Nuclear power generation capacity in the country is expected to reach nearly 15,000 MW by 2024 as the government has expedited the process of setting up new plants, Lok Sabha was informed today. In 2014, India’s nuclear power generation capacity was 4,780 MW. Minister of State for PMO Jitendra Singh said a number of steps have been taken by the Narendra Modi government to fast-track all ongoing nuclear projects and setting up of new plants in different parts of the country. “When we came to power in 2014, we had set a target of generating nuclear power by three time in 10 years and we hope to reach that target,” he said during Question Hour. The Minister, however, said for generating targeted nuclear power, there has to be enough uranium available – both from domestic as well as foreign sources.
Singh said the government was actively pursuing the process of acquiring uranium from different sources, including exploration in new places like Bihar and Meghalaya. He said for the first time, the Nuclear Power Corporation of India has been allowed to go for setting up of joint venture nuclear plants along with Public Sector Undertakings. The Minister said the third stage of India’s nuclear power programme contemplates using thorium along with uranium- 233 as fuel in thorium-based reactors. With sustained efforts of years, India has gained experience over the entire thorium fuel cycle on a semi- industrial scale, he said.
“The developmental activities include studies in thorium extraction, fuel fabrication and irradiation, reprocessing studies including construction of an engineering-scale power reactor, thorium reprocessing facility and setting up of uranium-233 fuelled Purnima and KAMINI research reactors,” he said. Singh said the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre and research organisations attached with DAE are engaged in various R&D activities to address the utilisation of thorium in different types of reactors, including efforts aimed at enlarging the existing thorium cycle experience to a bigger scale.