In the biggest push to country’s nuclear power energy, the Union Cabinet on Wednesday gave its approval to build 10 nuclear reactors with total capacity of 7,000 megawatts (MW), more than the country’s entire current capacity.
As of today, India has 22 reactors under operations with the total capacity of 6,780 megawatts (MW) and plans to add another 6,700 MW by 2021-22 through projects currently under construction.
The decision of govt. is also seen as India’s first strategic response to the near collapse of Westinghouse.
Westinghouse, owned by Japan's Toshiba, had been in talks with India to build 6 AP1000 reactors but the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March after revealing billions of dollars in cost overruns at its U.S. projects, which raised doubts about whether it can complete the India deal.
"This project will bring about substantial economies of scale and maximise cost and time efficiencies by adopting fleet mode for execution," the government said in a statement.
"It is expected to generate more than 33,400 jobs in direct and indirect employment. With manufacturing orders to domestic industry, it will be a major step towards strengthening India’s credentials as a major nuclear manufacturing powerhouse."
The move of the centre govt. was also welcomed by Indian companies such as Larsen and Toubro, Kirloskar Brother Limited and Godrej & Boyce.
"Nuclear power plants will go a long way in reducing the perennial energy deficit," Sanjay Kirloskar, chairman of Kirloskar Brother Limited, told Reuters.
The 10 reactors would be the latest design of India's Pressurised Heavy Water Reactor (PHWR).