India approves construction of 10 more PHWRs

18 May 2017

India’s central government on 17 May approved construction of 10 indigenous pressurised heavy water reactors (PHWRs) for nuclear power generation. Power and Coal Minister Piyush Goyal said the new PWHRs will generate 7,000MWe.

India currently has an installed nuclear capacity of 6,780MWe from 22 operational plants. Another 6,700MWe is expected to come on stream by 2021-22 through projects now under construction. A government statement said, "The Cabinet’s decision reflects the Government’s commitment to prioritise the use of clean power in India’s energy mix, as part of low-carbon growth strategy and to ensure long-term base load requirement for the nation’s industrialisation. It also supports India’s commitment to sustainable development, energy self-sufficiency and bolsters global efforts to combat climate change."

Meanwhile, an agreement on units five and six of the Kudankulam NPP, to be built with assistance from Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom, is awaiting clearance from the Prime Minister's Office in the run up to a planned meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The General Framework Agreement (GFA) for units 5 and 6 of the plant in Tamil Nadu has already been cleared by an inter-ministerial group and is with the PMO for final approval, government sources said. Unit 1 and 2 of the Kudankulam plant are already operational, with units 3 and 4 under construction.

According to an October 2015 joint statement after a meeting between Modi and Putin, the two sides had "reaffirmed" their intention to conclude the GFA and the Credit Protocol for Kudankulam 5 and 6 by the end of 2016. Government sources said the GFA between India and Russia was to be signed by December 2016 but was delayed because of disagreement over the credit protocol. India is also pressing Russia for more support for its entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

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