India’s Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) Secretary K N Vyas told India Energy Forum's Nuclear Conclave on 18 October that, to increase standardisation and bring modularity in building atomic power reactors, the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) is going for fleet mode construction for future projects. He said 17 new reactors are now in the pipeline, with seven already under construction. India plans to build 21 new nuclear power units by 2030, DAE said last year, and work has been going on as per schedule. "We are going in for fleet mode for construction, thereby reducing construction costs and speeding up construction time," added Vyas, who is also Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission.
He said India is an old player in the nuclear energy sector boasting the first research reactor to be commissioned in Asia. "Our learning curve was steep and we could ramp up the reactor construction to 22 reactors over the last few decades, the seventh largest fleet in the world," he added. Although the overall contribution to the electrical grid appears insignificant, this has been due to the smaller capacity reactors built initially to gain experience in this complex technology, without international support, he noted.
Former Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Anil Kakodkar said the access to the imported uranium can accelerate the nuclear programme's size as well as large scale thorium deployment. Referring to the waiver of the Nuclear Suppliers Group or NSG to India in 2008, he said the nuclear programme now has fewer constraints.