India's power minister Mr Sushilkumar Shinde has stated that the country plans to build nuclear power generation capacity of 63 GW during the next 20 years to exploit its advantages in terms of fuel transportation and storage, and because of its 'green' credentials. Mr Shinde was addressing a seminar at India's International Nuclear Symposium. He said that the country's plans to employ both indigenous technology and imported reactors. International co-operation, including an Indo-US nuclear deal on civil nuclear collaboration is a significant factor in the expansion of India’s nuclear power programme.
Highlighting the challenges in conventional power generation, Mr Shinde said: “Thermal technologies have the problems of greenhouse gas emissions, fly-ash and handling, transportation, storage problems of large quantities of fuel as well as availability of coal.” Even though hydro power is considered as a cleaner source of energy, hydro technology can present unecpected geological problems. Wind and solar power technologies are seriously limited by site-specific and season-specific nature of their availability, he added.
At present, 20 nuclear power reactors are in operation and seven reactors are under construction, including a 500 MW fast breeder reactor. The total nuclear capacity of the country currently stands at about 4800 MW.