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