On May 1, India made further strides towards clean energy sources as the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) signed a supplementary joint venture agreement with the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL).
The agreement aims to develop nuclear power projects in the country, with a focus on two pressurised heavy-water reactor (PHWR) projects: the Chutka Madhya Pradesh Atomic Power Project (2×700 MW) and the Mahi Banswara Rajasthan Atomic Power Project (4×700 MW). These projects were identified as part of fleet mode nuclear projects.
About the Project
- The Chutka and Mahi Banswara nuclear projects in India will be developed by NTPC and NPCIL through a joint venture named ASHVINI (Anushakti Vidhyut Nigam Limited).
- The Chutka project is expected to cost around Rs. 25,000 crore, while the Mahi Banswara project will cost around Rs. 50,000 crore.
- NTPC aims to operationalize 3.5 GW of capacity from the two nuclear power plants currently being built by 2030.
- India’s government has approved the installation of 10 nuclear reactors to meet the country’s increasing energy demand.
- These reactors will be established at four locations: two each at Kaiga (Karnataka), Gorakhpur (Uttar Pradesh), and Chutka (Madhya Pradesh), and four at Mahi Banswara (Rajasthan).
- The 10 reactors are expected to produce a total of 7,000 MW and will be built in fleet mode by 2031 at a cost of Rs. 1,05,000 crore.
India’s Nuclear Power Capacity and the Push for Clean Energy
- India’s current installed nuclear power capacity is 6,780 MW, which is just 2% of the country’s total energy mix, including thermal, hydro, and renewables.
- The Indian government has approved the installation of 10 nuclear reactors in fleet mode to meet the country’s growing power demand, at a cost of Rs. 1,05,000 crores. These reactors are expected to generate a total of 7,000 MW and will be set up progressively by 2031.
- By 2031, India is projected to have a nuclear capacity of 22,480 MW.
- Developing nuclear power projects is a crucial step for India to achieve its commitment to reaching net-zero emissions by 2070.
- Nuclear energy is a zero-emission clean energy source that generates power through fission by splitting uranium atoms to produce energy.
- The heat released by fission is used to create steam that spins a turbine, generating electricity without harmful by-products emitted by fossil fuels
About Pressurized Heavy-Water Reactor (PHWR)
- A pressurized heavy-water reactor (PHWR) is a type of nuclear reactor that uses heavy water (deuterium oxide D2O) as a moderator and coolant.
- It is also known as a heavy-water reactor (HWR).
- The PHWR uses natural uranium oxide fuel (UO2) as its fuel, which is relatively cheap and abundant.
- The PHWR is commonly used in countries such as Canada, India, and Pakistan for generating electricity.
- It is a type of thermal-neutron-spectrum nuclear reactor, which means that it uses slow neutrons to sustain the nuclear chain reaction.
About Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited
- The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) is a public sector enterprise owned by the Indian government.
- It was founded in 1987 and is responsible for the design, construction, commissioning, operation, and maintenance of nuclear power plants in India.
- NPCIL operates 22 commercial nuclear power reactors with a total capacity of 6,780 MW, accounting for around 1.8% of India’s total electricity generation.
- It is headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
About National Thermal Power Corporation
- The National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) is an Indian government-owned electricity board that operates in the power generation, distribution, and trading sectors.
- NTPC is the largest power company in India in terms of installed capacity, and it generates power from coal, gas, hydro, solar, wind, and nuclear sources.
- The company was established in 1975 and is headquartered in New Delhi.
- NTPC plans to produce nuclear energy of 2,000 MW by 2032, 4,200 MW by 2035, and ultimately ramp up to 20,000 MW by 2050.
- They plan to do this by using pressurised heavy-water reactors (PHWRs) and small modular reactors.
- The company is also preparing to secure fuel supplies by partnering with the Uranium Corporation of India Limited.
- NTPC Limited has been ranked No.1 Independent Power Producers and Energy Traders Globally in the S&P Global Commodity Insights Top 250 Global Energy Company Rankings-2022.
- The rankings were based on four key metrics – asset worth, revenues, profits and return on investment.
- NTPC currently contributes 24% of the total electricity produced in India.
- By 2032, NTPC aims to have non-fossil fuel-based capacity make up nearly 50% of its portfolio, which includes renewable energy capacity of 60 GW and a total portfolio of 130GW.
- The company is leading India’s energy transition in terms of scale, efficiency, and energy generation from cleaner and greener sources.
- NTPC has teamed up with NITI Aayog for the Net Energy Zero effort.