Cabinet clears proposal to build ten atomic reactors

Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Hindustan Times via Getty Images

The approval means that NPCIL, the entity that owns and operates India's 22 nuclear reactors-a total of 6.2 GW-can begin to site and build 10 more 700-MW PHWR units. "Another 6,700 MW of nuclear power is expected to be added by 2021-22 when now under-construction projects come on stream in Rajasthan, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu", said a Government statement. "It will help produce clean energy", power minister Piyush Goyal said after the cabinet decision was taken.

The Cabinet's announcement did not give any timeline or locations for the new plants, but said the project would result in a "significant augmentation" of the country's nuclear generation capacity. Another 6,700MW will be added when units under construction are completed by 2021-2022.

Number of new jobs that will be created with the decision to build 10 nuclear reactors.

It would be one of the flagship "Make in India" projects in this sector.

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Value of manufacturing orders that will be generated.

Addressing the Cabinet meeting here, the Union Minister asserted that apart from improving India's position globally, the development of the power sector will also provide a boost to the domestic manufacturing industry.

The total share of nuclear power in the country now stands at a measly 3.5 per cent. Making nuclear power contribute 20 per cent to the national grid is complicated: it is subject to placing willing sources for supply of not just standard nuclear fuel but also plutonium for a potential thorium programme. China has expressed concern about India because it is not a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. However, most of these reactors have a capacity lower than the ones that will be set up as part of the new project.

The 10 reactors would be built at Mahi Banswara (Rajasthan), Chutka (Madhya Pradesh), Kaiga (Karnataka) and Gorakhpur (Haryana). "We still have the option to collaborate with countries like Russian Federation and France", said Dr Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan, who heads the Nuclear and Space Policy Initiative at the Observer Research Foundation. Equipment and services for the new fleet will be domestically sourced, it said.

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