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Just the facts and an abstract of the FT article on this:

CHENNAI: The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) will launch 16 reactors at an outlay of Rs 2.3 trillion ($40 billion) during the 12th Plan period (2012-17), a top official of the atomic power operator said.

"We have to launch eight 700 MW pressurized heavy water reactors (PHWRs) and eight light water reactors (LWRs) involving a total outlay of Rs 230,000 crore (Rs 2.3 trillion). The LWRs will be from foreign companies," S K Jain, who retired Thursday as NPCIL chairman and managing director, said in an interview.

According to him, the eight 700 MW PHWRs would come up at Kaiga in Karnataka, Gorakhpur in Haryana's Fatehabad district, Banswada in Rajasthan and Chutka in Madhya Pradesh.

The 16 reactors are in addition to NPCIL's four 700 MW PHWRs under construction - two at the Rajasthan Atomic Power Station (units 7 and 8) and two at Kakrapara in Gujarat - at an outlay of Rs 22,000 crore.

The NPCIL currently generates 4,780 MW of power. The new additions of 4,800 will take this to 9,580 MW. A 500 MW reactor to be commissioned by another company, Bhavini, will take India's installed nuclear power capacity to 10,080 MW by the end of the 12th Plan.

1. Things to note: India is committed expanding it's nuclear generation.

2. India is building half their reactors with "indigenous" heavy water reactor technology derived originally from Canada's "CANDU" reactor tech. But it is now evolved enough that it is in fact "Indian tech".

Both points above are facts.

My opinion: this system of LWR (which includes the 'controversial' reactors in Tamil Nadu that are going on line this month or next and built by the Russians) and the HWRs of Indian design are part of this advanced "3 phase" development where by thorium and uranium will be burned up in the HWR, mixed with spent fuel from their LWRs and re-used after processing in the Advanced Heavy Water reactors in a process that will close the fuel cycle.

India is often under the radar when talking and writing about world wide nuclear development. India is also expanding it's use of coal (but obviously not as much as it would be without nuclear), gas, hydro, solar and wind. Like most developing countries, they are taking the jambalaya approach to energy: a little bit this, a little bit of that, and so on.

Comment: India has a flourishing and largely indigenous nuclear power program and expects to have 14,600 MWe nuclear capacity on line by 2020 and 27,500 MWe by 2024.  It aims to supply 25% of electricity from nuclear power by 2050.  Why only 25%? What about further commitments to reduce GHG emissions and reduce the dependency on coal? Why not a 100% combination of hydro, nuclear and renewables?

Reporting,
David W.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (11+ / 0-)

    Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

    by davidwalters on Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 07:58:44 AM PDT

  •  Why not, indeed. (4+ / 0-)

    Save the coal for steel and industrial feedstock.

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 08:04:26 AM PDT

    •  Agreed. Coal is needed for pig iron (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, Calamity Jean, FG

      creation (but only that) as I believe no form of nuclear energy can get hot enough in a volume enough to actually covert iron ore into Pig Iron. But I'd have to look that up.

      Coal is a good source of industrial carbon.

      Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

      by davidwalters on Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 08:29:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  carbon (and other things) can be added to iron (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NNadir, Odysseus

        without burning coal. In fact, most recycling furnaces no longer rely on coal. They use electric arc technology, oxygen lances, and add precisely the amount of coke (or even graphite in some models) needed to make a specific grade of steel, from mild stuff used in cars, to high carbon tool steel (along with manganese, chrome, and a few other additives)

        An electric arc furnace can get far hotter, and under far more control, than coal fired smelters or refineries.

        What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

        by agnostic on Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 08:45:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You know more about this than i do... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JeffW, Calamity Jean

          but...coke IS coal. it's made from coal. I lived not far from the Clariton 'steel works' in Allegany County in the 1970s. It's primary purpose was to produce coke from coal for all the blast furnaces. That is the primary steel making step seen here:

          http://upload.wikimedia.org/...

          To my knowledge steel from iron is still made this way. yes? About 10% of all coal is used in steel making so any alternatives would be a good thing. BTW...the wike definition for coke is:

          Coke is the solid carbonaceous material derived from destructive distillation of low-ash, low-sulfur bituminous coal
          .

          Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

          by davidwalters on Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 09:00:51 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Coke is a coal derivative, but it is rarely used (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JeffW, Odysseus, VClib, FG, gzodik

            as a fuel these days. Coal is heated in an oxygen free environment until coal tar pours out. The remaining solid is coke, almost 100% carbon. Yes, it can be used as a fuel, but is far more useful as an additive.

            The coal tar itself is extremely useful. If you cook it at 400 deg C for 48 hours or so, it transforms into funky additives used in aluminum refining, or even making asphalt roofing tiles you see on most homes.

            Oxy Arc furnaces use three huge electrodes, typically 20-30 feet long. When they are ignited (with a huge electric jolt) they are little different than a welding stick you can use with garage equipment. But the scale is completely different. These electrodes burn and melt the raw material (iron ore, recycled steel, engine blocks) until you have a boiling tank of molten steel (or iron). The addition of oxygen through specialized, water cooled, injection lances adds even more heat and energy, and allows certain crap to boil out. (Paint, alloys you don't want, plastics, whatever) When you reach the level of base steel you want, then you add the other ingredients needed to make the grade you wish. less carbon, softer more flexible, more carbon, harder, less flexible, harder to form and shape.

            The entire pot of molten steel is water cooled so the pot does not melt through. When it reaches the specification, it is poured into transfer buckets, which move to the final finishing. A continuous casting system (the most modern) will take this steel, pour it in, and start shaping and cooling it. Sheet, bar, tube, blocks are shaped, cooled, formed, and graded. Then shipped and sold for use.

            What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

            by agnostic on Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 09:19:23 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  I have read Vaclav Smil's commentaries on this... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JeffW, gzodik, Mcrab

          ...point and he would seem to disagree.

          Smil is one of the most interesting - if also one of the most cynical - commentators on energy issues with whom I'm familiar.   I often don't agree with him, but I am always compelled and challenged by his arguments.

          There was a nice paper published recently on carbon dioxide recovery from blast furnaces.   I can't remember the exact reference, but if I dig it up, I may write a diary on the topic.

          If you would write a diary on the subject of coal free steel making, I would be pleased to see it.

          •  I second that. "Primary Processing" or some (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            gzodik

            such term is the basic conversion of raw materials into useful feed stock for industry, be it aluminum, silicon, copper, chemicals etc.

            The great, fake, energy savings based on efficiency in California where by our per-capita energy use has remained steady for 30 years is based largely on off-shoring many of these Primary and Secondary industries like steel making, plastics, etc to China and Korea.

            But steel making an industry that is the base industry for all construction (along with concrete, and NNadir did a great diary on Portland Cement if I'm not mistaken) and thus for all technology...even when making plastic cars, the molds, assembly lines and building are all made with steel: either structural or machine/tool grade steel.

            David

            Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

            by davidwalters on Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 09:23:06 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  davidw - you have that right (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              davidwalters, FG, nextstep

              A friend of mine just last year left as a Commissioner of the California Public Utilities Commission. Gov Brown asked him to stay for another five year term, but he has kids in college and needed to return to the private sector to earn more money.  He will tell anyone who listens that the accolades California receives for keeping its per capita energy use steady for 30 years are not deserved. Per capita use has remained steady because all of our high energy consuming manufacturing has been chased out of state. California made ships, airplanes, cars, tires, steel, and virtually ever other heavy manufacturing product you can think of. This was the core of our unionized, middle class. They are all gone, some offshore but many to other states. There is no doubt that we have cleaner air and water, but it has come at a cost of millions of middle class jobs.  

              "let's talk about that"

              by VClib on Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 11:01:43 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  BTW...this is a more 'matter of fact' Diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mojo workin

    not a polemical one. Just say'n...

    D.

    Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

    by davidwalters on Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 08:30:28 AM PDT

  •  Other good news. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NNadir

    It appears the Japanese will be restarting their Ohi plant, at least for the summer load period.

    http://www.thespec.com/...

    GOP: Bankers, billionaires, suckers, and dupes.

    by gzodik on Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 08:40:15 AM PDT

    •  Yes, I agree. Apparently the majority of the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gzodik

      residents approve of this. Also, there is now pressure in Osaka, Japan's second largest city, to reluctantly restart their area reactors due to impending black outs without them this month and next...not many buildings can open their windows, it appears.

      Also:

      "Charts produced by the US Energy Information Adminsitration (EIA) based on Bloomberg data show that as nuclear power production has dwindled, it has been LNG that has grown to fill the gap. Use of that fuel in January to April 2012 is up 34% on the same period in 2011, making Japan the world's biggest LNG consumer."
      see these depressing charts.

      Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

      by davidwalters on Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 09:03:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Their heavy water reactors are going to place... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gzodik

    ...them in the catbird seat should humanity survive.

    Every CANDU that's built represents a huge resource for the future.

    Personally, I would skip the hydro there though.     They are going to kill Bangladesh by restricting the water flows to that country.

    I'd skip the renewables too.   They're way to expensive for anyone on the planet to afford, never mind a country with the per capita income of India.

    They should simply go 100% nuclear.   They can do it.

    •  Well I would too, especially hydro, but (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gzodik

      politics is what this about , not technology.

      So...India is planning 25% of all generation to be nuclear, I think that's great, and with their modified CANDU reactors at that. if they add renewables to this, above 25%, fine. yes, I'd rather the money be spent on nuclear, but suppose they wanted to go to 75% nuclear with "25%" capacity in renewables. I'm not going to kvetch about it. All good, But...

      The bigger question I poised, that I've been doing a  lot of thinking about, are the recent decisions by countries like the Czech Republic, Poland and a others, including the TVA here in the US to base their expansion of nuclear energy, which I endorse, on the "need to fill future generation" with non-carbon and reliable power. My issue is "future" generation. No one is talking about replacing coal and natural gas with nuclear, albeit the Chinese, and Indians to a more limited extend, would like too.

      I find this a major pain-in-the-ass narrow mindedness on utilities that consider nuclear around the world: zero plans (except for China actually) to replacing EXISTING fossil fuel with nuclear. And that pisses me off. I will write on this suggesting policy changes. I urge others to do the same with a 'gas-to-nuclear' and 'coal-to-nuclear' plans on a state-by-state/region-by-region basis.

      Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

      by davidwalters on Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 09:29:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well the closest thing to it is Ottawa. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gzodik

        Unfortunately, although nuclear is a big part of the program, they have not extended their intentions to dangerous natural gas.

        •  Yes, I remember that plan. I don't (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gzodik, NNadir

          have a problem starting with coal, obviously it's a main fossil target for us, but we have to extend it to all baseload and peak fossil fuels bare none.

          The advance of SMRs could well provide the needed load changing capability/on demand power that gas turbines currently provide. So there really is no excuse any more to use gas.

          Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

          by davidwalters on Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 09:59:46 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Personally, my own view is that we should... (0+ / 0-)

            ...phase out oil first, since it is clearly the most pernicious fossil fuel when evaluated in its economic, its environmental and its societal aspects.

            Although people seem to believe that the phase out of oil is too difficult, it's actually rather straight forward if one captures carbon dioxide from the other dangerous fossil fuels and replaces all oil products with the hydrogenation of that carbon dioxide.

            There are many well advanced programs for the thermochemical production of hydrogen.   Given the importance of the issue, on a wise planet, this would be a very high priority.

            On a dumb planet, by contrast, we'd just listen to the blathering of Greenpeace and their "by 2090" talk.

            It is possible to synthesize what is called "FT gasoline" and "FT diesel" in this manner, but I would suggest that the use of dimethyl ether in this capacity would be far wiser.

            The mechanism for doing this is suggested by the phase out of leaded gasoline several decades ago.

  •  Invest in and "fluff" renewables (0+ / 0-)

    as we've so slavishly done for the nuke industry, and they will out-perform the current nuke tech.

    Heavy water research? Sure. Additional upgrades in nuke tech, like thorium and eventually fusion, great.

    IMHO, the current state of the "art", as practiced in Western countries, is a toxic death end.

    What India is doing bears watching, but is fascinating.

    "What have you done for me, lately?" ~ Lady Liberty

    by ozsea1 on Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 10:33:47 AM PDT

  •  I don't believe announcements or press releases (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gzodik

    In 2007, TXU announced that they were going to build 11 new coal plants in Texas.  Didn't happen.

    I've seen so many announced power plant projects that went nowhere (not even moving dirt) that I won't believe it till I see it.

    •  That's true, in fact even in Germany the (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FG, gzodik

      new builds have been held up...smartly, they go for 'better rep' and greenwashed natural gas instead of coal, which is exactly what they've been doing in the US for the past 20 years.

      Opposition to coal is quite universal so utilities are less keen on developing it in the U.S. But this wasn't my point. My point was how, like the Chinese are doing, or attempting to do over the next 80 years or so, phase out coal? By placing any non-carbon investment, especially nuclear, in the 'future generation growth' catagory, one instutionalizes and marries gas and existing coal to, say, last forever or until the plants fall apart. this is not a serious approach.

      the only plan is to chart a course with a national energy policy that states "we are going to phase out natural gas and coal for generation over x-years". Essentially this is what the US did with oil generation: "we will build nuclear plants to eliminate the burning of oil for generation". It's what the French did, it's what we should do again until the last fossil plant closes.

      Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

      by davidwalters on Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 10:57:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My state (Illinois) just passed a law... (0+ / 0-)

        ... requiring the natural gas utilities to purchase the product of a proposed "clean coal" gasification facility to be built on the south side.

        In essence, the rate payers of Illinois are going to be underwriting the construction costs of this project.  The fact that no such utility-sized coal-gasification plant exists doesn't seem to matter.

        If this thing gets built, it will likely be double over budget as all large construction projects end up.

        The original proposals for this project were written a couple of years ago, when natural gas prices were higher.  Now that prices have dropped substantially, this project is 100% boondoggle.

  •  How nice. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ozsea1

    What are the chances that with all this nuclear expansion, India might sign the NPT [Nonproliferation Treaty] at long last?

    •  A VERY different topic. Why should they? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gzodik, NNadir

      Their civilian program is about energy not bombs. They already have WMD making factories unconnected to the commercial side.

      The 1-2-3 agreement they signed with the US solidifies that no US or other commercial tech can ever be used to make bombs.

      I would say, perhaps, if Pakistan signed as well, and China agrees to get rid of their nuclear weapons then I can see India "signing the NPT". Until that happens, it's not relevant to their energy sector nor should it.

      Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

      by davidwalters on Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 11:14:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hydro works best in the mountains. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gzodik, ozsea1

    Otherwise you flood a huge area and don't get a whole lot of electricity. While India certainly has some mountains, I'm not sure if there is enough usable hydro capacity there to account for a significant percentage of their energy use. Solar might be doable.

    •  A tip from me (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FG

      I agree.

      Washington state generates a fair amount of electricity from hydro.

      Snow in the mountains is money in the bank.

      Yes, I am well aware of hydro's limitations. I do not suggest that it would/should replace the nuke power industry that is being "promoted" here.

      "What have you done for me, lately?" ~ Lady Liberty

      by ozsea1 on Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 01:39:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  India has fought several wars over the... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FG

      Himilaya plateau, both with Pakistan and China.

      Personally I believe that one of the flash points of climate change will be the water from this plateau.

      Hydroelectricity and geothermal are probably the least obnoxious forms of so called "renewable energy," - although in truth the largest human made energy disaster in history involved the former at Banqiao - but I would not and could not consider them either as clean nor as safe as nuclear energy.

      Except on the Himilayan plateau however any form of energy is going to involve water for cooling nuclear plants, and India is not well suited for use of waste heat, except maybe with heat pumps for industrial energy.

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