Over 9 GW of nuclear power capacity in works
- December 8, 2022
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
Over 9 GW of nuclear power capacity in works
Subject : Science and technology
Context :India will add a total of 9.4 gigawatts (GW) of nuclear power capacity in the coming areas over the present installed capacity of around 6.7 GW with projects of 8.7 GW under construction and another 700 megawatts (MW) to come later, Parliament was informed on Wednesday.
- The present installed nuclear power capacity comprises 22 reactors with a total capacity of 6,780 MW.
About Nuclear Energy
- Nuclear energy is the energy in the nucleus, or core, of an atom. Atoms are tiny units that make up all matter in the universe, and energy is what holds the nucleus together.
- There is a huge amount of energy in an atom’s dense nucleus. In fact, the power that holds the nucleus together is officially called the “strong force.”
- Nuclear energy can be used to create electricity, but it must first be released from the atom. In the process of nuclear fission, atoms are split to release that energy.
Worldwide Nuclear Energy Production
- Approximately 10% of the world’s electricity is produced using nuclear energy.
- Worldwide, nuclear power plants are operational in around 30 countries.
- In France, approximately 75% of the electricity is produced by Nuclear energy.
- A total of around 450 nuclear reactors are operating worldwide for generating electricity.
Nuclear Energy in India
- India’s nuclear programme can trace its origins to 1944 and its efforts in 3 stage technology were established by Homi Jehangir Bhabha when he founded the nuclear research centre, the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research.
- Today, India has 23 nuclear reactors in operation in 7 nuclear power plants, with a total installed capacity of 7,480 MW.
- Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant is the largest nuclear power station in India, situated in Tamil Nadu.
India’s Nuclear Programme:
- The Indian nuclear power programme, launched in 1954, envisaged a three-stage development of nuclear power generation from the country’s uranium and thorium resources.
- Stage one – Pressurised Heavy Water Reactor uses
- Natural UO2 as fuel matrix,
- Heavy water as moderator and coolant.
- In the reactor, the first two plants were boiling water reactors based on imported technology. Subsequent plants are of PHWR type through indigenous R&D efforts. India achieved complete self- reliance in this technology and this stage of the programme is in the industrial domain.
- The future plan includes the setting up of VVER typee.Russian version of the Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR) is under progress to augment power generation.
- MOX fuel (Mixed oxide) is developed and introduced at Tarapur to conserve fuel and to develop new fuel technology.
- Second stage of nuclear power generation envisages the use of Pu-239 obtained from the first stage reactor operation, as the fuel core in fast breeder reactors (FBR).
- Third phase of India’s Nuclear Power Generation programme is, breeder reactors using U-233 fuel.
- India’s vast thorium deposits permit design and operation of U-233 fuelled breeder reactors.
Types of Nuclear Reactors
Pressurized Heavy Water Reactor
- PHWR is a nuclear power reactor, commonly using unenriched natural uranium as its fuel. It uses heavy water (Deuterium oxide D2O) as its coolant and moderator.
- The heavy water coolant is kept under pressure, allowing it to be heated to higher temperatures without boiling, much as in a typical pressurized water reactor.
- While heavy water is significantly more expensive than ordinary light water, it yields greatly enhanced neutron economy, allowing the reactor to operate without fuel enrichment facilities.
Light Water Reactor
- The light water reactor is a type of thermal- neutron reactor that utilizes normal water as opposed to heavy water.
- It is fuelled by Low Enriched Uranium.
- It uses water as both a coolant method and a neutron moderator. It produces heat by controlled nuclear fission.
Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor
- A breeder reactor is a nuclear reactor that generates more fissile material than it consumes. These are designed to extend the nuclear fuel supply for electric power generation.
- Breeder reactors achieve this because their neutron economy is high enough to create more fissile fuel than they use, by irradiation of a fertile material, such as Uranium-238 or Thorium-232 that is loaded into the reactor along with fissile fuel.
- PFBR is a 500 MWe fast breeder nuclear reactor presently being constructed at the Madras Atomic Power Station in Kalpakkam (Tamil Nadu).It is fuelled by Mixed Oxide (MOX) Fuel.
Nuclear Reactors in India
The list of the locations of the installed nuclear reactors in India is given below:
- Rajasthan (Rawatbhata)
- Tamil Nadu (Kudankulam; Kalpakkam)
- Gujarat (Kakrapar)
- Uttar Pradesh (Narora)
- Karnataka (Kaiga)
- Maharashtra (Tarapur)
There are about five other projects under construction.