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13th October 2023 (11 Topics)

Going Nuclear

Context:

Emerging economies like India needs a swift nuclear energy expansion for substantial climate action, given their projected energy consumption growth.

Need for Nuclear Energy in India's Economic Growth

  • Economic Growth and Energy Demand: India's rapid economic expansion necessitates increased energy consumption, driving the demand for sustainable sources, particularly nuclear energy.
  • Fossil Fuel Dependency: India's heavy reliance on fossil fuels exacerbates global warming, necessitating deep emission cuts and a transition towards net-zero emissions.
  • Challenges: Meeting both developmental goals and net-zero emissions proves a complex challenge, requiring a significant upscaling of energy production.

Nuclear Energy as a Vital Component

  • Striving for Human Development Index (HDI): Attaining a high HDI necessitates per capita energy consumption, warranting a substantial increase in clean energy production.
  • Limitations of Renewable Energy Sources: Even with considerable investment in renewables, India's energy requirements far exceed what renewables alone can provide.
  • The Imperative of Nuclear Energy: Rapid expansion of nuclear energy emerges as a crucial solution, offering a cleaner and more efficient means to meet escalating demands.

National Strategy for Nuclear Energy Expansion

  • Leveraging Indigenous 700 MWe PHWR Units: Expanding the fleet of indigenously developed PHWR units serves as the cornerstone for bolstering base load electrical capacity.
  • Indigenous SMRs and Repurposing Coal Plant Sites: Developing Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) at retiring coal plant sites ensures cost-effective electricity production and promotes indigenous technology.
  • Captive Units for Energy-Intensive Industries and Hydrogen Production: A Utilizing 220 MWe PHWR unit as partially owned captive units caters to industries and accelerates direct hydrogen production with a high-temperature reactor.
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