Nuclear power in India
Nuclear power is the fourth-largest source of electricity in India after thermal, hydroelectric and renewable sources of electricity. As of 2013[update], India has 21 nuclear reactors in operation in 7 nuclear power plants, having an installed capacity of 5780 MW and producing a total of 30,292.91 GWh of electricity while seven other reactors are under construction and are expected to generate an additional 6,100 MW.
In October 2010, India drew up "an ambitious plan to reach a nuclear power capacity of 63,000 MW in 2032", but, after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, "populations around proposed Indian NPP sites have launched protests, raising questions about atomic energy as a clean and safe alternative to fossil fuels". There have been mass protests against the French-backed 9900 MW Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project in Maharashtra and the Russian-backed 2000 MW Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant in Tamil Nadu. The state government of West Bengal state has also refused permission to a proposed 6000 MW facility near the town of Haripur that intended to host six Russian reactors. A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has also been filed against the government’s civil nuclear programme at the Supreme Court.
Despite this opposition, the capacity factor of Indian reactors was at 79% in the year 2011-12 compared to 71% in 2010-11. Nine out of twenty Indian reactors recorded an unprecedented 97% Capacity factor during 2011-12. With the imported uranium from France, the 220 MW Kakrapar 2 PHWR reactors recorded 99% capacity factor during 2011-12. The Availability factor for the year 2011-12 was at 89%.
India has been making advances in the field of thorium-based fuels, working to design and develop a prototype for an atomic reactor using thorium and low-enriched uranium, a key part of India's three stage nuclear power programme. The country has also recently re-initiated its involvement in the LENR research activities, in addition to supporting work done in the fusion power area through the ITER initiative.
India's first research nuclear reactor and its first nuclear power plant were built with assistance from Canada. The 40 MW research reactor agreement was signed in 1956, and CIRUS achieved first criticality in 1960. This reactor was supplied to India on the assurance that it would not be used for military purposes, but without effective safeguards against such use. The agreement for India's first nuclear power plant at Rajasthan, RAPP-1, was signed in 1963, followed by RAPP-2 in 1966. These reactors contained rigid safeguards to ensure they would not be used for a military programme. The 200 MWe RAPP-1 reactor was based on the CANDU reactor at Douglas Point and began operation in 1972. Due to technical problems the reactor had to be downrated from 200 MW to 100 MW. The technical and design information were given free of charge by AECL to India. The United States and Canada terminated their assistance after the detonation of India's first nuclear explosion in 1974.
Nuclear fuel reserves
India's domestic uranium reserves are small and the country is dependent on uranium imports to fuel its nuclear power industry. Since early 1990s, Russia has been a major supplier of nuclear fuel to India. Due to dwindling domestic uranium reserves, electricity generation from nuclear power in India declined by 12.83% from 2006 to 2008. Following a waiver from the Nuclear Suppliers Group in September 2008 which allowed it to commence international nuclear trade, India has signed bilateral deals on civilian nuclear energy technology cooperation with several other countries, including France, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada. and South Korea. India has also uranium supply agreements with Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Argentina and Namibia. An Indian private company won a uranium exploration contract in Niger.
Large deposits of natural uranium, which promises to be one of the top 20 of the world's reserves, have been found in the Tummalapalle belt in the southern part of the Kadapa basin in Andhra Pradesh in March 2011. The Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research (AMD) of India, which explores uranium in the country, has so far discovered 49,000 tonnes of natural uranium (U3O8) in just 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) of the 160 kilometres (99 mi) long belt and there are indications that the total quantity could be three times that amount.
Nuclear agreements with other nations
The nuclear agreement with USA led to India issuing a Letter of Intent for purchasing 10,000 MW from the USA. However, liability concerns and a few other issues are preventing further progress on the issue. Experts say that India's nuclear liability law discourages foreign nuclear companies. This law gives accident victims the right to seek damages from plant suppliers in the event of a mishap. It has "deterred foreign players like General Electric and Westinghouse Electric, a US-based unit of Toshiba, with companies asking for further clarification on compensation liability for private operators".
Russia has an ongoing agreement of 1988 vintage with India regarding establishing of two VVER 1000 MW reactors (water-cooled water-moderated light water power reactors) at Koodankulam in Tamil Nadu. A 2008 agreement caters for provision of an additional four third generation VVER-1200 reactors of capacity 1170 MW each. Russia has assisted in India’s efforts to design a nuclear plant for its nuclear submarine. In 2009, the Russians stated that Russia would not agree to curbs on export of sensitive technology to India. A new accord signed in Dec 2009 with Russia gives India freedom to proceed with the closed fuel cycle, which includes mining, preparation of the fuel for use in reactors, and reprocessing of spent fuel.
After the Nuclear Suppliers Group agreed to allow nuclear exports to India, France was the first country to sign a civilian nuclear agreement with India, on 30 September 2008. During the December 2010 visit of the French President Nicholas Sarkozy to India, framework agreements were signed for the setting up two third-generation EPR reactors of 1650 MW each at Jaitapur, Maharashtra by the French company Areva. The deal caters for the first set of two of six planned reactors and the supply of nuclear fuel for 25 years. The contract and pricing is yet to be finalised. Construction is unlikely to start before 2014 because of regulatory issues and difficulty in sourcing major components from Japan due to India not being a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
India and Mongolia signed a crucial civil nuclear agreement on 15 June 2009 for supply of Uranium to India, during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Mongolia making it the fifth nation in the world to seal a civil nuclear pact with India. The MoU on “development of cooperation in the field of peaceful uses of radioactive minerals and nuclear energy” was signed by senior officials in the department of atomic energy of the two countries.
On 2 September 2009, India and Namibia signed five agreements, including one on civil nuclear energy which allows for supply of uranium from the African country. This was signed during President Hifikepunye Pohamba's five-day visit to India in May 2009. Namibia is the fifth largest producer of uranium in the world. The Indo-Namibian agreement in peaceful uses of nuclear energy allows for supply of uranium and setting up of nuclear reactors.
On 14 October 2009, India and Argentina signed an agreement in New Delhi on civil nuclear cooperation and nine other pacts to establish strategic partnership. According to official sources, the agreement was signed by Vivek Katju, Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs and Argentine foreign minister Jorge Talana. Taking into consideration their respective capabilities and experience in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, both India and Argentina have agreed to encourage and support scientific, technical and commercial cooperation for mutual benefit in this field.
The Prime Ministers of India and Canada signed a civil nuclear cooperation agreement in Toronto on 28 June 2010 which when all steps are taken, will provide access for Canada's nuclear industry to India's expanding nuclear market and also fuel for India's reactors. Canada is one of the world's largest exporters of uranium and Canada's heavy water nuclear technology is marketed abroad with CANDU-type units operating in India, Pakistan, Argentina, South Korea, Romania and China. On 6 November 2012, India and Canada finalised their 2010 nuclear export agreement, opening the way for Canada to begin uranium exports to India.
On 16 April 2011, India and Kazakhstan signed an inter-governmental agreement for Cooperation in Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy, that envisages a legal framework for supply of fuel, construction and operation of atomic power plants, exploration and joint mining of uranium, exchange of scientific and research information, reactor safety mechanisms and use of radiation technologies for healthcare. PM Manmohan Singh visited Astana where a deal was signed. After the talks, the Kazakh President Nazarbaev announced that his country would supply India with 2100 tonnes of uranium and was ready to do more. India and Kazakhstan already have civil nuclear cooperation since January 2009 when Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) and Kazakh nuclear company KazAtomProm signed an MoU during the visit of Nazarbaev to Delhi. Under the contract, KazAtomProm supplies uranium which is used by Indian reactors.
South Korea became the latest country to sign a nuclear agreement with India after it got the waiver from the Nuclear Suppliers' Group (NSG) in 2008. On 25 July 2011 India and South Korea signed a nuclear agreement, which will allow South Korea with a legal foundation to participate in India’s nuclear expansion programme, and to bid for constructing nuclear power plants in India.
In 2014, India and Australia signed a civil nuclear agreement which allows the export of uranium to India. This was signed in New Delhi during Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott's meeting with the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 4 September 2014. Australia is the third largest producer of uranium in the world. The agreement allows supply of uranium for peaceful generation of power for civil use in India.
Nuclear power growth in India
India now envisages to increase the contribution of nuclear power to overall electricity generation capacity from 2.8% to 9% within 25 years. By 2020, India's installed nuclear power generation capacity will increase to 20,000 MW ( 2.0×1010 Watts, which is 20 GW). As of 2009[update], India stands 9th in the world in terms of number of operational nuclear power reactors. Indigenous atomic reactors include TAPS-3, and -4, both of which are 540 MW reactors. India's US$717 million fast breeder reactor project is expected to be operational by 2012–13.
The Indian nuclear power industry is expected to undergo a significant expansion in the coming years, in part due to the passing of the U.S.-India Civil Nuclear Agreement. This agreement will allow India to carry out trade of nuclear fuel and technologies with other countries and significantly enhance its power generation capacity. When the agreement goes through, India is expected to generate an additional 25,000 MW of nuclear power by 2020, bringing total estimated nuclear power generation to 45,000 MW.
Risks related to nuclear power generation and prompted Indian legislators to enact the 2010 Nuclear Liability Act which stipulates that nuclear suppliers, contractors and operators must bear financial responsibility in case of an accident. The legislation addresses key issues such as nuclear radiation and safety regulations, operational control and maintenance management of nuclear power plants, compensation in the event of a radiation-leak accident, disaster clean-up costs, operator responsibility and supplier liability.  A nuclear accident like the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster would have dire economic consequences in heavily populated India as did the 1984 Union Carbide Bhopal disaster, the world's worst industrial disaster, covered extensively in Dominique Lapierre's 2009 prize winning book Five Past Midnight in Bhopal.
India has already been using imported enriched uranium for light-water reactors that are currently under IAEA safeguards, but it has developed other aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle to support its reactors. Development of select technologies has been strongly affected by limited imports. Use of heavy water reactors has been particularly attractive for the nation because it allows Uranium to be burnt with little to no enrichment capabilities. India has also done a great amount of work in the development of a thorium centred fuel cycle. While uranium deposits in the nation are limited there are much greater reserves of thorium and it could provide hundreds of times the energy with the same mass of fuel. The fact that thorium can theoretically be utilised in heavy water reactors has tied the development of the two. A prototype reactor that would burn Uranium-Plutonium fuel while irradiating a thorium blanket is under construction at Kalpakkam by BHAVINI - another public sector enterprise like NPCIL
Uranium used for the weapons programme has been separated from the power programme, using uranium from indigenous reserves. This domestic reserve of 80,000 to 112,000 tons of uranium (approx 1% of global uranium reserves) is large enough to supply all of India's commercial and military reactors as well as supply all the needs of India's nuclear weapons arsenal. Currently, India's nuclear power reactors consume, at most, 478 tonnes of uranium per year. Even if India were quadruple its nuclear power output (and reactor base) to 20 GW by 2020, nuclear power generation would only consume 2000 tonnes of uranium per annum. Based on India's known commercially viable reserves of 80,000 to 112,000 tons of uranium, this represents a 40–50 years uranium supply for India's nuclear power reactors (note with reprocessing and breeder reactor technology, this supply could be stretched out many times over). Furthermore, the uranium requirements of India's Nuclear Arsenal are only a fifteenth (1/15) of that required for power generation (approx. 32 tonnes), meaning that India's domestic fissile material supply is more than enough to meet all needs for it strategic nuclear arsenal. Therefore, India has sufficient uranium resources to meet its strategic and power requirements for the foreseeable future.
Indian President A.P.J.Abdul Kalam, stated while he was in office, that "energy independence is India's first and highest priority. India has to go for nuclear power generation in a big way using thorium-based reactors. Thorium, a non fissile material is available in abundance in our country." India has vast thorium reserves and quite limited uranium reserves.
On 7 June 2014, Kudankulam-1 became the single largest power generating unit in India (1000 MWe).
Nuclear power plants
|Power station||Operator||State||Type||Units||Total capacity (MW)|
|Kaiga||NPCIL||Karnataka||PHWR||220 x 4||880|
|Kakrapar||NPCIL||Gujarat||PHWR||220 x 2||440|
|Madras||NPCIL||Tamil Nadu||PHWR||220 x 2||440|
|Narora||NPCIL||Uttar Pradesh||PHWR||220 x 2||440|
|Rajasthan||NPCIL||Kota Rajasthan||PHWR||100 x 1
200 x 1
220 x 4
|160 x 2
540 x 2
|Kudankulam||NPCIL||Tamil Nadu||VVER-1000||1000 x 1||1000|
The projects under construction are:
|Power station||Operator||State||Type||Units||Total capacity (MW)||Expected Commercial Operation|
|Madras||Bhavini||Tamil Nadu||PFBR||500 x 1||500||March 2015|
|Kakrapar Unit 3 and 4||NPCIL||Gujarat||PHWR||700 x 2||1400||Unit 3: June 2015, Unit 4: December 2015|
|Rajasthan Unit 7 and 8||NPCIL||Rajasthan||PHWR||700 x 2||1400||Unit 7: June 2016, Unit 8: December 2016|
|Kudankulam Unit 2||NPCIL||Tamil Nadu||VVER-1000||1000 x 1||1000||May 2015|
|Power station||Operator||State||Type||Units||Total capacity (MW)|
|Gorakhpur||NPCIL||Haryana||PHWR||630 x 4||2,800|
|Chutka||NPCIL||Madhya Pradesh||PHWR||700 x 2||1400|
|Mahi Banswara||NPCIL||Rajasthan||PHWR||700 x 2||1400|
|Kaiga||NPCIL||Karnataka||PHWR||700 x 2||1400|
|Madras||NPCIL||Tamil Nadu||FBR||500 x 2||1000|
|Site to be decided||AHWR||300 x 1||300|
|Kudankulam||Tamil Nadu||VVER-1000||1000 x 2||2000|
|Jaitapur||Maharashtra||EPR||1650 x 6||9900|
|Kovvada||Andhra Pradesh||ESBWR||1594 x 6||9564|
|Mithi Virdi (Viradi)||Gujarat||AP1000||1100 x 6||6600|
Some sites may be abandoned if not found technically feasible or due to strategic, geopolitical, international and domestic issues.
The details of the nuclear power generation capacity in the country are given below :
Following the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, populations around proposed Indian NPP sites have launched protests that had found resonance around the country. There have been mass protests against the French-backed 9900 MW Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project in Maharashtra and the Russian-backed 2000 MW Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant in Tamil Nadu. The Government of West Bengal refused permission to a proposed 6000 MW facility near the town of Haripur that intended to host 6 Russian reactors. But that now is disputed: it's possible for Bengal to have its first nuclear power plant at Haripur despite resistance.
A Public-interest litigation (PIL) has also been filed against the government’s civil nuclear programme at the Supreme Court. The PIL specifically asks for the "staying of all proposed nuclear power plants till satisfactory safety measures and cost-benefit analyses are completed by independent agencies". But the Supreme Court said it was not an expert in the nuclear field to issue a direction to the government on the nuclear liability issue.
- Economics of new nuclear power plants
- Energy policy of India
- Electricity sector in India
- List of Nuclear Power Stations in India
- India's three-stage nuclear power programme
- "~6429693.xls" (PDF). Retrieved 22 August 2010.
- "Kudankulam nuclear plant begins power generation". Mumbai Mirror. 2013-10-22. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
- "India's 20th nuclear power plant goes critical". Hindustan Times. 27 November 2010. Retrieved 13 March 2011.
- "India". Retrieved 10 January 2014.
- "India eyeing 64,000 MW nuclear power capacity by 2032: NPCIL". The Economic Times. 11 October 2010.
- Siddharth Srivastava (27 October 2011). "India's Rising Nuclear Safety Concerns". Asia Sentinel.
- Ranjit Devraj (25 October 2011). "Prospects Dim for India's Nuclear Power Expansion as Grassroots Uprising Spreads". Inside Climate News.
- Pham, Lisa (20 October 2009). "Considering an Alternative Fuel for Nuclear Energy". The New York Times.
- "Cold fusion turns hot, city to host meet". The Times Of India. 25 January 2011.
- Exporting Disaster ~ The Cost of Selling CANDU Reactors (3). Ccnr.org. Retrieved on 2013-12-06.
- Fuhrmann, Matthew (July 24, 2012). Atomic Assistance: How "Atoms for Peace" Programmes Cause Nuclear Insecurity. Texas: Cornell University Press. pp. 93–95. ISBN 978-0801478116.
- "Russia fulfills promise, supplies uranium to India". The Indian Express. Indian Express Limited. Retrieved 22 August 2010.
- "Uranium shortage holding back India’s nuclear power drive - Corporate News". livemint.com. 30 June 2008. Retrieved 22 August 2010.
- "Ministry of Power". Powermin.gov.in. Retrieved 22 August 2010.
- "news.outlookindia.com". Outlookindia.com. Retrieved 22 August 2010.
- "India, France agree on civil nuclear cooperation". Rediff.com. Retrieved 22 August 2010.
- "Bush signs India-US nuclear deal into law - Home". livemint.com. 9 October 2008. Retrieved 22 August 2010.
- "UK, India sign civil nuclear accord". Reuters. 13 February 2010. Retrieved 22 August 2010.
- "Canada, India reach nuclear deal". Montreal Gazette. 29 November 2009. Retrieved 22 August 2010.
- "India, South Korea ink civil nuclear deal". The Times Of India. 25 July 2011.
- "India to get 510 tonnes of uranium from Kazakhstan, Russia". Hindu Business Line.
- "South Asia | Russia agrees India nuclear deal". BBC News. 11 February 2009. Retrieved 22 August 2010.
- "India, Kazakhstan sign nuclear pact". The Financial Express. Indian Express Limited.
- Sanjay Dutta, TNN, 23 January 2009, 01.35am IST (23 January 2009). "Kazakh nuclear, oil deals hang in balance". The Times of India. Retrieved 22 August 2010.
- India, Argentina ink agreement on peaceful uses of N-energy, The Hindu
- "India, Namibia sign uranium supply deal".
- "Indian firm acquires uranium mining rights in Niger | Uranium, Niger, Company, Bajla, Government". taurianresources.co.in. Retrieved 22 December 2010.
- Subramanian, T. S. (20 March 2011). "Massive uranium deposits found in Andhra Pradesh". The Hindu (Chennai, India).
- Thakur, Monami (19 July 2011). "Massive uranium deposits found in Andhra Pradesh". International Business Times (USA).
- Bedi, Rahul (19 July 2011). "Largest uranium reserves found in India". The Telegraph (New Delhi, India).
- "India's nuclear plans losing steam; Anti-nuclear protests hinder plans to ramp up power generation". Power Engineering. 27 February 2012.
- George, Nirmala (21 June 1998). "Moscow Ends Atomic Power Blockade to India". The Indian Express. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
- Sasi, Anil (12 October 2008). "NPCIL to go into details with 4 reactor suppliers". The Hindu (Business Online). Retrieved 21 August 2011.
- "Russia: Nuclear Exports to India". NTI. 2010. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
- PTI (7 December 2009). "India, Russia sign nuclear deal". Times of India. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
- Bagchi, Indrani (20 August 2011). "Keep your word, we will keep ours, India tells NSG (pg 1)". , Times of India. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
- Samanta, Pranab Dhal (1 October 2008). "India, France ink nuclear deal, first after NSG waiver". The Indian Express. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
- Yep, Eric & Jagota, Mukesh (6 December 2010). "Areva and NPCIL Sign Nuclear Agreement". The Wall Street Journal - Business (online). Retrieved 21 August 2011.
- Makarand Gadgil (29 November 2011). "Jaitapur nuclear plant work may not start before 2014". livemint.com (Wall Street Journal). Retrieved 29 November 2011.
- Bureau reporters (15 September 2009). "India signs civil nuclear deal with Mongolia". The Financial Express. Retrieved 13 August 2011.
- "taragana.com" (2 September 2009). "India, Namibia sign uranium supply deal". Republikein Online. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
- Chatterjee, Amit Kumar (30 October 2009). "Argentina -India's seventh nuclear destination". India - Articles (#2996). Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
- Staff reporters (14 October 2009). "India signs N-pact with Argentina". OneIndia (online). Retrieved 21 August 2011.
- Sinha, Mohnish (6 April 2010). "Indo-Canada Nuclear Accord". IndiaStand. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
- "India and Canada finalise conditions of nuclear deal". BBC. 6 November 2012. Retrieved 18 November 2012.
- "India, Kazakhstan ink civil nuclear cooperation deal". The Times of India. 17 April 2011. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
- "India, Kazakh ink nuke and oil pacts". The Indian Express. 16 April 2009. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
- Sriniwas, Laxman. "India & South Korea Sign Civil Nuclear Agreement". Asian Scientist (online)26 July 2011. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
- "India and Australia seal nuclear deal, Abbott meets Modi". Times of India. Retrieved 6 September 2014.
- "Australia to power India's energy market as Tony Abbott settles terms for uranium trade". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 6 September 2014.
- "Slowdown not to affect India's nuclear plans". Business Standard. 21 January 2009. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
- "Nuclear power generation to touch 6,000 Mw by next year". Business Standard. Retrieved 26 August 2010.
- "Plants Under Operation". NPCIL. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
- "India's fast breeder reactor nears second milestone". Chennai, India: Hindu.com. 16 June 2009. Retrieved 26 August 2010.
- [dead link]
- "At G-8, Singh, Bush reaffirm commitment to nuclear deal". livemint.com. 10 July 2008. Retrieved 22 August 2010.
- "Lessons from Japan for India on Nuclear Energy". The Diplomat. 13 December 2013.
- "India ratifies, at last, a nuclear deal with the IAEA". Economist. 28 June 2014.
- "Thorium Reactors Integral To Indian Energy Independence". The Energy Daily. 8 May 2007.
- Rahman, Maseeh (1 November 2011). "How Homi Bhabha's vision turned India into a nuclear R&D leader". Guardian (Mumbai). Retrieved 20 March 2012.
- "A future energy giant? India's thorium-based nuclear plans". Physorg.com. 1 October 2010. Retrieved 20 March 2012.
- "Kudankulam Unit-1 hits full capacity at 1,000 MWe". The Indian Express. 8 June 2014. Retrieved 19 June 2014.
- Nuclear Power Plants In India, Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL), retrieved 21 January 2011
- "India's 20th nuclear reactor connected to power grid". The Times of India. 19 January 2011. Retrieved 22 January 2011.
- Southern power grid begins drawing power from Kudankulam
- "Projects Under Construction". NPCIL. Retrieved 10 April 2014.
- "Government plans to start work on 19 new Nuclear Power Reactors in 12th plan period". Erewise. Retrieved 19 October 2013.
- "Unstarred question No.3776". Government of India. Retrieved 19 October 2013.
- "Construction work on Gorakhpur nuckear plant to begin in January". 20 December 2013. Retrieved 23 January 2014.
- "Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan sigh Lays Foundation Stone of 2800 MW Gorakhpur Haryana Anu Vidyut Pariyojana (Nuclear Power Project)". Retrieved 6 February 2014.
- Kovvada nuclear plant to enhance its capacity
- Nuclear extravagance in Washington
- "Nuclear Programme" (Press release). Press Information Bureau , Government of India , Department of Atomic Energy. 11 December 2013. Retrieved 12 December 2013.
- Fiona Harvey (8 March 2012). "Dramatic fall in new nuclear power stations after Fukushima". The Guardian (London).
- Haripur may still get nuclear plant
- "SC steers clear of PIL on N-liability". The Ttimes Of India. 6 December 2011.