With a view to making India a power-rich country, beside renewable energy, the Union Government has been emphasizing on developing the nuclear power segment. In Union Budget 2016-17, Rs. 3,000 crore has been earmarked for nuclear power generation. The Union Government is also drawing a comprehensive plan to be implemented in next 15 to 20 years for exploiting nuclear energy. It is quite satisfactory to note that in 2015, under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India has seen major achievements in the field of civil nuclear cooperation. The implementation of the civil nuclear cooperation agreement with the U.S. was put back on course when Prime Minister hosted President Obama in New Delhi between January 25 to 27, 2015.
1) India has a flourishing and largely indigenous nuclear power programme and expects to have 14.6 GWe nuclear capacity on line by 2024 and 63 GWe by 2032. It aims to supply 25% of electricity from nuclear power by 2050.
2) Because India is outside the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty due to its weapons programme, it was for 34 years largely excluded from trade in nuclear plant or materials, which has hampered its development of civil nuclear energy until 2009.
3) Due to earlier trade bans and lack of indigenous uranium, India has uniquely been developing a nuclear fuel cycle to exploit its reserves of thorium.
4) Since 2010, a fundamental incompatibility between India’s civil liability law and international conventions limits foreign technology provision.
5) India has a vision of becoming a world leader in nuclear technology due to its expertise in fast reactors and thorium fuel cycle.
(*We acknowledge inputs from World Nuclear Association)