NTPC’S foray into nuclear energy in DAE’S court
WITH LEGISLATIVE HURDLES CLEARED, THE GHAVP PROJECT IN HARYANA CAN BE ALLOCATED TO THE NTPC-NPCIL COMBINE, SAY OFFICIALS
NTPC’S efforts to get into nuclear power have slowed down even as the public sector power generation behemoth is focussing more on renewable energy. A senior company official said the uncertainty due to higher tariff cost, along with some earlier ‘legislative hurdles’, are the reasons for lesser excitement for nuclear power projects.
Parliament cleared the amendment to the Atomic Energy Act 1962 on December 31, 2015. This allowed the joint venture PSUS (public sector undertakeings) to build and operate nuclear power plants.
IMPACT OF DELAY
NTPC officials said that ASHVINI — the joint venture between NTPC and Nuclear Power Corporation of India — was to be allocated the 2x700 MW Gorakhpur Haryana Anu Vidyut Pariyojana (GHAVP) project in Haryana. But due to delays in the amendment to the law, NPCIL decided to go ahead and build the plant itself.
In 2010, the then Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) Secretary, Srikumar Banerjee, had said that one of the sites identified by the DAE for the 2x700 MW plant would go to a NTPC and NPCIL joint venture company.
In 2011, NTPC-NPCIL formed the Anushakti Vidhyut Nigam Ltd (ASHVINI) with the objective of building nuclear power plants.
But the JV could not begin building nuclear power plants as the Atomic Energy Act did not allow joint ventures of PSUS for the same.
NTPC officials say that the expected power tariff from GHAVP is likely to be close to Rs. 10/kwh. Further, the plant will be commissioned in another 10 years.
HIGH COST A CONCERN
Assessing the subdued price of power in the country and the low price of renewable energy, officials said that the high tariff cost will be of concern when the plant is commissioned.
Considering that amendments to the Atomic Energy Act have been approved, it is now the prerogative of the DAE to allocate GHAVP to ASHVINI, according to NTPC officials.
In 2014, the estimated cost of the entire project of 28 GW, to be built in two phases, was envisaged at Rs. 20,594 crore.