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India organises essay competition on nuclear power

Article writing competition for children was organised at Vijetha Smart School Bhawanipuram, as part of a nation-wide campaign to generate awareness about importance of energy and to dispel the misconceptions related to nuclear energy.

The topic of the competition was’ Nuclear Energy- Nation’s Energy’ and it was organised on behalf of Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL), a Government of India undertaking.

In all, around 187 students participated in the competition. The students’ work was judged by eminent personalities. Karthik of class 8 and Lvanya of class nine won the first and second prizes respectively

The school principal P Rambabu said on the occasion that children’s expressions are an indication of their creativity. The children had portrayed the importance of energy in a very creative manner and had also showed how the production of electricity from nuclear energy does not harm the environment.

He also gave away prizes to the winning students. The judges also appreciated the work of the young students and said this would increase awareness about science and energy.

On this occasion comics based on Budhiya, a fictional character who motivates villagers to support nuclear power, were distributed among the students.

The character has been created by Amritesh Srivastava, Media Manager, NPCIL, and the initiative has won several awards for its simplicity and effectiveness. A special three-part animated film on the same character was also screened.

India to build reactor for utilisation of thorium

Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) has designed Advanced Heavy Water Reactor (AHWR) for utilisation of Thorium.

This reactor has several passive safety systems and runs on coolant flow by natural circulation. It meets all the post Fukushima requirements and can withstand severe accidents without exposing radiation in the environment. It meets all the safety features of 3rd generation reactors. AHWR design has been reviewed by Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) and Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) has accorded pre-licensing approval. Government of India has given ‘in principle’ approval for constructing AHWR in Tarapur, Maharashtra, said the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North-Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh in written reply to a question in Lok Sabha today.

The electricity generation from nuclear power in the last two years i.e. 2014-15 and 2015-16 was 37835 Million Units (MUs) and 37456 MUs respectively. The generation in 2014-15 comprised of 35592 MU of commercial generation and 2243 MU of infirm (non commercial) generation, while the entire generation in 2015-16 was commercial.

India to increase nuclear power share with indigenous and foreign cooperation

The share of nuclear power was about 3.2% in India in the year 2016-17 (up to Feb-2017).

During this period, about 34136 Million Units (MUs) of electricity was produced from Nuclear Power Plants against a total of about 1052160 MUs produced in India [Source: Central Electricity Authority (CEA), All India Summary, Issue Date-March 02, 2017]. The share of nuclear power is country-specific and depends on other sources of electricity generation deployed in the country, said the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Development of North-Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh in a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha today.

The share of nuclear power in total electricity generation is planned to be progressively increased by addition of nuclear power capacity for which a large expansion programme based on both indigenous technologies and with foreign technical cooperation is planned. In this regard, the Government has taken several enabling steps which include according of “In principle” approval of sites for locating future nuclear reactors based both on indigenous technologies and with foreign technical cooperation; entering into enabling agreements with foreign countries for nuclear cooperation including supply of fuel; amendment of the Atomic Energy Act to enable Joint Ventures of Public Sector Companies to set up nuclear power projects and creation of India Nuclear Insurance Pool (INIP) for resolving issues arising out of Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage (CLND) Act, 2010.

Nuclear power capacity to be tripled in India the next 10 years

The Government, in July 2014, had announced tripling of the then existing capacity of 4780 MW in the next ten years.

With the commencement of commercial operation of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP), Unit-1 (1000 MW) in December 2014, the installed nuclear power capacity in the country has reached 5780 MW. In addition, KKNPP, Unit-2 (1000 MW) has been connected to the grid for the first time in August-2016 and is presently generating infirm power. On commencement of commercial operation of KKNPP-2, the installed nuclear power capacity in the country will reach to 6780 MW, said Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Development of North-Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh in a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha today.

Further, four reactors with a total capacity of 2800 MW are under construction and four more reactors with a total capacity of 3400 MW have been accorded sanction by the Government. Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Limited (BHAVINI), a public sector company under Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), is building one 500 MWe capacity Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR) at Kalpakkam, Tamil Nadu. PFBR is expected to be functional by October 2017. On progressive completion of these projects, the installed nuclear capacity will reach 13480 MW. More reactors based on both indigenous technologies and with foreign technical cooperation are also planned in future.

The present share of nuclear energy in the country is about 3.2% in the current financial year 2016-17 (up to Feb-2017).

The nuclear power plants in the country are presently operating close to their rated capacity.

India develops portable kit to check water contamination

National Centre for Compositional Characterisation of Materials (NCCCM), Chemistry Group, BARC, located at Hyderabad has developed a portable visual detection kit for detection of hexavalent chromium [Cr(VI)] between 5 to 500 ng/ml (ppb) range in water within 5 minutes.

Chromium exists in the environment primarily in two valence states, trivalent chromium (Cr III) and hexavalent chromium (Cr VI). Cr (III) is biologically important element and needed for glucose and lipid metabolism. Cr (VI), however, is considered toxic and IARC (International Agency for Research in Cancer, WHO) has classified it as a group 1 agent, defined as carcinogenic to humans, the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Development of North-Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr. Jitendra Singh said in written reply to a question in Lok Sabha today.

According to the method developed, three reagents kept inside different bottles are to be added to the clear water sample. Reagent 1 and Reagent 2 are added and mixed for two minutes. The third reagent is then added and mixed thoroughly (shaken for 1-2 minutes). Within 5 minutes, a pink color develops in the top layer and the intensity of this is compared by visual inspection to obtain the Cr(VI) range in water.

By this method Cr(VI) can be detected in drinking water sources such as ground water, lake water, river water, etc. According to Indian standard IS10500, maximum permissible limit for Cr(VI) in drinking water is 50 ng/mL and as per United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) it is 10 ng/mL and the kit meets the requirements of both the standards. The technology of this kit has been transferred to M/S LTek Systems, Nagpur for commercialization of the product for societal benefit.

India to undertake massive expansion of Uranium program

Uranium Corporation of India Ltd. has outlined a plan for massive expansion, said the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Development of North-Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh in written reply to a question in Lok Sabha today.

The MoS (PMO) Dr Jitendra Singh met with Australian Minister for Resources on March 8, 2017 in New Delhi during which both sides had general exchange of views regarding promotion of mutually beneficial cooperation between India and Australia in the field of civil nuclear energy.

Uranium Corporation of India Ltd., a Public Sector Undertaking under Department of Atomic Energy is engaged in mining and processing of uranium ore in the country. The company is currently operating seven uranium mines (Bagjata, Jaduguda, Bhatin, Narwapahar, Turamdih, Banduhurang and Mohuldih) and two processing plants (Jaduguda plant and Turamdih plant) in the state of Jharkhand. Construction of mine and plant has been started at Tummalapalle in Andhra Pradesh. UCIL has outlined a plan for massive expansion which includes plan to maintain sustained supply from existing facilities, capacity expansion of some existing units and construction of new production centers (mines and plants) in different parts of the country. Considering the resources already identified in different geological basins by Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research (AMD), UCIL’s major production centers are planned in Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana, Rajasthan and Meghalaya.

According to Jitendra Singh, the details of sites accorded “in-principle” approval for setting up nuclear power plants in the northern and eastern region are as follows: Gorakhpur, Haryana (4 x 700), Mahi Banswara, Rajasthan (4 x 700), Haripur, West Bengal (6 x 1000).

There is presently no proposal to set up nuclear power plants in the North Eastern region. The region falls in Seismic Zone V as per IS 1893. As per the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) code on Site Evaluation of Nuclear Facilities, Nuclear Power plants are not set up in Seismic Zone V.

Punjab and Uttarakhand to have nuclear power plants

The government plans to set up nuclear power plants in north India, including one each in Uttarakhand and Punjab, the Lok Sabha was informed on Wednesday.

Minister of state in the prime minister’s office Jitendra Singh said there are plans to set up nuclear plants in Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, observing that the plants in north India have not been very visible so far.

Responding to supplementaries on the leak in unit one of Kakrapar atomic power station, he said the plant is under regular shutdown. But the shutdown is likely to get prolonged due to the leak. Nuclear and atomic plants are shut down on a regular basis for maintenance.

Reiterating that the leak was an “incident” and not an “accident”, the minister said as per a scale of one to seven, the leak has been placed at ‘one’ on the international nuclear event scale.

“The investigation to identify the leak has been taken up by Nuclear Power Corporation Ltd and Atomic Energy Regulatory Board. As per the prevailing practice, the lessons and recommendations that would emerge from the investigation would be suitably incorporated,” he said in his written response.

The electricity generation from nuclear power in the last two years i.e. 2014-15 and 2015-16 was 37835 Million Units (MUs) and 37456 MUs respectively. The generation in 2014-15 comprised of 35592 MU of commercial generation and 2243 MU of infirm (non commercial) generation, while the entire generation in 2015-16 was commercial.

The targets for electricity generation from nuclear power are set on an annual basis as a part of the MoU with the administrative ministry. The MoU target for electricity generation from nuclear power for 2016-17 is 36000 MU excluding infirm (non commercial) power. Adequate quantity of fuel has been provided by the Government to meet the target.

The generation in 2016-17 (upto February 2017) has been 34137 MUs (excluding infirm power). In addition, 2086 MUs of infirm (non-commercial) power has also been generated in the current year (upto February 2017).

June 2017 deadline for Indo-US civil nuclear deal to be missed – M K Narayanan

The June 2017 deadline for operationalising the Indo-US civil nuclear cooperation will “certainly” be missed, former National Security Adviser MK Narayanan said here on Monday.

At the same time, Narayanan expressed optimism about things falling into place, especially with India boosting its uranium supply.

“The deadline will certainly be missed by every stretch of the imagination,” Narayanan told IANS here when quizzed on the recent speculations about the deadline.

Expanding on the major issues that led to the delay, the former West Bengal governor said: “Two big issues were the insurance package, so to say, and there were a lot of discussions that had to be conducted and in the midst of that happened Fukushima (Japan nuclear disaster) which aggravated concerns about what will be the impact of a major nuclear disaster.”

“So I think that took a good amount of time (more or less from 2010 to 2013 to 2014) that is one basic issue with deadlines being missed.”

Narayanan had played a significant role in the negotiation of the landmark Indo-US Civil Nuclear Agreement which was announced in 2008.

A joint US-India statement said India and the US Export-Import Bank were “working to complete a financing package for the project, and that the Nuclear Power Corporation of India and Toshiba Corp`s Westinghouse Electric had confirmed engineering and site design work would begin immediately.”

However, the implementation of the pact has been held up further with Westinghouse Electric running into financial troubles.

“Then of course you run into the problem that the company Westinghouse has run into major problems so as a result, what I would say, at one level (not due to non-performance from our side), more due to other factors, administrative (and other factors across the world) we have had to delay the thing. Hopefully, things will come around,” Narayanan said.

The former Intelligence Bureau chief also highlighted that India has shored up its uranium supplies.

“One of the major drawbacks that would have happened… would have been if we didn`t get enough uranium. That is one of our major short supply but that is being assured now… Australia and Canada have agreed to supply us uranium so I think our supplies are assured.”

However, he said, “You have to get over some of the administrative and related matters so it will be delayed (nobody can say for how long) but I am optimistic. It is quite an extraordinary deal.”

He was speaking on the sidelines of an international energy conference organised by The Neotia University.

Maharashtra to purchase power from Jaitapur nuclear power plant only if it`s affordable

Maharashtra will purchase power generated at the proposed Jaitapur nuclear power plant in the state only if it is affordable, a highly-placed source in the Devendra Fadnavis government said today.

The state conveyed its position on the issue during a meeting between Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and a French delegation led by French Foreign Affairs Ministry general secretary Christian Masset.

Frances Ambassador to India Alexandre Ziegler and representatives of the company working on the project, EDF, also attended the meeting held in Mumbai a week ago.
“The French side may expect the state to purchase power in line with an old agreement.

“According to that pact, the state was to purchase 3000 mega watt electricity. But the state government has told the delegation that it will buy electricity only if it is affordable,” the source said.

The government also asked the delegation about the per unit rate of the electricity generated from the plant, but they did not state any.

They assured that the rate would not be higher than what is prevailing in the market, the source said.

The Fadnavis government had asked the EDF to allay apprehensions of the people about the safety aspect of the project, particularly in the light of Japans Fukushima power plant accident in 2011.

The Japanese nuclear power project was hit by tsunami that year, leading to meltdown of three reactors and release of radioactive material.

To a question, the source said the company plans to make the project operational next year. The project was first supposed to be commissioned six years ago.

“They will finalise the schedule (of launch) and then it will be declared,” the source added.

When fully operational, the project, located in Maharashtras coastal Ratnagiri district, is expected to generate nearly 10,000 megawatt electricity.

Work on Jaitapur nuclear power plant to start by 2018 – France

Foreign Secretary of France, Christian Masset, today said the proposed Jaitapur nuclear power project was important for his country and its work would start by the next year.

“The project is very important for France. The work on the project will start by 2018 and the first reactor will get operational by 2025. All the six reactors can start generating power by 2027 and a total of 10,000 MW would be generated from the project,” Masset told reporters here today.

He said that special security measures have been included in the project after studying nuclear disasters world over.

The Jaitapur project in Ratnagiri district in the Konkan region of Maharashtra, where the French company Areva will be setting up the nuclear reactors, has been stuck for long due to differences over the cost of electricity to be generated. It has attracted strong opposition from various quarters on environmental and safety grounds.

“Sixty per cent of the supplies for the project would be procured locally and participation of local industry in developing the project would be ensured,” Masset said.
He assured that the power rates would be affordable.

A delegation led by Masset met Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis at his official residence Varsha here.

The CM directed the state officials to increase the public outreach and take necessary steps to ensure maximum employment to locals at the Jaitapur project.
Fadnavis said people have several “misconceptions” about the project and to address their concerns, a dialogue with local officials needs to be established.

“Information on security and safety aspects related to the project need to be given,” Fadnavis said.
“Once there is a clarity on the rates of the power generated from the project, the schedule for the project can be announced and local people can be involved to ensure that the project gets completed early,” he added.

Work on skill training needs to be undertaken immediately to ensure local people get employment from the project, he said.

Fadnavis also informed the delegation about the state governments “business-friendly” policies.

Ambassador of France to India Alexandre Ziegler, too, was present on the occasion.