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Nuclear power generation to get big push
BS Economy Bureau in New Delhi | October 05, 2004 12:28 IST
Nuclear power generation in the country is going to get a big push with the government planning to raise the target for 2020 at 20,000 MW. For this, it is looking at using recycled fuel and involving the private sector.
The installed capacity for nuclear power is 2,720 MW at present, and is expected to increase to 6,780 MW by 2008. The government has a target of enhancing capacity to 10,000 MW by 2012 and 20,000 MW by 2020.
The maximum potential generation at the first-stage nuclear plant with pressurised heavy water reactors using natural uranium is 10,000 MW. The first-stage programme, currently in progress at Kalpakkam, has reached maturity.
The Kalpakkam fast breeder reactor, which is expected to come up in another four years, will be a second-stage reactor, with a potential power generation capacity of 350,000 MW.
The second-stage programme will use recycled fuel from the first stage, along with breeding in the fast breeder reactor cycle. The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd is looking at replicating the Kalpakkam model.
In the third stage, the corporation plans to use thorium, which is available in abundant quantities in the country.
The draft National Electricity Policy is expected to moot private sector participation to raise nuclear power capacity.
Though the NEP would not lay out an investment route for the private sector, it could suggest joint ventures with NPCIL or setting up of privately-owned companies on the lines of independent power producers, sources said.
The share of nuclear electricity in the overall power generation capacity needed to be raised significantly in order to plug the power demand-supply gap in the country, said experts.
However, there is a need to evolve an economically efficient and acceptable cost-tariff structure for nuclear power, they added.