N-deal to boost uranium supplies for power generation: minister

October 31st, 2008 - 12:35 am ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, Oct 30 (IANS) Power generation from nuclear reactors in India is set to increase manifold with more uranium supplies commencing soon in the wake of the civilian nuclear deal with the US, Union Minister of State for Power Jairam Ramesh said here Thursday.”As a direct and immediate benefit of the Indo-US nuclear deal, our atomic reactors will start getting more uranium fuel to increase power generation by 2,500 MW (mega watts) over the next three-four months,” Ramesh told reporters on the sidelines of a function here.

Admitting that the installed capacity of the reactors was grossly underutilised due to fuel shortages, Ramesh said the combined power generation from the 10-12 nuclear plants had declined to 1,600 MW from a peak of 4,100 MW over the last couple of years.

“Some of them (reactors) have been lying dormant for want of sufficient uranium supplies. Others have been operating at a plant load factor (PLF) of 50-55 percent. As a result of the deal, the power output is expected to reach the installed capacity of 4,100 MW by March 2009 with steady supply of uranium fuel to the atomic reactors,” Ramesh asserted.

The civilian atomic power plants (two units each) are located at Tarapur near Mumbai, Kaiga in Karnataka, Kakrapar in Gujarat, Narora in Uttar Pradesh, Kalpakkam near Chennai and near Kota in Rajasthan.

In the medium term, the government has set a target of 20,000 MW from nuclear plants by 2020.

“Of the target set, about 10,000 MW will be generated using indigenous uranium, 2,000 MW from fast breeder reactors and 8,000 MW from imported enriched uranium fuel,” Ramesh pointed out.

About 2,000 MW will be added to the power grid from two units of 1,000 MW each at Kundankulam in Tamil Nadu. The plants, being built in partnership with Russian Nuclear Power Corporation, are scheduled for commissioning by mid-2009.

“The total power generation from nuclear plants will increase to over 6,000 MW over the next two years and to about 10,000 MW with the commissioning of additional units at Kaiga (4 units of 220 MW each), Rajasthan (2 units each of 450 MW and 500 MW) and at Tarapur (one unit of 500 MW) in the coming decade,” Ramesh added.

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