Nuclear Energy In India
Nuclear power is the fourth-largest source of electricity in India after thermal, hydroelectric and renewable sources of electricity. As of 2012, India has 20 nuclear reactors in operation in six nuclear power plants, generating 4,780 MW while seven other reactors are under construction and are expected to generate an additional 5,300 MW.
In October 2010, India drew up "an ambitious plan to reach a nuclear power capacity of 63,000 MW in 2032", but "populations around proposed Indian NPP sites have launched protests, raising questions about atomic energy as a clean and safe alternative to fossil fuels". There have been mass protests against the French-backed 9900 MW Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project in Maharashtra and the 2000 MW Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant in Tamil Nadu. The state government of West Bengal state has also refused permission to a proposed 6000 MW facility near the town of Haripur that intended to host six Russian reactors. A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has also been filed against the government’s civil nuclear programme at the Supreme Court.
Despite this opposition, the capacity factor of Indian reactors was at 79% in the year 2011-12 compared to 71% in 2010-11. Nine out of twenty Indian reactors recorded an unprecedented 97% Capacity factor during 2011-12. With the imported uranium from France, the 220 MW Kakrapar 2 PHWR reactors recorded 99% capacity factor during 2011-12. The Availability factor for the year 2011-12 was at 89%.
India has been making advances in the field of thorium-based fuels, working to design and develop a prototype for an atomic reactor using thorium and low-enriched uranium, a key part of India's three stage nuclear power programme. The country has also recently re-initiated its involvement in the LENR research activities, in addition to supporting work done in the fusion power area through the ITER initiative.
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