Nuclear Power In India - History, Scope and Advantages

Nuclear Power In India - History, Scope and Advantages

Q. Write a short note on nuclear history of India. Critically examine scope of nuclear power in India. Also, describe the advantages of Nuclear Power to a country like India.

- Nuclear program started in 1944 when Homi J. Bhabha founded the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research.

- On Nehru's initiative, India passed Atomic Energy Act of 1948 focused on peaceful development of nuclear technology.

- 1954: Establishment of DAE with first secretary Homi Bhabha

- In 1954, India reached a verbal understanding with the United States and Canada under the Atoms for Peace program by which US and Canada co-operated with India for establishment of CIRUS reactor.

- In 1955 construction began on India's first reactor, the 1 MW Apsara research reactor, with British assistance.

- The Atomic Energy Establishment, Trombay was formally inaugurated by PM Nehru on 20 January 1957. It acquired its present name Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) on 12 January 1967.

- In 1968 NPT was opened for signature but India refused to sign it.

- Under the rule of Indira Gandhi nuclear test was conducted at Pokhran in Rajsthan which is called as smiling Buddha on 18 May 1974.

- The instant international reaction resulted in formation {{Nuclear supplier group to check international nuclear proliferation by controlling the export and re-transfer of materials that may be applicable to nuclear weapon development and by improving safeguards and protection on existing materials.}} India is not a member of NSG till now.

- In 1986, India joined the Five-Continent Six-Nation Initiative for Nuclear Disarmament and in 1988 put forward the Rajiv Gandhi Plan for the elimination of nuclear weapons in the UN.

- Though first nuclear test was conducted in 1974 delivery system was developed during in 1986.

- Second nuclear test was conducted again in Pokhran in May 1998. It was known as operation Shakti.

- Sharp international reaction resulted in economic sanctions by US and Japan. While Pakistan carried out nuclear testing under the codename Chagai-I on 28 May 1998 and Chagai-II on 30 May 1998

- India adopted a "no first use policy" after its nuclear tests in 1998.NFU helped India get civil nuclear technology, despite being a non-member of NSG and non-signatory of NTPT.

- India signed a framework for civil nuclear cooperation agreement with US in 2005 but it is still in progress.

- France was the first country on 30 September 2008 after the complete waiver provided by the NSG to sign the civil nuclear deal in 2008 followed by eight other countries. These are Russia, Mongolia, Namibia, Argentina, UK, Canada, Kazakhstan and South Korea that promised to supply fissile material / technology / both.

- India signed a civil nuclear cooperation agreement with Australia in 2014 as negotiations on the deal since 2012, when Australia reversed its policy on nuclear sales to India. The policy was based on India’s refusal to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation

- Australia is the third largest producer of uranium in the world. The agreement allows supply of uranium for peaceful generation of power for civil use in India

Critically examine scope of nuclear power in India

- Fourth-largest source of electricity in India after thermal, hydroelectric and renewable sources of electricity.

- It has 22 nuclear reactors operating in 7 nuclear power plants and plans to build some 40 more in the next two decades.

- An ambitious plan to reach a nuclear power capacity of 63,000 MW in 2032

- Energy-hungry India plans to generate 63,000 MW of nuclear power by 2032 - an almost 14-fold increase on current levels.

- French-backed 9900 MW Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project in Maharashtra by French company Areva

- Russian-backed 2000 MW Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant in Tamil Nadu. The state government of West Bengal state has also refused permission to a proposed 6000 MW facility near the town of Haripur that intended to host six Russian reactors

- India's domestic uranium reserves are small and the country is dependent on uranium imports to fuel its nuclear power industry.

- Recently Large deposits of natural uranium, which promises to be one of the top 20 of the world's reserves, have been found in the Tummalapalle belt in the southern part of the Kadapa basin in Andhra Pradesh in March 2011.\

- India is believed to possess about 25% of the world's thorium reserves.

Nuclear plants in India

Currently in operation

- Kaiga –Karnataka
- Kakrapar – Gujarat
- Kalpakam– Tamil Nadu - India's first fully indigenously constructed nuclear power station
- Narora – Uttar Pradesh
- Rawatbhata – Rajsthan
- Tarapur – Maharashtra - largest nuclear power station in India.
- Kudankulam – Tamil Nadu

Planned projects

- Gorkhpur – Haryana
- Chutka – Madhya Pradesh
- Mahi Banswara – Rajasthan
- Jaitapur - Maharashtra - If built, it would be the largest nuclear power generating station in the world
- Kudankulam – Tamil Nadu
- Kovvada
- Mithi Virdi (Viradi) – Gujarat
- Kaiga -Karnataka

Advantages of nuclear power


1. Lower green house emission -Emission-free energy as it produces less green house gases so preserve the Earth's climate

2. No air pollution- As it do not emit carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, or nitrogen oxides as part of the power generation process.

3. It avoid ground-level ozone formation and prevent acid rain.

4. Throughout the nuclear fuel cycle, the small volume of waste byproducts actually created is carefully contained, packaged and safely stored.

5. Water discharged from a nuclear power plant contains no harmful pollutants and meets regulatory standards for temperature designed to protect aquatic life.

6. Nuclear energy does not depends on natural aspects which is main disadvantage of renewable energy.


7. Require a relatively small area produce a large amount of electricity in a relatively small space

8. Low-cost, predictable power at stable prices

9. Contribute to national energy security and ensure stable nationwide electricity supply.

10. Nuclear energy is not subject to unreliable weather or climate conditions, unpredictable cost fluctuations, or dependence on foreign suppliers.

11. Nuclear power plants are designed to operate continuously for long periods of time. They can run about 540 days before they are shut down for refueling.

12. The costs involved in producing electricity at a nuclear power plant, operations and maintenance plus fuel, have been declining over the past decade.

Fossil fuels are consumed faster than they are produced but this is not case with nuclear elements.
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