CPM makes a U-turn? Its govt touts nuclear power plant in Kerala

Jyothilal said the state preferred small modular reactors to conventional ones.

Published: 18th November 2023 07:51 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th November 2023 07:51 AM   |  A+A-

Kudankulam nuclear power plant | FILE PICTURE

FILE - Kudankulam nuclear power plant. Image used for representational purpose only.

By Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In a curious development, the CPM-led Kerala government has proposed setting up a nuclear power plant that will make use of the abundant thorium reserves in the state to generate electricity. Power Minister K Krishnankutty submitted the proposal to his counterpart at the Centre R K Singh on Thursday.

The proposal has aroused interest as the CPM was in the forefront of agitations against several nuclear power plants across the country. The party had withdrawn support to the UPA government in 2008 over the Indo-US nuclear deal. However, CPM leaders maintain the party was never opposed to the atomic power plants per se. Its opposition was only to the nuclear deal.

Additional Chief Secretary (Power) K R Jyothilal said Kerala has one of the largest thorium reserves in the country, and harnessing the stock to generate nuclear power will help meet the energy needs of the state. Technological innovations have made nuclear power a safe energy option, he said.

Jyothilal said the state preferred small modular reactors to conventional ones. “The advanced small modular reactors have a power capacity of 30-300 MW per unit. Its installation is easy and due to technical sophistication, it’s safer. Since reactors are modular, power production can be incrementally enhanced,” he said.

Nuclear power comes under the purview of the Union government and the proposal, if accepted, would be implemented by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL), which recently signed an agreement with the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) to develop nuclear reactors. The NTPC owns around 1,150 acres of land at Kayamkulam, which the state government has deemed as ideal for the project. 

If project is implemented, it’s a win-win for all: Official

However, the state government will undoubtedly face several challenges to its proposal. First, the developmental programme of small modular reactors is in its nascent stage in the country. The environmental challenges posed by the project will also be a concern.

A senior official said the safety of residents and the environment is of paramount importance and the government factored in all such matters before forwarding the proposal. “Small modular reactors are safe unlike the conventional ones. The cost of power production will also be low. If the proposal is accepted and the project is implemented, it’s a win-win for all,” the official added.

Power source

  •  Kerala has one of the largest Thorium reserves in the country
  •  State government deems the 1,150 acres of land the NTPCL owns at Kayamkulam ideal for the project
  •  Advanced small modular reactors are safe unlike the conventional ones

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