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Nuclear deal is here and the business too

With the N-deal crossing its last hurdle in the US Senate, NPCIL officials are hopeful of faster and easier fuel supplies for its power plants from uranium rich countries, reports Samiran Saha. The commerce of N-deal | Facts of the pact.

business Updated: Oct 03, 2008 00:47 IST
Samiran Saha

India’s nuclear power production capacity is set to nearly double over the next fours years with state-run Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) pulling all stops to commission four new projects.

The company has sent a status report of its ongoing four projects across Rajasthan, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu that would produce an additional 3,160 mw.

With the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal crossing its last hurdle in the US Senate, company officials are hopeful of faster and easier fuel supplies for these power plants from uranium rich countries.

Nuclear today
There are 435 commercial nuclear reactors in 30 countries.

Nuclear tomorrow
As of 2007 there are 32 reactors under construction, with 18 of them are in Asia.

As many as 214 N-reactors were proposed worldwide with a total capacity of 179,345 Mwe. More than half of these are in Asia.

Source: “Nuclear Power in the World Today.” World Nuclear Association. (2007)

“The company is waiting for fuel loading and the government is putting in efforts to augment the fuel supply,” a top power ministry official, who did not wish to be named, told Hindustan Times.

Chronic uranium shortage is the primary reason behind India’s current low nuclear power production. India has 17 reactors in six states that produced 4,120 mw in 2007.

The largest NPCIL project under construction is in Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu that would have a capacity to generate 2,000 mw of power from nuclear sources.

The two units of 1,000 MW each at the plant are expected to be commissioned next year. About 83.3 per cent of construction work in these units have been completed.

The Rajasthan Atomic Power Plant that would produce 440 mw through two units are expected to be commissioned by March and about 94.2 per cent of construction work has been completed.

Similarly, the 220 mw Kaiga power plant in Karnataka is expected to be completed by December.


The Number 41,429 in tonnes, worldwide production of uranium

With the US Senate clearing India-US civilian nuclear deal on Thursday night, uranium is going to be among the most sought after commodities. Analysts said the initial uranium trade will be canalised through the Indian government as only state-run companies would set up reactors initially. “The deal for the raw material is bilateral in nature and mostly the companies that are into the uranium mining are government owned,” said Joseph Massey, managing director, Multi Commodity Exchange.

The private sector companies will get to enter the nuclear power business later. “Even for the private companies, uranium imports will be canalised through government agencies due to safeguard issues,” said a senior official from a private sector company that plans to build nuclear power projects.

Sandeep Singh