Should India Go Nuclear?

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India go Nuclear
Should India Go Nuclear for Energy Solution
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Nuclear power plants perhaps can provide solutions to India’s horrible power shortages and outages too. With the US assistance envisaged in recent Indo-US joint statement India plans to take its nuclear power generation capability closer to the goal of 20,000 MW by 2020. The high cost of nuclear power may be one deterrent for its choice or preference. In 80s and 90s many nuclear power projects even in US got cancelled or deferred because of the financial realities rather than environmentalists’ protests. However, many things have changed over the last two decades. With design standardization and modular assembly of reactors, construction periods have shrunk and might shrink further with further improvements through new researches in technologies and management practices. Nuclear plants still involve high capital investment, at 60 per cent of the total plant cost. However, the oil crisis is forcing all the developed countries to revisit the nuclear technology and through researches such as fusion power and breeder reactors. A new pragmatic approach for the over all cost is making nuclear power a viable alternative with low interest rates and high oil prices more due to uncertainty of political chaos. A steady improvement in capacity factors is also reducing per unit cost of energy. The basic recurring cost of fuels and its impending price escalation and availability tilt the preference for nuclear plants as a serious contender. A nuclear plant may be having better viability with respect to coal -based plant, if it located at more than 1,000-1,200 km away from coal deposits. It is surprising and many may not be knowing that despite substantive coal reserves (though of low quality coal), India today imports nearly 10 million tonnes of coal annually and this figure could increase eightfold by 2012! Coal can’t remain the source of energy for a long time in India. However, coal still serves as a...
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