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Reliance Energy, NTPC in talks with NPCIL for nuclear foray

Anil Sasi

Capacity of 20,000-40,000 MW expected in 10 years following Indo-US deal


Going nuclear
At present, NPCIL is the only firm permitted by the Government to generate nuclear power.
The benefits from the deal with the US to trickle in over the next 18 months.

New Delhi , March 3

Reliance Energy and NTPC Ltd are among companies in talks with Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) for possible forays into the nuclear power generation sector.

Coming in the wake of the new Indo-US civil nuclear deal, NPCIL estimates the country could add 20,000-40,000 MW of nuclear power generation capacity over the next 10 years or so if several more players, including private sector companies, enter the sector.

"We are talking of adding 20,000-40,000 megawatts in 10 years... It would not be possible for NPCIL to achieve this kind of capacity on its own. We have had discussions with a number of interested players, including NTPC and Reliance Energy, who have plans to enter nuclear generation as and when the Government permits their entry into the sector," a senior NPCIL official said.

NPCIL is the only firm permitted by the Government to generate nuclear power.

The country's nuclear power generation capacity, currently pegged at 3,310 MW, forms less than 3 per cent of the country's total installed generation capacity of about 1,20,000 MW.

Thermal power meets 70 per cent of India's requirements, while hydro contributes about 24 per cent at present.

India and the US had, on Thursday, signed an agreement for cooperation in civilian nuclear technology.

The NPCIL official said that with the Indo-US nuclear deal in place, it is expected that the international nuclear fuel supply market would open up for Indian nuclear power players.

The benefits from the deal with the US, in terms of imports and nuclear technology, are expected to start trickling over the next 18 months or so.

He said access to higher imports of natural uranium, which NPCIL currently uses to run most of its power plants, would help the company increase power generation at its existing facilities without any additional investment.

"The plant load factor of existing natural uranium utilising power plants can be increased to 90 per cent from the present average of 68.5 per cent, based on fresh imports of uranium," the official said.

NTPC, the country's largest generation company, also has a plan to set up a 2,000 MW capacity nuclear plant by 2017.

"We are actively exploring the nuclear option, besides other emerging areas such as the use of hydrogen," an NTPC official said. In the private sector, besides Reliance Energy, Tata Power has also evinced interest in entering the field.

Related Stories:
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NTPC's nuclear power plans
NTPC in talks with NPC for foray into nuclear power generation

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