Singapore: The Indian government has put renewed vigour into nuclear power plans as part of its infrastructure development programme, with negotiations on to unlock long-standing agreements with French, Russian and US companies, said a report released here on Tuesday.
"Its overall goal is to have 14.5 GWe (Gigawatt or one billion watts of electricity power) of nuclear generating capacity online by 2024, compared to 6,219 MWe now," said the World Nuclear Performance Report 2016 released at the Singapore International Energy Week being held this week.
The government gave in principle approval for new nuclear plants at 10 sites in nine states, according to the report by the World Nuclear Association.
Those for indigenous pressurised heavy water reactor are at Gorakhpur in Haryana's Fatehabad; Chutka and Bhimpur in Madhya Pradesh; Kaiga in Karnataka; and Mahi Banswara in Rajasthan.
Those for plants with foreign cooperation are Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu; in Jaitapur in Maharashtra; Chhaya Mithi Virdhi in Gujarat; Kovvada in Andhra Pradesh and Haripur in West Bengal, though this location has been in doubt.
In addition, two 600 MWe fast breeder reactors are proposed at Kalpakkam.
Unit 2 of the Russian-built Kudankulam nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu was completed in 2015, with the unit continuing in mid-2016.
A prototype fast breeder reactor is nearing completion at Kalpakkam, according to the report.
The report also noted performances of the nuclear power plants which were commissioned in Rajasthan in 1973. The unit has had a mixed history with lengthy outages from 1982 to 1987, and 1994 to 1997. It has been put out of service since 2005.
The second unit of nuclear power plant in Rajasthan, which came into operation in 1981, performed more reliably, despite long outages between 1994 and 1998, and from 2007 to 2009. It achieved a lifetime capacity factor of 56 per cent. Rajasthan 3, starting in 2003, has managed a cumulative capacity factor of 76.5 per cent.
Altogether, the country has commissioned 18 Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors, two small BMRs - boiling water reactors - (in 1969) and two PWRs - pressurised water reactors - (at Kudankulam in 2014 and 2016, respectively), according to the report.
A dip in the average capacity factor in 2008 and 2009 resulted from contemporaneous outages at Rajasthan 2, Kakrapar 1 and Narora units 1 and 2, it said.
The association noted challenges of providing electricity across the world's rural regions where people lack electricity. It has set a higher target for nuclear power - 25 percent of electricity in 2050, which would require an estimated 1,000 GWe capacity.
It said one possible pathway to this target would be to build 10 GWe a year between 2015 and 2020, step this up to 25 GWe per year to 2025, and then 33 GWe per year to 2050.