India to be global tech leader in FBRs: Anil Kakodkar Businesswire India Posted: Wednesday, Aug 19, 2009 at 0931 hrs IST Updated: Wednesday, Aug 19, 2009 at 0931 hrs IST Mumbai: Dr. Anil Kakodkar, Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) and Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), said, in Mumbai that India’s capability to independently design and build thorium-based Fast Breeder Reactors (FBRs) will make the country a global technological leader in this crucial area in the future. In an exclusive interview to a portal dedicated to nuclear commerce and its e-Zine, he said that small sized Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs), which this country is capable of building, have considerable demand in developing nations. The interview, which also appears in the forthcoming issue of Asian Nuclear Energy, a bi-monthly and first of its kind to power nuclear commerce, and published by New Media, India’s largest bilateral trade magazine publishing house, stresses the importance of private sector participation in making this country a global hub for nuclear component industry. A key negotiator of the historic Indo-US civilian nuclear energy agreement, culminating in the lifting of the 34-year-long ban on India by the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group, Dr. Kakodkar said, “The Immediate benefit of the international civil nuclear commerce with other countries will be an additionality of installed nuclear power capacity (40,000 MWe by 2020) over and above that to be achieved through the indigenous three-stage programme.” India’s three-stage nuclear energy programme comprises building uranium-fuelled Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs), development of Fast Breeder Reactor (FBRs) and an advanced nuclear power system based on Thorium-Uranium-fuelled reactors. Kakodkar said, “With nuclear energy likely to become centre stage, FBRs are expected to be in considerable demand in future. With India having taken the lead in this crucial area, we could very well be the technological leaders worldwide.” He said the same thing could happen in the context of thorium systems a little later. “Thorium based reactor technology forms the third stage of the three-stage Indian Nuclear Power Programme. It is envisaged that reactors based on thorium will become commercial not only for electricity generation but also for providing high temperature process heat for industries and hydrogen as a clean fuel as substitute for the petroleum based fuels,” Dr. Kakodkar added. Taking into consideration the vast thorium resources in the country, it will provide energy for several centuries,” he said. “On a short-term basis the small size Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs) have a potential to be supplied to some developing countries, Kakodkar said. On scaling up of India’s installed nuclear power generation capacity by nearly five times to 20,000 MWe by 2020 from the present 4,120 MWe, Dr. Kakodkar said that this target “is likely to be revised upwards.” About the funds required for meeting the 20,000 MWe target, he said, the state-owned Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) could manage about 10,000 MWe through its own financial resources. Atomic Energy Act in its current form does allow investment by private sector up to the extent of 49 per cent, Dr. Kakodkar added. While the Atomic Energy Act stipulates that nuclear power generation to be done by a government company, holding at least 51 per cent equity, the private sector could, however, carry out manufacturing of nuclear equipment and other supply chain activities including construction, Dr. Kakodkar said. He stressed that Indian companies must maintain their technological competence and ability to tap emerging markets. “In so doing they should not allow themselves to be subjected to extraterritorial application of foreign laws that restrict their participation in the domestic development of India’s three-stage nuclear power programme which is the key to opening up of very large potential of nuclear power,” Dr. Kakodkar cautioned. DAE would continue its engagement with the Indian industry in this regard, he added.