India's nuclear power sector is saving 41 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually, compared to emissions that would have been generated by equivalent electricity generation from coal-based thermal power plants, Union Minister Jitendra Singh informed Lok Sabha on March 15.
In a written reply, Mr. Singh said as part of low carbon development of electricity systems consistent with enhanced development benefits, the government was exploring a significantly greater role for nuclear power.
Nuclear power currently comprises 3% of India's total electricity generation, Mr. Singh said, adding that sufficient production and share of atomic energy was essential for ensuring the country's energy security.
Current policy targets a three-fold rise in nuclear-installed capacity by 2032, said Mr. Singh, who is in charge of the Department of Atomic Energy.
He said nuclear energy can be considered for delivering base load power free of intermittency in place of energy from fossil fuels.
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Mr. Singh said the present installed nuclear power capacity is set to increase from 6,780 MW to 22,480 MW by 2031 on progressive completion of projects under construction and accorded sanction.
He added that in the next three years, capacity addition of 5,300 MW is planned on completion of two 700 MW units each at Kakrapar Atomic Power Station and Rajasthan Atomic Power Project respectively, two 1,000 MW power plants at the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project and one 500 MW Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor at Kalpakkam.
In reply to a separate question, Mr. Singh said at present, out of the total installed capacity of 6,780 MW, Rajasthan Atomic Power Station-1 (100 MW) is under extended shutdown and Tarapur Atomic Power Station 1&2 (2X160 MW), Madras Atomic Power Station-1 (220 MW) and Rajasthan Atomic Power Station-3 (220 MW) are under project mode for taking up various upgrades/renovation and modernisation activities.
The remaining 5,920 MW is being operated at its rated capacity, the minister said.