The Narendra Modi government is planning to double nuclear power generation capacity to about 14,000 MW, Union Minister for Coal and Power Piyush Goyal said on Monday. Currently, India generates about 6,800 MW of nuclear energy, the Hindu Business line reported.
The government has recently planned to expand the capacity by about 7,000 MW more, through indigenously manufactured equipment. The centre will be soon investing in its proposed 10 units of 700 MW each and work is likely to start soon, the minister said at an event in Mumbai.
For nuclear power generation, the Union Cabinet had approved the setting up of 10 indigenous Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs).
In June, India and Russia had entered into a pact that would allow the setting up of two more units of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP) in Tamil Nadu in collaboration with a Russian company. Each unit of the Kudankulam plant will have the capacity to produce 1,000 MW of power. The reactors needed for the power plant will be build by Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) and Russia's Atomstroyexport company.
Last month saw the setting up of an indigenously-built nuclear reactor in Kalpakkam by the Madras Atomic Power Station (MAPS). Since it was manufactured and tested in India, it gave a huge boost to the Make in India narrative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
MAPS, which works under the NPCIL, is all ready to commission the next iteration of its Fast Breeder Test Reactor (FBTR), which has been compared to the "akshaya patra" in Hindu mythology — an unending plate of food.
"We do need clean renewable sources of energy which is available 24 hours. But, nuclear power will never become the main source of energy in India because it is very expensive," Goyal said.
The minister emphasised on the need for a resource, which can be available 24 hours. "Other than nuclear energy, hydro is one such energy which we will be promoting," he added.
The minister said that India considers climate change as a major issue in contrary to some other large nations ignoring the matter.
"For all of us Indians, we have always respected nature. We have always believed that the environment is an integral part of human existence," he added.
Speaking about US President Donald Trump's rejection of the Paris climate change agreement, the minister said India does not agree with the President Trump's views on the issue.