India has allocated an extra 30 billion rupees ($442 million) to boost nuclear power generation projects over the next 15-20 years in its 2016 budget, finance minister Arun Jaitley announced on 29 February.
"We need to diversify the sources of power generation for long-term stability," Jaitley said in his budget speech. "The government is drawing up a comprehensive plan, spanning over 15 to 20 years, to augment nuclear power generation. Budgetary allocation of up to 3000 crore rupees per annum, together with public sector investments, will be leveraged to facilitate the required investment for this purpose," Jaitley said in his budget speech. (One crore is equivalent to ten million).
India has 21 nuclear power plants in operation, with six under construction, and plans for further construction of both indigenous pressurized heavy water reactors and projects with overseas partners. In April 2015 the government gave its approval in principle for new nuclear plants at ten sites in nine states: indigenous PHWRs at Gorakhpur in Haryana's Fatehabad; Chutka and Bhimpur in Madhya Pradesh; Kaiga in Karnataka; and Mahi Banswara in Rajasthan; and plants with foreign cooperation at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu (VVER); Jaitapur in Maharashtra (EPR); Mithi Virdhi in Gujarat (AP1000); Kovvada in Andhra Pradesh (ESBWR) and Haripur in West Bengal (VVER). Two 600 MWe fast breeder reactors are also proposed at Kalpakkam.
In January, Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and French president Francois Hollande said that the two countries are on course to finalize a deal on the construction of six EPR units at Jaitapur by the end of the year. The same month, the Indian cabinet confirmed that commercial negotiations between Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) and Westinghouse on the construction of six AP1000 units at Mithi Virdi in India were also on course to be finalized this year.
India recently amended its atomic energy act to enable NPCIL to form joint ventures with other Indian public sector units, which will help the state-owned company to secure finance for new projects.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News