Update of the nuclear power market in India

Update of the nuclear power market in India

This update of the nuclear power market in India is based on the Foundation Day Lecture given by R. B. Grover, Emeritus Professor, at the Homi Bhabha National Institute.


Key points of the lecture:

Potential of small hydro, solar and wind: Total 900 GW (MNRE-2017)

  • Wind = 102 GW at 80 m mast height (302 GW at 100 m mast height);
  • Solar = 750 GW if 3% waste land is made available. Rooftop solar is additional to it.
  • Small hydro = 20 GW

Assuming a capacity factor of 20%, it can provide 1752 billion kWh. Large hydro provided 126 billion kWh in 2017-18. Additional potential is available and all efforts should be made to harness it. Hopefully India will realise the remaining potential in coming decades. Thus, the total electricity that can be provided by hydro, coal and wind is of the order of 2000 billion kWh. To provide a major part of the balance 6600 billion kWh, nuclear is one option that needs to be pursued vigorously.


Options for growth of nuclear electricity generation in India

  • Pursue an aggressive programme to locate more uranium resources in the country
  • This was taken up in the beginning of this century and is now showing results.
  • Take policy initiatives to open up international trade in uranium and
    • Import uranium and set up more PHWRs based on indigenous technology, or
    • Import uranium and set up LWRs in technical collaboration with other countries, and recycle spent fuel in fast breeder reactors.

This option was pursued and resulted in relaxation of NSG guidelines in 2008.

Nuclear power plants: in operation, under construction and approved

  • Plants under operation: 6780 MW.
  • Plants under construction:
    • 2×700 MW at Kakrapar;
    • 2×700 MW at Rawatbhata;
    • 500 MW PFBR; 2×700 MW at Gorakhpur, Haryana
    • (2024-25), 2×1000 MW at Kudankulam (Mar/ Nov23).
  • Projects already approved:
    • 2×1000 MW at Kudankulam (Mar-25, Dec-25), and 10×700 MW PHWR.

Projects under planning

  • 6×1200 MW at a new site (AP, site under approval); all VVERs to be set up in technical collaboration with Russia, first two units likely to be completed before 2026-27 and the remaining before 2031-32.
  • 6×1100 MW at Kovvada, AP, all AP1000, to be set up in technical collaboration with Westinghouse; USA. Dialogue ongoing.
  • 6×1650 MW at Jaitapur, all EPRs to be set up in technical collaboration with France. Dialogue ongoing.
  • 2×600 MW FBRs at Kalpakkam and 4×600 MW FBRs at a new site to be constructed by Bhavini.
  • Reactors at additional sites already approved: 2×700 at Bargi (MP), 4×700 at Bhimpur (MP), and 6×1000 at Haripur.
  • 6X1594 MW at Chhaya Mithi Virdi, all ESBWRs, to be set up in technical collaboration with GE-Hitachi; USA.

Characteristics of Indian Nuclear Industry

  1. For PHWRs, NPCIL is the plant owner, technology vendor and system integrator and Bhavini for PFBR. Makes capital cost competitive.
  2. Similar situation in France and Russia. Not so in the USA and the UK.
  3. Atomic Energy Act, 1962 permits production of prescribed equipment by any entity, private or Government, but only a Government company can own and operate nuclear power plant.


  • Site selection and public acceptance is a challenge.
  • In negotiations with foreign vendors: arriving at technical terms and conditions that are mutually acceptable and enable a viable tariff regime is another challenge.
  • India has multiple technology options at its disposal and can make a judicious selection based on economics and ease of implementation.

India’s electricity needs are very large and we need all technologies. ‘Technology versus technology’ debate has to stop as different electric power sources provide different elements of a balanced energy.

Full document hereGrover_VECC_ June_2018

About Author

Arnaud Lefevre

Arnaud Lefevre is the Chief Executive Officer of Dynatom International. Arnaud is in charge of the international development of the business portfolio.