Government Eyes Setting up 15.7 GW Nuclear Power Capacity by 2031, NTPC Plans Nuclear Plant Fleet
The Indian Union Government plans to set up 21 new nuclear power plants by 2031, which will have an aggregate power generation capacity of 15.7 GW. This information was given in a written reply to a question asked in the Lok Sabha by Minister of State for the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), Dr. Jitendra Singh.
Separately, as per a report published in Bloomberg, a Government-owned energy major, NTPC plans to develop a fleet of nuclear power plants to add 20-30 GW of power generation capacity by 2040.
Currently, India has 22 operational nuclear reactors with an aggregate capacity of 6.8 GW.
Nuclear Projects of 8.7 GW Aggregate Capacity Under Construction, 7 GW of Projects Granted Approval
Nuclear Power Plants Under Construction in India
Units 3 and 4 of the Kakrapar Nuclear Plant (KAPP 3 & 4) in Gujarat, each of 700 MW capacity, are expected to be commissioned in 2023. As of October 2022, 97.12% of work at Kakrapar has been completed.
A Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR) of 500 MW power generation capacity at the Kalpakkam nuclear power station will be the next to be commissioned in 2024.
Other nuclear projects that are under construction include those at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu, Rawatbhata in Rajasthan, and in Haryana’s Gorakhpur.
Work is underway on four units, each of 1000 MW capacity in the Kundankulam Nuclear Power Plant. While units 3 & 4 (KKNPP 3 & 4) is expected to be complete by 2025, work on units 5 & 6 (KKNPP 5 & 6) is envisaged to be done by 2027.
In Rawatbhata, two units of 700 MW power generation capacity each are under development, and are expected to be complete by 2026. The Lok Sabha was told in the written reply that 88.88% of work on units 7 & 8 (RAPP 7 & 8) has been completed as of October 2022.
Gorakhpur Nuclear Power Plant, which is the newest nuclear project out of those under construction, will have its first two units (GHAVP 1 & 2) operational by 2029. Each of these two units will have the capacity to produce 700 MW of power.
Approved Nuclear Power Plants
Nuclear capacity of 7 GW will be developed by 2031 in four locations, in the form of 10 nuclear plants of 700 MW each. These locations are Mahi Banswara in Rajasthan, Chutka in Madhya Pradesh, Gorakhpur in Haryana and Kaiga in Karnataka. Pre-project activities at these sites are in progress. At Kaiga, for the approved units (Units 5 & 6) excavation is underway.
In Mahi Banswara, four nuclear power units of 700 MW generation capacity each (Units 1 & 2 and 3 & 4) have been approved.
In all the other locations, two nuclear power units of 700 MW capacity have been given government approval.
NTPC Seeks to Generate 20-30 GW Nuclear Power by 2040
Bloomberg has reported that state-owned NTPC has set a tentative target to generate 20 to 30 GW of nuclear power capacity by 2040.
The company plans to set up a series of Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) of 100 MW to 300 MW capacity to this end. NTPC has stated that these reactors will be developed in collaboration with Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), and through foreign SMR suppliers. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) defines SMRs as advanced reactors which are compact and modular in nature, meaning that they can be easily installed by assembling pre-fabricated components. Such reactors can be installed at sites which are not suitable for developing traditional nuclear power plants.
As per the report, NTPC also seeks to pursue plans for larger reactors through a joint venture with Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL). This joint venture between NTPC and NPCIL has been named ASHVINI (Anusakthi Vidhyut Nigam Limited), as stated by NTPC. ASHVINI will be engaged in setting up Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors.