Nuclear power is a crucial source of clean energy for India. In the near-term, India is focusing on thermal reactors using natural and enriched uranium. In the long-term, India is exploring various options to use its large thorium reserves.
India’s present nuclear installed capacity is 5680 MW, which contributes to about 3.4% of the annual electricity generation. However, nuclear power is an important source of energy in India’s aspirations for energy security and also in achieving its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC), of 40% fossil free electricity, by 2030. India has limited uranium reserves, but abundant thorium reserves. The Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) lifted restrictions on trade with India, in 2008, enabling India to import uranium (natural and enriched) and nuclear reactors. In the near–term (2030), the nuclear capacity could increase to about 42,000 MW. This would be from a combination of domestic Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors (PHWR) and imported Pressurized Water Reactors (PWR). For the long–term (2050), India is exploring various options for utilising its vast thorium reserves. This includes Advanced Heavy Water Reactor and Molten Salt Breeder Reactor. However, generating public acceptance will be crucial to the expansion of the nuclear power program.