India Plans Fleet of 17 Additional Nuclear Reactors

India is aiming to build a fleet of future nuclear power plant projects in order to reduce costs and construction times, according to Kamlesh Vyas, chairman of the country’s Department of Atomic Energy (DAE). Kamlesh said 17 nuclear power reactors are planned in addition to those already under construction.

Vyas noted the overall contribution of India’s 22 operating reactors to the country’s electrical grid is relatively small, at about 3%. This, he said, is due to the smaller capacity indigenously designed reactors built initially to gain experience in nuclear technology.

The Indian government is committed to growing its nuclear power capacity as part of its infrastructure development programme, and has seven units currently under construction. These are: four indigenously designed pressurised heavy water reactors (PWRs), two each at Kakrapar and Rajasthan; two Russian-designed VVER PWRs at Kudankulam; and an indigenously designed prototype fast breeder reactor at Kalpakkam.

India plans to build 21 new nuclear power reactors – including 10 indigenously designed pressurised heavy water reactors (PHWRs) – with a combined generating capacity of 15,700 MWe into operation by 2031, the DAE announced in January.

In 2018, India announced plans for a tenfold increase in uranium production over the next 15 years.

The expansion is planned in three phases, with the first expected to increase uranium production to 3.5 times existing levels by the “12th year”. Completion of projects in the second phase is expected to achieve a sevenfold expansion over current production, with the third phase of projects leading to a tenfold increase over current levels by 2031-32.

According to the 2016 edition of the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency and International Atomic Energy Agency joint report on uranium resources, production and demand (the ‘Red Book’), India’s known conventional uranium resources – reasonably assured resources and inferred – were estimated to be 181 606 tU as of January 2015. India produced 385 tons of Uranium in 2015. The AMD claimed to have established domestic uranium resources of 232,315 tU as of November last year.

Belgium May Not Phase Keep Nuclear Beyond 2025

Support by the Belgian public for keeping the country’s nuclear power plants in operation beyond 2025 has risen to 46% of those surveyed, up from 30% recorded in a 2017 poll. Seven nuclear reactors – four at Doel and three at Tihange – generate around half of Belgium’s electricity, but government policy currently envisages phasing out nuclear by 2025.

SOURCES – World Nuclear News
Written By Brian Wang,

34 thoughts on “India Plans Fleet of 17 Additional Nuclear Reactors”

  1. I don’t drink blended kale. I prefer a beer. And I eat bread. As for the compromise PWR were seen originally to be cheaper but not after the addition of safety features to try and keep them from melting down. I was a physics major and I have worked with two nuclear engineers. Both of which spent years working on nuclear power plants. One of whom worked on a nuclear submarine. I have had detail conversation with them on nuclear power. The really good stuff don’t always make the press.

  2. Actually, taking a moment to think about, it I realized that all of these low pressure designs such as sodium cooled or Moltex MUST vent the fuel rod or else it will creep and balloon and fail and let the gas out anyway. The creep is typically inward in LWR fuel until the fuel gets old and gas pressure in rod comes to exceed the RCS pressure…all this at 350C. So, burp the containment? Nah. That is nonstarter. you simply have to manage the atmosphere with inerting and take the offgas to holdup… you never hear them talk about this with sodium-cooled, but I know the rods are vented in some if not all concepts. If I dug through the prism safety report I could probably find that prism fuel is vented

  3. “The premise of my position against this “diving bell” concept (quite novel) is my assertion that not only noble gasses leave the fuel rod – if that is true (metals and other FP exit the fuel rod) then your containment will become an unservicable high rad area.”

    What my instincts tell me as well. Moltex needs to demonstrate that only the Noble gases vent and that everything else stays in the diving bell. Basically 100.0% of their design and success depend on this assertion.

    Shouldn’t be too difficult. Make a sample salt, put Cs, Sr, etc in to it and bake it for oh a year in a batch of clean coolant salt. After the year check the coolant salt which should be free of everything (but probably won’t be).

  4. Here’s Moltex’s calculation of which gases are evolved from the fuel salt at 1000 C, and which are still gas at 600 C, the temperature of the top third of the tube ( same as of the coolant salt ) and of the diving bell.) They claim only krypton, xenon, and zirconium chloride, plus cadmium, will be emitted at the same rate as they’re formed; most of the short half-life isotopes will be held up long enough to transmute. Xenon and krypton are swept up by the cover gas, and there’s activated zirconium chloride in the coolant, and in the cover gas, anyway. Scale is logarithmic, and the elements that make it out through the diving bell are not very toxic. Indium iodide at 1.E-04 or -05 per thousand moles fuel salt, though a lot of that will have a 15 million year half life, rather than eight days. Cadmium fission yield is only 0.0003%, and it’s a neutron poison, but it’s still one of the top four to make it out of the fuel tube.I thought if they change temperature much during operation it could pump radioisotopes out, but the coolant temperature should stay fairly constant, since they only indirectly heat the steam generators, through stored nitrate salt. There’s a more detailed coverage somewhere, but I think you have to watch a whole video to see it.

  5. Thank you for demonstrating hubris Mark. The most stupid person involved in these decisions that you attribute to ‘children at play’ was better qualified than you regarding the subject. PWRs are very sensible if you know the science [well] and are aware of the various compromises and why they were made… Your comments offend me as I’m sure you’d be offended if I questioned the health benefits people like you claim to obtain from drinking blended kale (paper straw) and abstaining from wheat protein.

  6. Sure we can do it. Sure India can do it. Sure France does it and so did/does Japan, but that is more for security of supply in my opinion. The MOX fuel is not cheaper than clean fuel. They don’t need the MOX; it is more costly, but they feel it has value the way a doomsday prepper keeps pails of rice and water in the hideout and imagines it will be worth more than gold when things go to pot.

  7. The reprocessing is a difficulty due to the radioactive nature of the waste but Great Britain and France reprocess their reactor waste so it is doable. But I would insist that this be part of whatever R&D is done to develop LTR.

  8. Engineers suffer from the sin of hubris. No one with any common sense would have built PWRs. And of course there was politics and commercial interest at play. We built reactors and didn’t even build the place to store the radioactive waste. Children at play, or rather stupid children at play.

  9. There’s a breakdown of which gases Moltex claim will leave the fuel salt at 1000 C, and which will plate out in the top of the tube at 600 C, the temperature of the coolant salt. I’ve read a more detailed treatment of this somewhere but couldn’t track it down. The theory is that gases are evolved slowly enough that most of the short half-life ones will transmute and plate out on the tube wall. Zirconium chloride won’t, but there’s activated zirconium in the coolant salt anyway. I’m not totally convinced by this – as someone else on the thread said, temperature changes during operation might pump the gases out of the hold-up spaces faster than expected.

  10. I think it depends on how much hydroelectric power you have. Hydroelectric can be very cheap too. And done right is very safe…unless there is a military attack where it can become a target, or you experience very strong earthquakes in the area. If you can go 100% Hydro, that is fine. Most countries can’t. The rest you can make up with nuclear. Though I certainly would not tear down any windmills or solar farms. And I still think solar makes sense for many individuals and companies. If you are building a big box store, it makes sense to put in skylights and a big solar array on the roof rather than paying the commercial rates for electricity.

  11. Super interesting read. Thank you. My takeaway is that money is lost with certainty when nuke plants are built – the trick is to push it to the ratepayers in a regulated market. Thanks!

  12. Thanks for the question and the reference. My personal opinion is that vented fuel pins are bad, as the vent defeats the design function of the cladding. I see how it is likely that only noble gasses would escape from a vent in the upper plenum of the fuel rod. Vented fuel rods were used on Na cooled breeder reactors too; I can’t remember which – maybe all of them – certainly TerraPower TWR proposes vented fuel rods.

    Rod internal pressure is actually necessary in LWR because the cladding creeps down onto the pellet over time at high pressure and temperature…

    The premise of my position against this “diving bell” concept (quite novel) is my assertion that not only noble gasses leave the fuel rod – if that is true (metals and other FP exit the fuel rod) then your containment will become an unservicable high rad area.

    There is solid engineering thought behind this diving bell concept. I’m not sure we should use containment as a hold-up volume – seems unwise. BWR don’t release gas unless fuel is damaged and they have large charcoal beds and holdup volumes – most of the throughput is condenser in-leakage air. The air ejectors on the condenser exit to an offgas system of big scrubbers and holdup volumes.

  13. I see your point. Dresden likely cost a lot more than reported.

    We do need to reduce the complexity of LWRs. An example of area of improvement could be redesign of the BWR control rod actuators – which are so complex that they occupy two halls in rooms adjacent to the reactor. Check out the sketches starting on page 24 of:

    This is a 60-year old piece of hydraulic claptrap that needs to go solid state. Might have to retain the hydraulic scram. Did you know that BWR control rods scram by opening a valve which vents reactor coolant into a surge volume? Upon scram, 185 control rods (typical) insert under motivation from a leak from the RCS (1000 psia) to a tank at atmospheric pressure – 185 little LOCAs.

    Look at all this plumbing:

    That image captures about 1/16 of the hydraulic actuators at a typical station.

  14. I think 75-90% base load nuke is the way to go; this is my personal opinion based on my environmental concerns.

  15. I was mentioning Oklo as one of 3 examples of “dirt cheap”; you may have been confused by my poor choice of the word “either” to describe 3 items.

  16. Again, separating tens of grams of T from hundreds of tons of D2O coolant is not possible, let alone practical, and it is NOT how tritium is obtained. It is obtained by irradiating lithium in tubes – using the concept of cladding to retain the product – hmmm. Recurring theme.

  17. Per typical CANDU produces (after math) ~65g/year of T in 309,100 kg of D2O. So, I will slightly backtrack what I wrote several weeks ago about T not being made readily from D: If you consider 0.2gT/ton-coolant/year to be a lot, then ok. Evidently it is well held-up, since Ref. 1 shows 4-unit Darlington releases about 0.9gT/year. T would build-up to several multiples of 0.2gT/ton with 12-yr half-life (let’s say 5×0.2 = 1ppm). D occurs at 200,000 ppm (i.e. mg/kg) in D2O, so there is 1 T out of 150,000 D atom-wise in CANDU with the estimated 1 ppm T. This ratio is much smaller than natural 150 ppm D in H (1D/6600H). So, shining neutrons through D is a lousy way to produce a little T.

    Good link for T production in PWR:

    Russian PWR fuel assembly architecture choice, being a triangular pitch, is theoretically more economical, as you say. We buy their enrichment services; only VVER purchase their fuel and non-Russ vendors make VVER fuel.

    Pretty sure the cost of D2O is well offset by the fact that natural UO2 in simple assemblies of tubes with stamped spacers can be used to 5-7GWd/T. Uranium might be $100/kg – that is like $2.42/MW-hr(e) in uranium vs. like $6/MW-hr(e) in uranium, conversion, enrichment for LWR. If cost wasn’t well offset, then why would those who know use it?

  18. Doesn’t the “diving bell” approach used by moltex energy deal with this problem by holding up the off-gas fission products long enough for them to largely decay (and also get some absorption into the coolant salt that they bubble through)? They copied the design from the Dounreay Fast Reactor, but that reactor used metal fuel and had no way of keeping the ceasium gas fission product in the fuel tubes.

    “3.4.Off gassing is passive
    Because caesium and iodine gas are not emitted in significant quantities, non-return gas release vents can be used at the top of the fuel assemblies, so no pressure build up occurs in the fuel tube. The gases collect first in the upper plenum of the fuel tubes, then in the reactor gas containment and are only released to atmosphere in a controlled manner through operation of the containment airlocks. This mechanism ensures that highly radioactive decay products of xenon are retained in the fuel tubes and not released to atmosphere.”

  19. Logically the public should not be as afraid of nuclear as they are, regulations would be lighter like they where back in the 60s, and nuclear plants would not have to be massive to try and reduce the cost per kilowatt hour of all the (unessesary) safety gear via economies of scale (the bigger the plant the smaller the per kilowatt hour cost of the safety systems). Then we would not be in the situation of building massive one off cathederals in fields that always seem to go over time and budget.

    Unfortunately I don’t think this fear will be easy to dispel:

    “Despite its demonstrable safety, nuclear power presses several psychological buttons. First, people estimate risk according to how readily anecdotes like well-publicized nuclear accidents pop into mind. Second, the thought of radiation activates the mind-set of disgust, in which any trace of contaminant fouls whatever it contacts, despite the reality that we all live in a soup of natural radiation. Third, people feel better about eliminating a single tiny risk entirely than minimizing risk from all hazards combined. For all these reasons, nuclear power is dreaded while fossil fuels are tolerated, just as flying is scary even though driving is more dangerous.”

    A molten salt reactors real advantage is that it cannot melt down, and cannot be used as effectively to scare the public by groups like greenpeace.

  20. The value of tritium is not equal its dollar value. Its dollar value is irrelevant. Its value is in fusion boosting of fission primaries in nuclear weapons. If tritium is abundant, it can also be used in Gen3 type nuclear weapons.

  21. Deuterium is mostly a one off cost, and doesn’t produce that much tritium – it’s trivial compared to income from power supply. Medical isotopes are probably not worth the bother either – easier to use a dedicated small reactor. The Indians can build their heavy water reactors for much less per MW than they can buy Russian PWRs. They’ll have to up their build rate, though.

  22. With so much deuterium in reactors, I wonder what they are going to do with all that tritium. It is the little overlooked byproducts that are most interesting in such stories, not making steam and spinning turbines. The fuel economy of Russian reactors, which they already have, along with the usual fuel contracts, is much better due to Russian enrichment and fuel tech. Deuterium in tonnage is quite costly. A zoo of operating reactor designs is also quite costly. Their true motive is obviously not the lowest cents per kilowatt, as one would expect.

  23. As long as catastrophic failure remains a possibility and the consequences remain high, continued fears will persist.
    Nuclear & possibly fusion faces a bleak future in high cost locales unless something changes.
    U.S. Energy Information Administration
    Levelized Cost and Levelized Avoided Cost of New Generation Resources in the Annual Energy Outlook 2019

    Table B1b: Estimated levelized cost of electricity (unweighted average) for new generation resources entering service in 2040 (2018 $/MWh)

    Total system LCOE

    Advanced CC with CCS: 73.8

    Advanced nuclear: 73.5

    Solar PV: 52.7

    CCS=carbon capture and sequestration. CC=combined-cycle (natural gas)

    Table 1b. Estimated levelized cost of electricity (unweighted average) for new generationresources entering service in 2023 (2018 $/MWh)

    Total system LCOE

    Advanced CC with CCS: 67.5

    Advanced nuclear: 77.5

    Solar PV: 60

    Advanced CC : 41.2

  24. Why don’t someone design a dirt cheap nuclear reactor. MSR using physic to keep it from melting down. Keep the expensive alloys to a minimum. Just a container with a heat exchanger.

  25. I thought India was developing Thorium powered nuclear reactors because it had plenty of Thorium but didn’t have a lot of Uranium.

  26. For all you who wonder: 1) Why not thorium? 2) Why not MSR?

    1) Good question. They must not want to reprocess fuel, although they know how to do it. I doubt they are buckling under foreign pressure; I’m pretty sure they just don’t want the cost and difficulty at this time. Perhaps they simply want to get the lights on. Fissile material is fungible, 233U later if needed!

    2) Because water-cooled reactors ABSOLUTELY CAN be built economically. The fuel is cheap (particularly CANDU), the designs are safe and proven. The only examples of catastrophic failure involve grave malpractice or acts of God combined with malpractice (quake-tsunami and lack of preparation for such).

    The dangers and expense of high pressure are the most publicized ‘flaws’, yet there are plants that were built for under $1B 2018 dollars Duke Energy has announced it will seek renewal for 80-years for all of its nuclear reactors

    It’s the people that are expensive. The hordes. Yes, construction costs are sky high – but only in a theater near you! The many people needed to run them are expensive in the west, but is this not the case in the developing world where families are described as upper middle class when the houshold income is $8 – $12k/yr…

    Do it India! If you can design indigenous MIRVs, you can build PHWRs.

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