New Delhi: To meet the country's growing needs, the government plans to set up nuclear power plants in Bihar, Haryana and Punjab, Lok Sabha was informed on Wednesday.
Government aims to increase nuclear power generation capacity by three times in ten years. If it is 4,780 MW today, the same would go up to 13,480 MW, Union Minister Jitendra Singh said during Question Hour in the Lok Sabha.
He said new places are being explored for setting up plants to generate nuclear power which would be a big source for meeting the growing energy needs.
With regard to nuclear power programme, Singh, the Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office, said the government is considering setting up new plants in areas not covered before.
A site has been identified for a nuclear plant in Razauli in Bihar's Nawada district in the last 18-19 months of the current government, he said.
There has been a delay there due to water shortage since the current level of water available is not sufficient for the project, he said, adding that discussions are going on with the state government in this regard and work will start as soon as this problem is sorted out.
He also listed out places such as Patiala (Punjab), Dehradun (Uttarakhand) and Bulandshahr (Uttar Pradesh). In Patiala, there are issues related to Defence land, he said, adding that areas are also being explored in Haryana.
"In the last two years, one nuclear power project ie. Gorakhpur Haryana Anu Vidyut Pariyojna Units - 1 & 2 (GHAVP 1&2 — 2 x 700 MW) was accorded financial sanction and administrative approval," Singh said.
Currently, two public sector enterprises — Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) and Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Ltd (BHAVINI) — sets up nuclear power plants in the country.
About the Kudankulam nuclear power project in Tamil Nadu, Singh said the second unit is going to be functional in May.
The first unit became operational in January.
Responding to a query on the death of 11 nuclear scientists at BARC over the years, Singh said there was no link of radiation to the unnatural deaths.
It would not be appropriate to link the suicides to radiation, he said, adding "I have done an analysis and the unnatural deaths were not due to radiation hazards."
To another query, Singh said there is no proposal at present to allow private partnership in the nuclear power generation sector.
The Atomic Energy Act, 1962 permits private participation in setting up nuclear power plants as a junior equity partner of a government company.
"At present companies in private sector in India are participating in a major way in setting up nuclear power plants through supply of components, equipment and works contracts," the Minister added.