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Country to build 10 heavy water reactors to boost N-power


In a major decision to fast-track India’s domestic nuclear power programme, the federal cabinet on Wednesday approved construction of 10 units of indigenous Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWR).

“The cabinet has approved installation of 10 indigenously built PWHRs of 700 MW each,” federal Minister Piyush Goyal said after meeting of the cabinet presided over by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Goyal, who is the federal Minister for Power and Coal, said the decision will result in significant augmentation of the country’s nuclear power generation capacity.

He said India’s installed nuclear power capacity is 6,780MW from 22 operational plants, and another 6,700MW is expected to be generated by 2021-22 through projects under construction.

The government had in July 2014 set a target of taking nuclear power capacity to over 14,000MW by 2024.

The decision on construction 10 PHWRs comes days before the Modi government completes three years in office.

Goyal said the move will give manufacturing orders to domestic industry to the tune of nearly Rs700 billion and is expected to generate more than 33,400 jobs in direct and indirect employment.

He said it would be one of the flagship “Make in India” projects in the nuclear power sector.

The Minister said the project will help transform the Indian nuclear industry by linking the goal of a strong nuclear power sector with the country’s indigenous industrial capacities in high-end technologies.

He also linked the decision to the government’s clean energy goals and low-carbon growth strategy.

He said the 10 reactors will be part of India’s latest design of 700 MW PHWR fleet and will have state-of-art technology that will meet the highest standards of safety.

Separately, the cabinet approved changes in a law that empowers an estate officer to fast track eviction of ministers, members of Parliament and bureaucrats overstaying in government-allotted residences long after they cease to hold official positions.

People who overstay in official accommodations take recourse to courts, Goyal said. The minister said such people, including “ministers, MPs and government officers”, usually take the benefit of law to make possible their stay after they no longer hold official positions.

Meanwhile, the federal cabinet extended to the entire country a programme to provide compensation for wage loss so that women get adequate rest before and after delivery and not be deprived of proper nutrition. But the scheme will be applicable for the first born only, the government said in an official statement.

The cabinet also approved signing of an agreement with Tajikistan aimed at preventing customs offences and ensure efficient clearance of goods.

Indo-Asian News Service