Mumbai: India has deferred by 15 years its target to build 40,000MW of nuclear power capacity amid policy delays, an official at a state-owned utility said.
The country may reach the target by 2035, not 2020, said Shreyans Kumar Jain, chairman of Nuclear Power Corp. of India Ltd. The government monopoly generates 4,120MW.
The delay will curb at least $14 billion (Rs65,380 crore) of orders for equipment from suppliers including Russia’s Rosatom Corp., Areva SA, Westinghouse Electric Co. and GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy, and hamper India’s plans to raise nuclear generation almost 10 times to end blackouts.
Dealing with emissions and ending blackouts is going to depend on the government’s ability to actually implement things across the board, said Shebonti Ray Dadwal, a researcher on energy security at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses in New Delhi.
Projects have been held up by difficulties in acquiring land and mining permits, Jain said.
Delays in legislation that would limit US companies’ liability in reaching a nuclear fuel-reprocessing agreement have also kept a US-India civil nuclear pact signed last year from being implemented.
India has pledged to nearly double generation capacity in the next seven years to bridge shortfalls. It also announced ahead of global climate talks in Copenhagen this month that it would voluntarily reduce its carbon emission intensity by as much as 25% from 2005 to 2020.
Nuclear power makes up 2% of the country’s current capacity. During peak hours, power supply in the world’s second-fastest growing major economy falls as much as 13%, the government has said.
One unit, or kilowatt-hour, is the electricity consumed by a 100-watt light bulb if it burns for 10 hours.