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Indian nuclear industry growing fast, says former Atomic Energy Commission chief

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Mysuru: Indian nuclear industry had come of age and was capable of growing fast, said former Atomic Energy Commission chairman Srikumar Banerjee.

“The stumbling block is economics, as installing a nuclear plant has to be affordable to sell its power at a competitive rate,” Banerjee said at the 103rd Indian Science Congress.

In spite of hype over the India-US nuclear deal and opening up of the civilian nuclear industry to foreign suppliers, barring two recent agreements on setting up two more units at the Russian-backed Kudankulam plant in Tamil Nadu and the French-backed Jatipur project in Maharashtra, not much headway has been made over the years.

As setting up nuclear power plants involves not only technology transfer and making components in the country, but also operating them by the state-run Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL), a consensus has been eluding stakeholders owing to high cost and liability clause.

“If suppliers agree to shift production to India through joint ventures with private firms, its cost can be reduced to make and sell nuclear power viable,” Banerjee said on the margins of a plenary session on ‘Atomic Energy’ on the third day of the five-day annual science fair in the Mansagangothri campus of University of Mysore.

Asserting that nuclear plants could be set up by resolving contentious issues, the nuclear scientist said it was important to assess the commercial viability of nuclear reactors to be set up with the help of international suppliers of technology and products.

“If nuclear suppliers could shift equipment making activity to our country in a big way, then production cost will reduce substantially,” he said.

He further said production had to be on convoy mode to meet the growing demand for cleaner, safer and cost-effective energy.

“The government has set a target of 60 giga watt (60,000 mega watt) from nuclear plants by 2032 as against the present 5,780 mega watt by various types of reactors though it (target) will meet about 10 percent of the energy need, which will be about 600 giga watt as against the present 250 giga watt,” Banerjee said.

Clarifying that sourcing fuel (uranium) was not an issue as it could be imported and supplemented with domestic production, the expert said enrichment plants have to set up at light water reactors to process the spent fuel for recycling it.

“Thorium utilisation depends on how much of it can be converted into Uranium 233 as it is not a fuel. We need to expand the installed capacity to sustain a system,” Banerjee added.

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  • Reality Check

    There are many shortcomings of nuclear power, though none of them are what are commonly perceived: Though nuclear critics constantly wail from an outdated playbook about radiation, nuclear waste, and accidents, the far more realistic problems are financing, regulatory processes, industry-wide deterioration of skills, and transparency. These deficiencies of nuclear power will become a millstone around India’s neck if not addressed soon and adequately. So going green is the best option for india!

  • Limpkisar

    India’s nuclear developments without addressing basic issues is beyond understanding. In 2008, criminal gang was caught attempting to smuggle low-grade uranium, capable of being used in a primitive radiation-dispersal device, from one of India’s state-owned mines across the border to Nepal. The same year another group was caught moving an illicit stock of uranium over the border to Bangladesh, the gang having been assisted by the son of an employee at India’s Atomic Minerals Division, which supervises uranium mining and processing. Why India is so eager to bring another Fukushima like disaster?

  • Reality Check

    There are many shortcomings of nuclear power, though none of them are what are commonly perceived: Though nuclear critics constantly wail from an outdated playbook about radiation, nuclear waste, and accidents, the far more realistic problems are financing, regulatory processes, industry-wide deterioration of skills, and transparency. These deficiencies of nuclear power will become a millstone around India’s neck if not addressed soon and adequately. So going green is the best option for india!

  • Limpkisar

    India’s nuclear developments without addressing basic issues is beyond understanding. In 2008, criminal gang was caught attempting to smuggle low-grade uranium, capable of being used in a primitive radiation-dispersal device, from one of India’s state-owned mines across the border to Nepal. The same year another group was caught moving an illicit stock of uranium over the border to Bangladesh, the gang having been assisted by the son of an employee at India’s Atomic Minerals Division, which supervises uranium mining and processing. Why India is so eager to bring another Fukushima like disaster?

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Submarine INS Kalvari Commissioned by PM Modi : Best Example of Make in India

INS Kalvari is the first of the six Scorpene-class submarines handed over by shipbuilder Mazagon Dock Limited, real boost to Make in India project

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INS Kalvari, Indian Army
INS Kalvari, Indian Navy (Photo: Twitter/Indian Navy)
  • “INS Kalvari is a great example of ‘ Make in India ‘. I would like to congratulate everyone associated with this submarine,” PM Modi said. PM Modi also thanked France for its co-operation

    In Mumbai PM Modi has commissioned scorpene-class submarine INS Kalvari into the Indian Navy. INS Kalvari has been named after the maritime force’s first-ever underwater craft.

The commissioning ceremony was attended by Prime Minster Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba, Maharasahtra Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, other senior Indian Navy officers, and delegates from France.

The Scorpenes are being built by the Mazagaon Dockyard Ltd under Project 75 with transfer of technology from a foreign collaborator — DCNS of France.

INS Kalvari
INS Kalvari is named after the dreaded tiger shark (Photos: Twitter/Indian Navy)

INS Kalvari : Proud Moment for Indian Navy and Entire Country

It is a proud moment for the the entire country as the submarine is a prime example of flagship program of PM Modi government’s ‘ Make in India ‘ project. The special combat features of the Scorpenes include superior stealth and ability to launch crippling attacks with precision-guided weapons. The attacks can easily be carried out with torpedoes while submerged or on the surface, making it a deadly weapon.

Facts about INS Kalvari

  • The submarine has a length of 67.5 metre and a height of about 12.3 metres. The hull form, fin and hydroplanes are specifically designed to produce minimum underwater resistance.
  • The boat has 360 battery cells, each weighing 750 kg, to power the extremely silent Permanently Magnetised Propulsion Motor. The stealth of the boat is further enhanced through the mounting of equipment inside the pressure hull on shock absorbing cradles.
  • This is first of the six Scorpene-class submarines to handed over by MDL. The six submarines are being built as part of the Rs 23,652 crore “Project-75” of the Indian Navy.

“The technology utilised in the Scorpene has ensured superior stealth features such as advanced acoustic silencing techniques, low radiated noise levels, hydro-dynamically optimised shape and the ability to launch a crippling attack on the enemy using precision-guided weapons,” an official of the MDL said.

It is really very positive to see Make in India boosting the defence sector. INS Kalvari will surely add more strength to mighty Indian Navy.

– by Shaurya Ritwik, Shaurya is Sub-Editor at NewsGram and writes on Geo-politcs, Culture, Indology and Business. Twitter Handle – @shauryaritwik