VIJAYAWADA: The proposal to have another nuclear power plant (NPP) in Andhra Pradesh has gained impetus with India and Russia expected to sign an agreement to supply reactors during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to India to attend the 19th annual Indo-Russian summit next month. While preliminary work on the first power plant is going on at a brisk pace at Kovvada in Srikakulam district, the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) has zeroed in on Kavali in Nellore district to set up the second power plant in the state.
Interestingly, Andhra Pradesh bagged the second NPP, trouncing states like Karnataka, Odisha and Kerala who are also in the race. Significantly, the Union government shifted the NPP to Kavali from Haripur in West Bengal after stiff resistance from locals there. Andhra Pradesh had earlier shown four sites in Prakasam and Nellore districts to the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) that comes under DAE, to set up the second NPP. Of the four sites, Kavali was picked by the DAE.
It was selected after conducting techno-economic feasibility studies by teams of the Karnataka-based National Institute of Rock Mechanics (NIRM). Russia’s Rosatom will build two VVER (water-water energetic reactor) reactors of 1,000 MW each in the first phase even as there are plans for six such reactors at Kavali.
As the NPCIL was looking at various coastal states and approached the AP government for a suitable coastal site to set up the plant with Russian collaboration, the state government responded positively. If everything goes as planned, Andhra Pradesh will house two nuclear power plants as works on the proposed 9,564 MW nuke plant at Kovvada in Ranasthalam in Srikakulam are already underway.
Kovvada’s nuclear reactors are being built by America’s Westinghouse Electric Co. Interestingly, the nuclear power plant planned at Kovvada was shifted from MithiVirdhi in Gujarat after locals in the western state too showed resistance. The government is expected to hand over to NPCIL at least 2,000 acres at Kavali. The government, in July 2014, had announced the tripling of then exisiting nuclear power capacity of 4,780 in the next ten years. The present share of nuclear energy in the country is about 3.2%in the financial year 2016-17 (up to Februray 2017).