“21 nuclear reactors with a total installed capacity of 15,700 megawatt are currently under construction. There are nine nuclear power reactors at various stages of construction which are expected to be completed by the year 2024-25”
This update was provided by India’s Union Minister Jitendra Singh during a parliamentary update this week (18 July).
In addition, in-principle approval has been given for 5 sites for setting up nuclear plants. The sites are in Jaitapur (Mahareshtra), Kovada (Andhra Pradesh), Chhaya Mithi Virdi (Gujarat), Haripur (West Bengal) and Bhimpur (Madhya Pradesh).
France’s EDF is planning to build 6 European Pressurised Reactors (EPRs) in Jaitapur and USA’s Westinghouse plans to build 6 AP1000 reactors in Kovada. 6 reactor units with 1000 MW capacity each has been earmarked for Chhaya Mithi Virdi and Haripur site while the Bhimpur site will have 4 reactor units with 700 MW capacity.
The Indian Government has taken several enabling steps to increase the nuclear power capacity, based both on indigenous technologies & with foreign technical cooperation and to provide adequate quantity of fuel. These include:
- Resolution of issues related to Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage (CLND) Act, 2010
- Creation of Indian Nuclear Insurance Pool (INIP)
- Accord of administrative approval and financial sanction of – ten (10) indigenous 700 MW Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs) to be set up in fleet mode. Of these, eight (08) are to be setup at green field sites
- Amendment of the Atomic Energy Act to enable Joint Ventures of Public Sector Companies to set up nuclear power projects
- Entering into enabling agreements with foreign countries for nuclear power cooperation including supply of fuel
Nuclear power reactors to be set up are funded by a mix of debt and equity. Generally, the debt to equity ratio is about 70:30. The equity requirements are met from indigenous sources comprising of investments by Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) and domestic budgetary support. The debt is sourced from both domestic and external borrowings. In respect of reactors to be set up in technical cooperation with foreign countries, debt is planned to be sourced from either the vendor country as credit or from lending agencies.
The equity requirements of future reactors is planned to be met with the internal resources, Government’s budgetary support and contribution of Joint Venture (JV) partners.
With respect to existing nuclear power plants, the Government has no plans to increase the capacity as the existing units are operating at their rate capacity. The unit size of indigenous Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs) had already been increased from 220 MW to 540 MW and then to 700 MW, which are now under construction.
First nuclear power park in India
Kudankulam is poised to become the India’s first nuclear power park by 2026. A nuclear power park refers to a site with a number of large capacity reactors that have a total capacity of 6,000 MW or more. The overall cost of the the nuclear park will be around $17 billion.
The first and second units of the Kudankulum Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP) are fully operational with the third and fourth units are being constructed at a cost of approximately $6 billion. The government has sanctioned $7.5 billion to the fifth and sixth units of the plant.
KNPP is jointly constructed by Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation and Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL). Atomenergomash is the supplier of the main equipment for the reactor and turbine islands. The design and construction works on the site are being performed by ASE Group of Companies, an engineering division of Rosatom.