New Delhi: With the aim of reducing its power bill, railways is actively considering setting up captive nuclear power plants to meet the rising demand of energy for train operation.
"Talks are going on with Nuclear Power Corporation (NPC) for setting up captive nuclear plants to cater to the growing demand of power for running increased number of trains," said a senior Railway Ministry official in the elctrical department.
There are about 42,00 electrical locomotives operational and out of the total 65,000 km long rail route, 23,541 km has been electrified.
The cash-strapped railways spent Rs 8,000 crore on electricity bill in last fiscal while its diesel bill was around Rs 15,000 crore.
An MoU will be signed with the NPC for setting up plants after the finalisation of talks, said the official.
Asked about the state where the plants could be set up, the official said "it has not been decided yet but it can be considered in states like Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu."
The national transporter is expected to benefit from the captive power plants as the consumption rate is likely to go down from Rs 5.4 a unit of electricity to less than Rs 4.
Currently, the demand is about 3,000MW of peak requirement and it is estimated that the demand for electricity over the next 10 years will be nearly 5,000 MW.