Atomic Energy has got a definite and decisive role to perform in the Indian Power Generation and supply sector. Being a developing country, a major share of India's overall electricity requirements has to be from non conventional sources as the conventional sources has got limitations to meet the galloping needs. India has achieved self-sufficiency in the Nuclear Science and Technology thanks to the pioneering efforts initiated by Dr. Homi Bhabha who visualized the Indian Nuclear Program and since then meticulously carried on by the dedicated scientists and engineers of DAE family.
An adequate and uninterrupted power generation is an intrinsic essentiality for the overall development of any nation. In quantitative terms, the per capita consumption of electric energy is regarded as an indicative parameter of the socio economic growth rate of a nation.
The major contribution to India’s power production programme comes from
- Coal based thermal power stations (105,437 MW in 2012, ~ 55.3% of total power output)(www.powermin.nic.in)
- Hydroelectric power generation (38,848 Mw in 2012, ~ 20.38 % of total Power Output)
- Nuclear power generation (4,780 Mw, ~2.5% of total Power Output)
- Non - conventional sources ( wind, tidal etc.)(22,233 MW, ~ 11.6% of total Power Output)
Per capita power consumption in India is around 600 Kwh/yr, which is much below the world average consumption of 2430 Kwh/yr.
Thus, massive increase in the power generation to match the world average consumption is needed in the coming years to enhance the overall national growth rate.
The estimated coal deposits in India is ~ 270 billion tonnes (~8% of the world coal reserves) (Ref: Clean Coal Technology: m.Goel, Energy India 2020 pp133) and the distribution of conventional energy sources in India is 69% coal, 14% hydro, 10% natural gas, 4% oil, 2% nuclear, and 1% renewables (solar, wind, biofuels, waste, etc).
Our conventional resources are far from being adequate to achieve any ambitious target in terms of power generation. With the depleting coal deposits and the limited potential of hydel power, the nations future requirements of power could be met by tapping nuclear and other non - conventional resources. There is a lot of potential in non-conventional sources and this must be harnessed.
By their very nature, while other non-conventional sources are suitable for small-decentralized applications, nuclear power stations are suitable for large central generating stations