development go hand in hand. India has no option but to exploit all sources of energy to have affordable power generation capacity – be it solar, nuclear, coal, oil, gas, hydro or others. Hopefully the Kudankulam nuclear power plant will be connected to the grid and start supplying electricity this month,” said Arun Srivastava, Secretary, Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), and Member, Strategic Planning Group, Department of Atomic Energy, at the Third Nuclear Energy Summit held in Mumbai last week.

He was speaking on the nuclear power scenario in India. Out of India’s 20 operational nuclear power reactors (18 pressurised heavy water reactors or PHWRs and two BWR) that cumulatively generate 4,780 MW power, 19 reactors are operating at present and RAPS I has shut down for safety reasons.

Then there are seven under-construction power plants including four PHWRs with 700 MW capacity indigenous reactor with natural uranium and two light water reactors (LWRs) with slightly enriched uranium. Out of the two power plants at Kudankulam, one reactor is to be operational this month while Unit 2 of the Tarapur Atomic Power Station has operated uninterrupted for 590 days.

Sixteen additional PHWRs with a capacity of 700 MW and 28 additional imported LWRs with capacity of 35,500 MW energy generation are planned. One 500 MW prototype fast breeder reactor (PBFR) is under construction and 1,000 MW fast breeder reactor (FBR) are planned.   

The government plans to launch many new reactors during the 12th plan, and more will follow in the 13th and 14th plans. The two units of the Kudankulam power plant are expected to generate 6,780 MW, while the under-construction PBFR at Kalpakkam is expected to generate 7,280 MW. KAPS-3&4 and RAPS-7&8 will both generate 10,080 MW.

Experts at the summit said that prior to the conclusion of the international civil nuclear cooperation, this generation was declining due to fuel demand-supply mismatch which is plugged to a large extent due to the availability of imported fuel after nuclear cooperation. RAPS 2-6 and KAPS 1-2 operate with imported fuel.




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