The government has set in motion a plan to boost nuclear power so that the generation capacity in the country touches nearly 15,000 MW by 2024, the Lok Sabha was told on Wednesday. In 2014, India's nuclear power generation capacity was 4,780 MW.
Replying to queries during Question Hour, Minister of State in the PMO, Jitendra Singh, said a number of steps have been taken by the Narendra Modi government to fast-track all ongoing nuclear projects and setting up new plants in different parts of the country.
"When we came to power in 2014, we had set a target of generating nuclear power by three times in 10 yearsand we hope to reach that target," he said.
The minister, however, said for generating targeted nuclear power, there has to be enough uranium available ~ both from domestic as well as foreign sources.
Singh said the government was actively pursuing the process of acquiring uranium from different sources, including exploration in new places like Bihar and Meghalaya.
He said for the first time, the Nuclear Power Corporation of India has been allowed to go in for setting up joint venture nuclear plants along with public sector undertakings.
The minister said the third stage of India's nuclear power programme contemplates using thorium along with uranium- 233 as fuel in thorium-based reactors. With sustained efforts of years, India has gained experience over the entire thorium fuel cycle on a semi-industrial scale, he said.
"The developmental activities include studies in thorium extraction, fuel fabrication and irradiation, reprocessing studies including construction of an engineering-scale power reactor, thorium reprocessing facility and setting up of uranium-233 fuelled Purnima and KAMINI research reactors," he said.
Singh said the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre and research organisations attached with DAE are engaged in various R&D activities to address the utilisation of thorium in different types of reactors, including efforts aimed at enlarging the existing thorium cycle experience to a bigger scale.