No more light water reactors unless India signs IAEA pact:Ramesh

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New Delhi, Jun 18 (UNI) Minister of State for Commerce and Power Jairam Ramesh today said that unless India signs the IAEA safeguards agreement and obtains waiver from the Nuclear Suppliers Group guidelines, no more light water reactors other than the two coming up at Koodankulam will come up with Russian or French supplied fuel and reactors.

He was speaking after the first stage of the 92.2 MW Valuthur gas-based combined cycle power project, having a capacity of 60 MW, was commissioned at Valuthur in Tamil Nadu. The balance 32.2 MW capacity will be commissioned in a month's time.

The project is being supplied with gas from a nearby gas field of ONGC of Ramnad zone and the turbines have been procured from the energy company, Ansaldo.

Complimenting the TNEB on reaching the milestone, the minister said uranium fuel for the 2 x 1000 MW units at Koodankulam in Tirunelveli district has arrived from Russia and both Russian-supplied reactors are likely to come into commercial operation by 2009-end.

The Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) plans to generate 20,000 MW of power by the year 2020 of which 8000 MW will come from Koodankulam-type light water reactors.

The minister further complimented the TNEB for signing an MoU with BHEL to set up two 800 MW supercritical units at Udangudi in Tuticorin district with a total investment of about Rs 8,500 crore.

He revealed that the joint venture agreement between TNEB and BHEL forming the Udangudi Power Corporation Ltd has been finalised and will be signed soon. The application for the coal linkage has also been made. The present schedule is to commence work by October 2008.

He said that Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NLC) is putting up 2x500 MW coal-based units in Tuticorin for which it has already signed an MoU with TNEB, with 89 per cent share of NLC and 11 per cent share of TNEB.

NLC's 2x250 MW expansion project at Neyveli is scheduled for commissioning by June 2009. NLC is also actively pursuing with the state government the 2x800 MW Jayamkondam lignite-based power project.

On the 50:50 joint venture between NTPC and TNEB, Mr Ramesh said that orders for main plant and equipment have already been placed on BHEL by the joint venture NTPC Tamil Nadu Energy Company Ltd for 2x500 MW units at Vallur in Thiruvallur district. The Vallur project will have a third 500 MW unit as well.

Regarding gas-based power projects, Mr Ramesh said at present the situation is not very encouraging since about 13,400 MW of gas-based capacity all over the country is operating at just about 53 per cent PLF, as against the normal 90 per cent because of acute shortage of gas.

It is only when Reliance will commence gas supply from September/October 2008 and reach a supply level of around 80 million cubic meters of gas a day by March 2009 will the existing gas-based power plants in the country have adequate gas to operate at 90 per cent PLF.

Considering that India also needs to establish gas-based mnufacturing capacity for urea in a significant way over the next five years, Mr Ramesh felt that it will be unrealistic to expect gas-based power generating capacity to increase substantially over and above that already in place and already in the process of commissioning.

Mr Arcot Veeraswamy, Tamil Nadu Power Minister, was present on the occasion.

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