India will have nine nuclear power plants in operation by 2024, compared with seven operational ones in 2021, as reported by Economic Times on December 2 citing Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Jitendra Singh. Moreover, India has approved 12 new nuclear reactors with a combined capacity of 9,000 megawatts (MW) during the COVID-19 times with five new sites to be determined, according to Singh. Singh also announced a new nuclear project to be built in Gorakhpur of Haryana, the first in northern India, meaning the country’s nuclear construction would no longer be limited in a few states like Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
At present, India has 23 nuclear reactors operating in seven nuclear power plants, with a total installed capacity of 7,480MW. The country revealed a target of tripling its nuclear power capacity from the current level by 2031 in a September meeting with the US delegation led by the deputy secretary of energy. The world’s third-largest carbon emitter sees nuclear power as a crucial solution to cutting reliance on fossil fuels, which contributes over 60% of the national electricity consumption. According to Singh, India produced 46,472 mega units of power in 2020 despite the COVID-19 pandemic, rising from that of 38,336 mega units in 2017, which is due to the increased power generation in nuclear plants. Moreover, Singh unveiled a plan to raise the budget on the atomic energy sector by INR1tr (USD1.33bn) per year over the next ten years, from the spending of INR1.78tr (USD2.36bn) in 2021.