In a proposal sent to the Prime Minister’s office last month, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav said that given the scarcity of coal and the consequent grim power situation in the country, setting up a nuclear power plant with power generation capacity of 5,000 – 6,000 MW in the state was a viable option. Uttar Pradesh did not offer any possibility of setting up hydro projects, he pointed out.
Assuring that the state government would make land and all other facilities available for the project near Ghaghara River, the Chief Minister highlighted in the proposal that not many power projects had been set up in the region. The proposal for the nuclear power plant, if implemented, would facilitate the area’s economic development, he added.
The state government had in the past discussed the proposal for setting up a nuclear power plant with the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission and the Union Minister for Planning, who gave in-principle approval to the project.
The Chief Minister in his proposal requested the Prime Minister to direct the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited to deliberate on the proposal with officials.
Earlier this month, a state government spokesperson said the Centre had initiated action in response to the proposal mooted by the Chief Minister. The PMO has asked the state government to nominate a nodal officer who can initiate dialogue with experts on the issue and also identify a suitable location for the proposed project.
At present, the contribution of nuclear power as a source of electrical energy in the country stands at 4,780 MWe. This is set to further increase to 5,780 MWe with the addition of the first 1,000 MWe capacity unit of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project in Tamil Nadu. The first unit got synchronized to the grid in October last year generating 160 MWe. Since then, the generation capacity had been increased in phases. The commercial operation of the unit is expected to commence next month. It is the 20th nuclear power station of NPCIL connected to the grid.