Saturday, June 20, 2015

India: Nuclear Power

As far as the atmosphere and CO2 is concerned, nuclear power is clean.  Nuclear power is only a small part of India's electricity generation.  Recent news is that India is on track to double its nuclear energy generation capacity over the next five years.  Also with the lifting of various international sanctions, uranium fuel is available for existing plants and "capacity utilisation of nuclear power plants has improved from 50% in 2008-09 to more than 80% now".

Further, today we are told

India's nuclear programme is set to get a huge boost thanks to three big changes. First, Japan has asked India for a dedicated nuclear reactor site, signaling that not only is it willing to shed all inhibitions of doing nuclear commerce with India but is also keen to be counted with the US, France and Russia as a power building nuclear parks here.

Second, India is giving big contracts for six reactors each to US blue-chip companies GE and Westinghouse. This is a big shift from India's long-standing policy of signing deals for two reactors at one go. The six-reactor deal with the two American companies will mean cheaper pricing for India.

Third, a critical component of the nuclear industry, the insurance structure, will be activated next month when Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) buys a nuclear insurance policy at Rs 100-crore premium from a consortium that includes General Insurance Corporation (GIC) and a group called Nuclear Risk Insurers from Britain.

The goal, per this news-item is to increase nuclear power generation 14-fold over the next two decades.


The seven horses: the prime minister said: “Like the chariot of Surya Bhagwan (Sun God) has seven horses, we need seven horses for energy in today’s age. While thermal, gas, hydro and nuclear are just four, the other three include solar, wind and biomass.” Per this news-item the goals are 100GW of solar power; 60GW of wind power; 10GW of hydro and 20GW MW of biofuel energy by 2022.

But coal will remain the major source of energy with its implications on pollution and CO2. Modi wants to replace old plants with cleaner new ones. The question to me is - where will the huge financing for all of this come from?