State-run Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) plans to work with the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) for setting up new nuclear power plants, Minister of State in the Prime Minister Office, in charge of Department of Atomic Energy, Jitendra Singh said while addressing 9th Nuclear Energy Conclave in New Delhi.
“ONGC has come forward with a plan. They have a lot of money they would like to invest and we have the technical expertise,” he said.
The government has recently amended the Atomic Energy Act 1962 to enable the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) to form joint ventures (JVs) with public sector undertakings (PSUs) in order to meet the high cost of setting up nuclear plants.
Earlier this year, the government approved the construction 10 indigenous pressurized heavy-water reactors (PHWR) with a total capacity of 7,000 MW. Each of the reactors would have a capacity of 700 MW.
India currently has around 7,000 MW of operational nuclear power plants, and about 6,700 MW of plants under implementation, which will be set up by 2021-22.
Singh also said that the Centre is currently working with various state governments to sensitise about the additional uses of nuclear energy in fields other than electricity like in irradiation of agriculture products, medicine, among others.
He also stressed the need for a vast sensitisation programme to remove misconceptions about the health and safety aspects of nuclear power.
He said “there is a lot of public antagonism to nuclear”, which disaffected politicians exploit to organise protests against utilities that are proposed to be built in some areas.