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Cost of nuclear power generation comes down

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New Delhi, Feb 23 (UNI) The cost of nuclear power generation in the country has come down from Rs 2.55 per kWh in 2003-04 to Rs 2.26 in 2004-05, the Government said today.

The fall in the cost has been achieved by reducing input costs, adopting depreciation rates consistent with expected life of the plants and discontinuation of renovation and modernisation and research and development levies and prepayment of high interest bearing loans, Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office Prithviraj Chauhan told the Rajya Sabha in a written reply.

The cost of production of nuclear power was comparable to thermal generation away from coal mines, the Minister said.

He said the installed nuclear energy was at present only 3360 MW, around three per cent of the total electricity generation in the country, but the target was to produce 20,000 MW of nuclear power by 2020.

The country is pursuing a three-stage nuclear power programme aimed at long-term energy independence based on the use of abundant thorium resources, the Minister said.

There are at present 15 nuclear power reactors with a capacity of 3360 MW in operation. Eight reactors with a capacity of 3920 MW were under construction and they will take the total installed capacity to 7280 MW by March 2011. And by 2020, the total nuclear power production was expected to increase to 20,000, the Minister said.

The investment required to meet the target is Rs 5.2 crore at 2005 prices, which is proposed to be met through a combination of Domestic Budgetary Support, Foreign credit, market borrowing and surpluses generated by nuclear power generation.

The Minister said Nuclear power was a major contributor of power in advanced countries, accounting for 78 per cent in France, 31 per cent in Germany, 29 per cent in in Japan and 20 per cent in USA.

However, it was only three per cent in Brazil and 2.2 per cent in China.

UNI NAZ RP RK1745

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