Singh’s prediction of a future Indian reactor fleet bigger than the current global total came at the opening of the International Conference on Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy in New Delhi today.
India is pursuing a three-stage closed nuclear fuel cycle. The first stage is based on pressurized heavy-water reactors using natural uranium and producing plutonium; the second on fast-neutron reactors using plutonium and breeding uranium-233 from thorium; the third sees more heavy-water reactors fuelled by uranium-233.
Although companies have submitted 18 new nuclear power plant license applications to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Department of Energy only has authority for $18.5 billion, enough for four to five plants.
“If you really want to restart the American nuclear energy industry in a serious way…we (need to) send signals to the industry that the U.S. is serious about investing in nuclear power plants,” Chu said in an interview on the sidelines of a conference here.