Top nuclear scientists today welcomed the government nod to 10 indigenous pressurised heavy water nuclear reactors and said it will bring India to the “frontline of the global nuclear manufacturing and supply chain”. The Union Cabinet had earlier this week cleared a proposal to indigenously build 10 atomic reactors, the largest ever approval granted for such facilities in one go. India’s installed nuclear power capacity is 6,780 MW from 22 operational plants. The new reactors will add another 7,000 MW to it. “(This) has sent out a strong message of the robustness of our domestic nuclear programme,” a statement issued by the Department of Atomic Energy quoted top scientists who have served the body in the past.
These include Dr Anil Kakodkar, who was one of the key players behind the Indo-US nuclear deal; Dr M R Srinivasan, under whom fast breeder reactors got a boost; Dr R K Sinha under whose watch the Kudankulam project materialised. All of them have headed the Atomic Energy Commission in the past.
“The decision to construct reactors in fleet mode is unprecedented in the history of India’s atomic energy programme and demonstrates the determined vision of the present government to pursue accelerated expansion of nuclear power to ensure the nation’s energy security and meet India’s clean energy commitments,” the statement read.
The total share of nuclear power in the country currently stands at a measly 3.5 per cent. The 10 reactors would be built at Mahi Banswara in Rajasthan, Chutka in Madhya Pradesh, Kaiga in Karnataka and Gorakhpur in Haryana. With likely manufacturing orders of close to Rs 70,000 crore to the domestic companies, the project is expected to help transform Indian nuclear industry and generate more than 33,400 jobs in direct and indirect employment.