India is confident of increasing its nuclear power capacity by 1,500 megawatt by the end of 2009, Atomic Energy Commission chairman Anil Kakodkar said on Thursday. In fact, Kakodkar said that the country has the potential to exceed the nuclear energy target of 20,000 mw by 2020, if the Nuclear Power Corporation of India as well as the private sector play a pro-active role in the sector.
"Two to three nuclear power units will be connected to the national grid next year that would add 1,400-1,500 mw," Kakodkar told reporters on the sidelines of India Power Forum. He said the nuclear power situation would improve with India getting the Nuclear Suppliers Group's approval to import improved technology and uranium, which is used as fuel for generate nuclear power plants.
India has signed civil nuclear cooperation agreements with the United States and France this year and is expected to enter into a similar deal with Russia this week.
At present, the country has a capacity to generate 4,120 mw of nuclear power, but most units are running at just over half their strength due to fuel shortage. The UPA has set a target to add a capacity of 20,000 mw nuclear power by year 2020 and 63,000 mw by 2030.
"We aim to produce 10,000 mw through indigenous PHWRs (Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors), about 5,000 mw through imported reactors and about 2,500 mw through Fast Breeder Reactors," he said, giving a break up of the target till year 2020. The nuclear scientist said the target for year 2020 "may be exceeded".
Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL), which is the sole body running nuclear power plants in the country, is exploring joint ventures with domestic industries to set up plants to attain this objective.
The country's first fast-breeder reactor is under construction and on schedule for commissioning in 2010-11, Kakodkar said, adding that "thereafter, India's nuclear power programme would see sustained and committed activity."