India’s cabinet has approved plans to construct 10 nuclear reactors with a combined capacity of 7GW as the country seeks to accelerate its transition to low carbon energy sources, according to reports.
The new reactors would more than double India’s existing nuclear generation capacity, adding to the country’s existing 22 nuclear fleet encompassing 6.8GW of power, Reuters reports.
The country also plans to add another 6.7GW of nuclear power by 2021-22 through projects already under construction.
“This project will bring about substantial economies of scale and maximize cost and time efficiencies by adopting fleet mode for execution,” the Indian government said in a statement. “It is expected to generate more than 33,400 jobs in direct and indirect employment. With manufacturing orders to domestic industry, it will be a major step towards strengthening India’s credentials as a major nuclear manufacturing powerhouse.”
The decision from Prime Minister Narenda Modi’s government comes amid uncertainty in the global nuclear sector following the collapse of Toshiba-owned nuclear developer Westinghouse earlier this year, which had been in talks to develop six of its reactors in India.
India’s commitment to new nuclear projects is part of a wider plan to accelerate its shift to low carbon power sources.
In further blow to the coal industry, plans for a giant 4GW coal fired power plant in the Indian state of Gujarati have reportedly been scrapped as the regional government seeks to refocus its energy strategy on renewables.
The proposed facility would have been the region’s second major coal plant, but Gujarati state officials took the decision to cancel the plans so as to encourage more solar power generation, according to Business Standard. “Our focus is now on renewable energy,” energy minister Chimanbhai Sapariya told the news site. “The government will encourage solar power.”
The latest low carbon energy moves will add to India’s drive towards decarbonisation, with the country having earlier this year announcing its aim to be the first in the world to run 100 per cent of its vehicles on electric power.