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India plans to set up 20 units of indigenous PHWR

Last Updated: Wednesday, August 5, 2009 - 00:38

Mumbai: India is planning to set up 20
units of indigenous 700 MW of pressurised heavy water (PHWR)
type reactors and the Centre has already agreed, in principle,
for four such units, Atomic Energy Commission Chairman, Anil
Kakodkar, said on Tuesday.

India has already developed 220MW and 540MW PHWR type
nuclear reactors which are operating successfully and "it
is possible to have 20 units of 700 MW plants which can run
with indigenous natural uranium as well as imported low
enriched uranium," Kakodkar said.

Since the uranium available in India could supply upto
10,000 MW of electricity, the ambitious 700MW PHWRs are part
of the evolutionary development of indigenous design, Kakodkar
said at a function here.

All these plant designs are export models and India
has the Equipment Supply Chain for this kind of reactors in
place with robust infrastructure. Several countries have
already evinced interest to buy PHWRs from India.

Talking about international cooperation, he said we
are expecting import of 40GWe between 2012 to 2020 as
`additionality` -- that is in addition to the indigenous three
stage programme to reduce the power deficit of 7 GWe by 2050
(according to a study by the department in 2004).

But all these are possible only if India is able to
get a chance for full recycle option of the spent fuel from
the imported plants.

Currently, the US from whom India will be importing
reactors upto 10,000 MW, has no full recycle option. Although
France and Japan have that option, "we are trying hard to
achieve this with the US. I am sure US will come around for a
full recycle option soon", Kakodkar said.

India and US began talks on reprocessing of the spent
fuel from imported US N-plants on Indian soil last month as
per the requirement of 123 agreement and expected to complete
the talks within three months to enable the import of US
N-power plants to India.

Talking about the private participation in the nuclear
sector, he said nuclear industry is not like a coal or gas
based one.

It is a different ball game and cannot go the way
Enron went. Here the issues of security and `insider threat`
are of great concern.

"Therefore, we are evolving robust security design
features, which is a challenge. Under the international
convention for physical protection of nuclear materials all
these things are important and India is a signatory to it," he

"We have to go slow on that in a controlled manner,"
Kakodkar said.

Talking about financing the nuclear power programme, he
said "the state-owned Nuclear power corporation is a cash rich
company and joint ventures will be set up with NPCIL holding
majority share."

Bureau Report

First Published: Wednesday, August 5, 2009 - 00:38

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