India greenlights 10 new nuclear reactors

India has approved a plan to build 10 new nuclear reactors totalling 7 GW.

The announcement came today after the plan was approved at a meeting headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The pressurized heavy water reactors are to be made in India and will add to the nation’s current capacity of 6780 MW.

A timeline for construction of the new reactors was not given, although energy minister Piyush Goyal noted that 6700 MW in new nuclear capacity is already under construction and is planned to come online by 2021-22.à‚ 

The announcement closely follows reports that India’s nuclear co-operation with Russia could be in jeopardy, with India threatening to delay signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for construction of two new 1 GW reactors at its 6 GW Kudankulam plant (pictured).

At issue is membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), composed of countries that have agreed to supply nuclear materials only where they will not be used for weapons purposes. India aims to join the group within two years, but its attempts have been blocked by China because India has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.à‚ 

According to The Times of India, the nation this week warned Russia that it could block all foreign co-operation on its nuclear power programme if it is unable to join the group. à‚ 

Ahead of an upcoming summit between Modi and Russian president Vladimir Putin, India is reportedly using the threat of back-burnering the anticipated MoU with Russia to gain leverage in the NSG negotiations. à‚ 

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