Railways plans to set up 1,400-MW nuclear plant

Written by fe Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Jul 31 2013, 09:29am hrs
Indian Railways is planning to enter nuclear power generation to reduce its depenadence on state-owned power distribution companies for its energy requirements. The national transporter is planning to set up a 1,400-MW nuclear power plant on its own or in collaboration with Nuclear Power Corporation. It has formed a joint team with the department of atomic energy to explore all options for the proposed project.

We have joined hands with the department of atomic energy to work on a captive nuclear plant. We will soon sign an MOU with them. The generating capacity of the plant would be 700x2MW, said a railway board official.

Railways gradually wants to become self-reliant in energy. It has two thermal power plant of combined capacity of around 2,300 MW. The national transporter is currently implementing a plan to produce 157 MW power from wind energy with a total investment of about R1,100 crore.

At present, railway consumes around 4,000 MW electricity in a day and it is expected to go up by 1,000 MW in a couple of years. Currently, 35% of total railway network is electrified.

Under the existing regulations, public sector entities are allowed to set up nuclear power projects after getting vetted by DAE.

All our requirements are sourced from state-owned power distribution companies. The aim is to reduce railways energy dependence from outside sources by developing large-scale in-house capabilities that would also help in reducing the overall energy bill from current levels of R8,000 crore annually, the railway board official added.

Railways consumed over 16.6 billion units during 2011-12 and paid electricity bill of about R8,715 crore for traction and non-traction applications. Around 65% of freight and 50% of passenger traffic is carried using electronic locomotives. The Railways pays about R5.4 a unit of electricity. Meanwhile, Railways is expecting to operationalise the first phase of its captive power plant at Nabi Nagar in Bihar in May 2014. The total capacity of the plant is 1,000 MW. Railways is also hoping to fast-track commissioning of 2x660 MW thermal power plant, R7,700 crore project joint venture between NTPC and railway, in Purulia in West Bengal.