Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) has planned the use of large deposits of Thorium available in the country as a long-term option. A three-stage nuclear power programme has been chalked out to use Thorium as a viable and sustainable option, right at the inception of India’s nuclear power programme.
The availability of fuel in the required quantity has enabled operation of nuclear power plants at their rated power during the recent years. The generation in a particular year is dependent apart from the availability of fuel on the capacity in operation based on planned shutdowns of reactors for various maintenance activities.
Atomic Energy is being used for various applications which are beneficial to mankind. Nuclear energy is also used for the production of radioisotopes in the country. Radioisotopes are used in medicine, industry, hydrology, agriculture and research and constitute one of the important peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
The power generated by nuclear power plants is allocated by the Ministry of Power (MoP) to the various beneficiary States or Union territories in the region. As per the extant MoP guidelines, 50% of power is allocated to the Home State, 15% is retained as unallocated power for allocation by the Government for meeting the urgent or overall requirement and the remaining 35% is to be allocated to other beneficiaries (except home state) in accordance with the pattern of central plan assistance and energy consumption during the previous five years, both factors having equal weightage.
Seven reactor units with a capacity of 5300 MW are under construction and excavation is in progress for start of construction of four more units having a capacity of 3400 MW. The Government has accorded administrative approval and financial sanction of ten more reactor units of 700 MW each.
As on February, 2017, there are 21 nuclear power plants which are operational in the country with a total installed capacity of 5780 MW. In addition, the second unit of Kudankulam KKNPP-2 (1000 MW) is connected to the southern grid and is presently generating infirm (non-commercial) power.
Monazite is the primary source of thorium in India. The resources of monazite based on data of Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration & Research, (AMD), a Unit of Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), is estimated to be 12.47 million tons which corresponds to about 1 million tons of thorium oxide.
Safe management of nuclear waste has been accorded high priority right from the inception of nuclear energy programme. A comprehensive radioactive waste management system is established taking into account the operational capability for the management of radioactive waste and an independent regulatory capability for its overview.
During the visit of Prime Minister of Canada H.E. Mr. Justin Trudeau to India on February 23, 2018, Government of India has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Department of Natural Resources of Canada concerning cooperation in the fields of science, technology and innovation.
The share of nuclear power generation was about 3.4% in India in the calendar year 2016. The corresponding share in United States of America and Germany was about 19.7% and 13.1% respectively. The share of nuclear power generation is country specific and depends on other sources of electricity generation deployed in the country.
Closed nuclear fuel cycle is being followed in India treating spent nuclear fuel as a material of resource instead of nuclear waste. The closed fuel cycle aims at recovery and recycle of fuel elements, separation of useful isotopes such as Cs (Caesium) and Sr (Strontium) for use in health care and industry. The spent fuel is reprocessed to recover the fuel elements like Uranium and Plutonium for recycling back in the reactor for generation of power in second stage of Indian nuclear power programme.
Phase-I of the project titled "Establishment of Global Centre for Nuclear Energy Partnership (GCNEP)" at Kheri Jasaur, near Bahadurgarh, Haryana has been completed. 30th September, 2020 is the date of Phase-II of the project.
A capacity expansion is planned by setting up nuclear power reactors at various green field sites. On completion of the green field site projects which have been accorded administrative approval and financial sanction, the installed nuclear power capacity would increase by 7000 MW by the year 2031.
The Government of India has given In-Principle approval for Construction and Operation of Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Laboratory - India (LIGO) in India in collaboration with LIGO Laboratory, United States of America. This is the third observatory identical to the two LIGO observatories in USA.
At present, there are nine nuclear power reactors at various stages of construction, targeted for completion by 2024-25. In addition, twelve more nuclear power reactors have been accorded administrative approval and financial sanction by the Government in June 2017.
India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO) is a particle physics research project under construction to study atmospheric neutrinos in a 1,300 meters deep cave near Theni, in Tamil Nadu. This project is anticipated to provide a precise measurement of neutrino mixing parameters. A neutrino is an elementary particle that interacts only via the weak subatomic force and gravity.