Nuclear will account for 6% of India’s energy mix by 2030: Saraswat

Twesh Mishra New Delhi | Updated on May 07, 2018

VK Saraswat, NITI Aayog member

India is far ahead in terms of potential nuclear power generation facilities, according to NITI Aayog member VK Saraswat.

“Today, nuclear power is about 3 per cent of the overall energy mix. I think we will be close to 5-6 per cent by 2030. India has the largest number of nuclear power plants either under construction or being planned. No other country is manufacturing so many nuclear power plants,” he said.

Saraswat added that the sector will see stiff competition between American and Russian companies wanting to build the nuclear reactors. While the US side suffered a setback with Westinghouse facing bankruptcy, “the main support which was available was the Russian route”, he said.

“If Westinghouse starts coming in, I think we will do 6-7 of the 14 reactors with them. This way we will have two sources to help us,” Saraswat added.

In response to a query on French interest in building nuclear power projects, he said: “Initially it was on, but we had an issue of liability clause with France that was not resolved in the last visit. Some insurance issue is still pending. But I think they are coming around.”

But this does not mean the French will be given the same offer as the Americans, he said. “We are very choosy on the technology and will go by who wants to have a long-term association with us.”

Will lowering government intervention and making nuclear deals more commercial make it more viable? Saraswat believes the question should not arise, as the nuclear deals are already commercially sound.

“Except with Russia, where it is government-to-government, all the deals like the ones with the US are between companies. From the Indian side it is Nuclear Power Corporation of India. Even in the Russian deal, although the agreement is signed between the two countries, the detailed contract is signed between NPCIL and the Russian company,” he added.

Published on May 07, 2018

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