No Decision on FDI in N-power Sector
NEW DELHI: The Centre on Wednesday said it had not taken a decision on allowing foreign direct investment (FDI) in the nuclear power sector, though it had not barred any FDI in industries manufacturing equipment and supplies to atomic power plants or related facilities.
In a written reply to questions from members in the Lok Sabha, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office Jitendra Singh said the Economic Survey of 2008-09 had suggested allowing FDI in nuclear power generation sector with a cap of 49 per cent.
“However, no decision has been taken,” he said, adding that the present policy (Consolidated FDI Policy April, 2014) puts atomic energy in the list of prohibited sectors. “However, there is no restriction on FDI in the nuclear industries manufacturing equipment and providing other supplies for nuclear power plants and related facilities,” he said.
He noted that the government was considering amendments to the Atomic Energy Act of 1962 to enable Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) to enter into joint ventures with other firms for setting up nuclear power plants.
Singh, in a written reply to another question, said the domestic availability of mined Uranium is currently inadequate to meet the requirements of the existing nuclear power plants and production of the element in the country would be augmented. “Domestic availability of mined Uranium is currently inadequate to meet the entire requirement of running of the existing NPPs at full generating capacity,” he said. He added that in the coming years, augmentation of Uranium production in the country would be carried out by maximising production from the existing facilities through Uranium Corporation of India Ltd (UCIL), a PSU under the control of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE).
The government, he said, was setting up new production facilities in different parts of the country (Tummalapalle and Kanampalle in Andhra Pradesh, Gogi in Karnataka, Kylleng Pyndensohing in Meghalaya, Lambapur-Peddagattu in Telangana and Rohil in Rajasthan).
Most of these units are expected to commence production in the next 20 years. “Seven Uranium mines are in operation in the state of Jharkhand, and one Uranium mine at Tummalapalle in Andhra Pradesh is close to commissioning,” Singh said.
N-plants in the Country Safe
Jitendra Singh also noted that all nuclear power plants in the country were safe and can withstand natural calamities like earthquakes and tsunamis. “Following the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan, safety review of all Indian NPPs was conducted by task forces of NPCIL and the expert committee of AERB (Atomic Energy Regulatory Board),” he said in a written reply to a third question relating to the DAE. “These safety reviews have confirmed that Indian nuclear power plants are safe and have adequate margins and features in design to withstand extreme events like earthquakes and tsunamis,” he said.