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India to build an additional 18 nuclear power plants by 2032

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By Colin Hay - 
India nuclear power

India’s plans to significantly increase its nuclear energy capacity have gained momentum with news that the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) wants to build a new reactor “every year”.

NPCIL has announced plans to build 18 more nuclear power reactors with a cumulative capacity to generate 13,800 megawatt electrical (MWe) of electricity

This would take the total share of atomic power in the country’s energy mix to 22,480MWe by 2031-32.

The NPCIL move would also see India rapidly climb the ladder of nations producing at least one quarter of their electricity from nuclear.

With 22 operable nuclear reactors and a combined net capacity of 6.8 GWe, it currently sits 12th on this list.

In 2022, nuclear generated 3.1% of the country’s electricity.

Government commitment

The Indian government is committed to growing its nuclear power capacity as part of its massive infrastructure development programme.

It had already set an ambitious target in 2010 to have 14.6 gigawatt electric (GWe) nuclear capacity online by 2024.

At the end of October 2023, eight reactors were under construction in India with a combined capacity of 6.7GWe.

As of June 2023, India ranked second behind China in the number of nuclear reactors under construction.

This month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated two home-built 700 Mw nuclear power reactors at Kakrapar in Gujarat.

India now plans to increase its present installed nuclear power capacity of 7,480Mw to 22,480Mw by 2031-2032.

Emissions reduction strategy

The sudden move to rapidly expand its nuclear generation capabilities comes as India strives to reduce its CO2 output.

The country is also looking to reduce its dependence on imported energy resources ahead of an expected surge in electricity demand.

The 2019 edition of BP’s Energy Outlook projected India’s energy consumption to rise by 156% between 2017 and 2040.

It also predicted the country’s energy mix would evolve slowly, with fossil fuels accounting for 79% of demand in 2040—down from 92% in 2017.