India’s state-run nuclear operator has a new Chairman; 9 new reactors to be built by 2024 


India’s state-run operator, the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL), has a new Chairman-cum-Managing Director in Bhuwan Chandra Pathak, who has succeeded the previous incumbent S.K. Sharma on the latter’s retirement from service. Before taking over as the NPCIL Chairman, Pathak, who is a scientist by profession, was Director of Projects in the organisation.  

Meanwhile, the Indian government has recently announced that the country will have nine new nuclear reactors by 2024, while the first reactor in northern India will come up at Gorakhpur in Haryana state, which is 150 km away from the national capital New Delhi.  

Replying to a question in the Upper House of the Indian Parliament during its latest winter session, the Atomic Energy Minister Jitendra Singh said that there are nine nuclear power reactors at various stages of construction which are targeted for completion by 2024. In addition, 12 more nuclear reactors have been accorded administrative approval and financial sanction by the government. 

“By 2024 you will have nine nuclear reactors. We are going to have a nuclear project, the first of its kind, in north India just about 150 km from Delhi in a small township called Gorakhpur in Haryana”, Singh said.  

The nuclear reactors under construction include units 3 and 4 of the Kakrapar Atomic Power Project (KAPP), of 700 MW capacity each, located in Gujarat state. The KAPP unit 3, which became the country’s first indigenously built 700 MW reactor, was synchronised with the grid in January 2021. 

The other units under construction are units 7 and 8 with 700 MW capacity each of the Rajasthan Atomic Power Project (RAPP) at Rawatbhata in Rajasthan state, two units of 700 MW each at Gorakhpur in Haryana, and units 3 and 4 of 1,000 MW capacity each of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) in the southern state of Tamil Nadu being built by NPCIL with the assistance of the Russian state atomic energy corporation Rosatom.  

The KNPP units 1 and 2, of 1,000 MW capacity each, are already commercially connected to the grid, while work has also started on construction of units 5 and 6 at Kudankulam.   

The reactors currently under construction in the country will yield a combined capacity of 6,200 MW. On completion of these under construction, NPCIL’s capacity will reach 12,980 MW by 2025. India’s existing nuclear power capacity of 6,780 MW from 22 operating reactors is expected to increase to 22,480 MW by 2031. 

The Minister also informed the Parliament that nuclear energy will soon emerge as one of the most important sources of alternative or clean energy to meet the increasing power demand in the country.