The Government of India has given the green light to increase the capacity of the proposed Kovvada nuclear power plant by 20%.

According to Dr Jitendra Singh, the Minister of State for atomic development, the government had revised its “in principle” approval of the project from six 1000 MW units to 1208 MW each, representing a total capacity of 7,248 MW.

He also confirmed that “fresh” environmental impact assessment studies were being conducted accordingly, with a public hearing forming part of the process of obtaining the necessary environmental clearance.

Initially, Kovvada, which is located in the south-eastern state of Andhra Pradesh, had been earmarked to utilize GE-Hitachi ESBWR reactor technology, but in June of this year the Department of Atomic Energy said it would be unable to support any reactor design that did not have a reference plant. No ESBWR has yet been built.

Following this decision, the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) switched to the Westinghouse AP1000 reactor for the six units for Kovvada.

The governments of both India and the US are calling for the contractual arrangements between NPCIL and Westinghouse for the six units to be finalized by June 2017.

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