The Cabinet has announced its approval to construct 10 new indigenous pressurized heavy water nuclear reactors to augment the nuclear energy production in the country.
In the absence of NSG membership, India has chosen to take the indigenous path for nuclear-energy.
Ramping up India's nuclear energy capacity
What are Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors?
Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors, use natural Uranium as fuel, unlike other reactors which need Uranium to be enriched first. This makes them safer to use and also cheaper. Most of India's nuclear reactors are PHWRs, but as they are older, they have lower power output.
Details of the announcement
The 10 approved reactors would each produce 700MW of power. They would cost approximately Rs. 70,000 crore.
Power Minister Piyush Goyal said that these plants will begin producing at least 6700MW of power by 2021-22, adding that the government wants to cross the 20,000MW mark in nuclear energy production by 2022.
However, he did not mention the locations or time-frame for the proposed reactors.
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Best for indigenous growth: Piyush Goyal
Power Minister Piyush Goyal said, "The project will help transform Indian nuclear industry by linking our goal of a strong nuclear power sector with our indigenous industrial capacities in high-end technologies."
State of the art technology to be used
Piyush Goyal said the move would be a flagship initiative of 'Make in India'.
He said the reactors would use state of the art technology and enhanced safety and security features as well.
He said their development is a testament to "the mastery our nuclear scientists have attained over all aspects of indigenous PHWR technology."
Indian industry welcomes move
Several Indian industry giants like Larsen and Toubro, Kirloskar Brother Limited and Godrej & Boyce welcomed the government's move calling it "bold and historic." They said "Nuclear power plants will go a long way in reducing the perennial energy deficit."
India's nuclear energy scenario
Nuclear energy accounts for 3.5-4% of India's total energy output.
India has 1,71,672 tonnes of Uranium deposits across the country.
The highest deposits of Uranium in India are in Andhra Pradesh-Telangana region (83,500 Metric tonnes), Jharkhand (51,000 MT) and Meghalaya (19,800 MT).