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NTPC has nuclear plans

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August 02, 2005 09:35 IST

India's largest electricity producer National Thermal Power Corporation Ltd will soon appoint two advisers to help it firm up its strategy to enter the nuclear energy business.

With Prime Minister Manmohan Singh inking a deal on the import of nuclear fuel to India, the possibility of entering the nuclear energy business had become very real, and the company had decided to see how soon it could start work, NTPC executives said.

The agreement with the US for fuel supply, if it fructifies, will enable India to step up its civil nuclear programme. Production may go up from 10 giga watt to 275 giga watt by 2052.

Chairman and managing director of NTPC C P Jain said, "We are looking at it as a long-term option." But he refused to elaborate on the company's plans.

NTPC accounts for around 27 per cent of the power produced in the country, though thermal generation continues to be its mainstay.

The company plans to have an installed capacity of 56,000 Mw by 2017 against 23,739 Mw at the end of 2004-05. It intends to do so through significant addition in hydel capacity and by foraying into non-conventional and nuclear energy generation.

"Nuclear power is the way to go in the long-run. Going by current consumption trends, our coal reserves will only last us another 50 years," said an executive, adding that nuclear power was the preferred option for countries like France and Japan with low hydrocarbon reserves.

Executives said NTPC would have to deliberate upon how to get around the dual-use technology export ban imposed by the US, if it did enter the sector.

Certain components required for use in gas-based turbines were covered under dual-use technology, and if imports were not allowed, it would pose a problem for the company, energy analysts said. Nuclear power can account for up to 20 per cent of India's power generation by 2052, up from 5 per cent in 2012, as per projections.

Critical plans

  • NTPC plans installed capacity of 56,000 Mw by 2017
  • The deal with US will enable India to step up its civil nuclear programme
  • Production can go up from 10 giga watt to 275 giga watt by 2052
Mamata Singh in New Delhi