Tag Archives: India

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India and Canada: Opportunities for Nuclear Growth

It’s a storied history and one that dates back to the 1960s. Today, India and Canada are entering a new chapter in nuclear development. They are the two largest countries that rely on CANDU technology, a reactor that uses heavy water. Heavy water is water that contains an extra amount of deuterium.

This provides huge opportunities for collaboration and innovation between the two countries to advance and improve upon current technologies according to Justin Hannah, director, external relations for CANDU/SNC Lavalin.

“India has 18 power reactors based on CANDU designs, meaning Canada is well positioned to service the fleet, help with life extension and work with India to develop the next generation of reactors together.”

It’s an important step. According to a recent report from the World Bank, “about 300 million people still do not have access to electricity, and even those who have access to electricity do not get reliable supply, particularly in rural areas.”

Electrification is key to bring people out of poverty and the two countries working together to develop parallel technology, means the production of more efficient reactors and the elimination of blackouts while providing more CO2 free power.

“Every megawatt of nuclear displaces coal,” says Hannah.

A developing middle class and a booming population have put further strains on the current power grid. A grid that is heavily reliant on coal.uraniumrocks

According to the World Nuclear Association (WNA), energy consumption in India more than doubled between 1990 and 2011. In order to further reduce GHG emissions and meet power demands, India is forecast to grow nuclear power in the next 35 years. This will allow India to meet a quarter of its power demands through nuclear, which means global opportunities to take safety, design and economics to the next level.

December 2015 marked the first shipment of Canadian uranium to India. Under the deal, Canada will supply over 7 million pounds of uranium to India valued at over a quarter of a billion dollars.

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New Government Could Mean New Nuclear for India

By John Stewart
Director, Policy and Research
Canadian Nuclear Association

The election of a new government in India could be a big opportunity for the nuclear energy industry, according to Nicholas Burns, a former Bush administration Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs.

Burns, who is now a professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School, made the comments on May 21 at the Nuclear Energy Assembly in Scottsdale, Arizona. Canadian Nuclear Association President John Barrett and CNA policy director John Stewart were in attendance at the conference.

In May, Narendra Modi and his party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), won a decisive victory in India’s national elections.

According to Burns, energy is a persistent major problem in India and Modi understands the importance of both energy and infrastructure to drive economic growth.

India’s new government will also have to take a long, serious look at nuclear and modify its stringent nuclear liability law which is blocking investment in the sector, Burns said.

U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz had lobbied the previous government to align India’s liability law with international convention.

Burns is optimistic even though some energy analysts in India believe Modi may delay the previous government’s plan to build 20 gigawatts of nuclear capacity by 2020.

“Nuclear projects are not likely to be on the radar of the Modi government, at least for the next two years,” PricewaterhouseCoopers India’s executive director energy utilities Sambitosh Mohapatra told Press Trust of India.

“It will first focus on increasing coal production, allocation and pricing, apart from clearing the balance sheets of distribution companies.”

Canada currently has a presence in India’s nuclear industry, with six CANDU reactors in operation there.

Burns, who described himself as an unabashed supporter of civil nuclear energy, also said the outlook for nuclear energy in Europe has improved due to the Ukraine crisis and also by the urgency of the European Union’s climate change mitigation efforts.