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India hopes to export reactors after N-deal

Although the road to the much talked about Indo-US civil nuclear deal remains bumpy, the nuclear industry hopes to cash in on it.

india Updated: May 14, 2007 13:11 IST

Although the road to the much talked about Indo-US civil nuclear deal remains bumpy, India's nuclear industry hopes to cash in if it finally goes through.

"There is demand for our reactors from abroad and we are hoping we will be able to export them soon," a senior official of the Nuclear Power Corp of India Ltd (NPCIL) said.

"We have received requests from a few countries for building them on turnkey basis," said Harsh Kapoor, site director of Kaiga atomic station in Karnataka. He declined to name the countries saying that talks were still on.

The government will make an announcement at the right time, he said.

India at present does not have sanction to export nuclear technology and will have to wait until the international community, in the form of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), grants it. This in turn depends on the progress on the outcome of Indo-US negotiations on nuclear cooperation.

Kapoor said the export model would be similar to the 220-MW units in Kaiga. The design uses natural uranium as fuel and heavy water as moderator and coolant.

A state-owned company, the NPCIL builds and runs nuclear power plants in India. Karnataka, in south India, is one of the sites where NPCIL has three 220-MW power reactors in operation. The fourth unit in Kaiga is nearing completion.

The third unit, whose power was fed into the grid last month, and the fourth unit that will go critical in December have been built in a record time of 32 months, Kapoor said.

The Kaiga power station would have two more 700 MW units in future after government approval, he said.

The NPCIL hopes to build eight 700 MW units and ten 1,000 MW units in the next five years. The plants are expected to come up at nine new sites, in addition to raising the number of plants at the existing stations.