Even as anti-nuclear protests rage in Kudankulam over safety of the nuclear power plant there, an operational safety review team (OSART) of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Vienna, will make its maiden visit to India on October 29. The team will inspect safety practices followed by the Rajasthan Atomic Power Station in its 3 and 4 units at Rawatbhata near Kota.
Atomic energy commission chairman Dr RK Sinha told Hindustan Times that the team is visiting the nuclear plants upon an invitation by India.
“It’s good to have a rigorous review of the safety practices followed in our nuclear plants by a team of experts chosen by the IAEA. We look forward to receiving a transparent and constructive feedback,” Sinha said.
In a bid to meet its ambitious target of generating 63,000 MW atomic power by 2032, India will have its own light water reactors, he said. “For inland sites with limited water resources, such reactors — each with 700 MW capacity — are well suited. The Indian industry is capable of manufacturing all major components of these reactors here. The concept design is ready and the detailing is being done by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India. But this will not kick off before 2020.”
At present, India’s 19 atomic plants produce 4,680 MW power. India, he said, was making a good progress in evolving a sound implementation framework for the programmes based on imported reactors. “The programme based on indigenous pressurised heavy water reactors is on schedule.”
Sinha also said there would be a gradual shift to plutonium-based fast breeder reactors. This, he said, would help substantially extend limited uranium resources.
“This year our nuclear power generation has increased by 23% over the previous year mainly on account of improved uranium supply. We have augmented our known domestic uranium reserves by around 70% following an extensive exploration work carried out by the Atomic Minerals Directorate of Exploration and Research during the past five years.”