The Indian government has announced an increase of almost 27% in its budget for atomic research and nuclear power for the latest fiscal year. Investment in nuclear-related public enterprises has also significantly increased.
In its budget for 2014-15, which began on 1 April, the government has allocated INR 104.5 billion ($1.7 billion) to the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE). Of this amount, INR 87.4 billion ($1455 million) is for nuclear research while the remainder is for nuclear power generation.
The amount for nuclear energy research includes INR 28.9 billion ($483 million) for the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) in Mumbai and INR 11.2 billion ($187 million) for the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR) at Kalpakkam. In total, five R&D units currently operate under the aegis of the DAE.
A further INR 12.8 billion ($213 million) has been budgeted for fuel fabrication facilities, while INR 8.3 billion ($138 million) will be put towards heavy water production.
For nuclear power production, some INR 17.1 billion ($285 million) has been allocated. This includes INR 300 million ($5 million) for the 500 MWe prototype fast breeder reactor (FBR) under construction at Kalpakkam.
In the previous budget, the government initially allocated DAE a total of INR 98.3 billion ($1.6 billion), but this was later revised to INR 82.4 billion ($1.4 billion).
The government has also allocated INR 6.4 billion ($107 million) for investment in Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) and Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Ltd (Bhavini). This is more than double the amount budgeted last year. NPCIL is the state-owned owner and operator of India's nuclear power plants and Bhavini is a government enterprise set up to focus on FBRs.
A further INR 1.5 billion ($25 million) will be invested in DAE subsidiary Uranium Corporation of India Ltd (UCIL) for the development of mining and processing of uranium. Some INR 300 million ($5 million) was allocated for this in the 2013-14 budget.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News