The country plans to add 21 new atomic power plants in the country and work on these plants is expected to take off during the ongoing Eleventh Plan period (2007-12). These plants would be based on indigenous and foreign technology, highly placed government sources said.
Together these power plants are expected to add almost 16,900 mega watts (MW) of nuclear energy. At present six nuclear power stations have 17 nuclear power reactors with a total installed capacity of 4,120 MW.
The total cost of commissioning these power plants is yet to be evaluated, according to an official, who did not wish to be identified as he was not authorised to speak to the media.
Of the 21 new plants, eight — with an installed capacity of 700 MW each — would be based on pressurised heavy water technology. One would be of 300 MW based on advance heavy water technology, and 10 plants of 1,000 MW each would be light water reactors. Pre-projects feasibility studies are on for two power plants based on fast breeder reactors as well, the official said.
The government is conducting pre-feasibility studies in Nigeria, Namibia and Tajikistan to source uranium, while Rs 1,000 crore is being spent for development of uranium mines in Andhra to make fuel available for these reactors.
State-owned BHEL is in the process of forming a joint venture with Nuclear Power Corp. of India Ltd. for carrying out engineering, procurement and construction of conventional nuclear power plants.
US-based Thorium Power and private sector infrastructure firm Punj Lloyd signed a pioneering joint venture agreement to set up thorium-based nuclear power plants in the private sector.