India to expand nuclear power to bring electricity to 300 million people by 2050


According to a study by the International Energy Agency, India has to hugely expand nuclear power along with its entire power system to bring electricity to 300 million people and move away from coal.

The IEA, highlighting its analysis of India's electricity system published in its Energy Technology Persepctives 2014, said that “At a mere 673 KWh per year on average, per capita electricity consumption in India is less than one quarter of the global average. A first priority for India is to raise this level of power consumption, while bringing electricity to some 300 million unconnected people.”

Under the IEA's '2DS' scenario, where carbon dioxide emissions are curtailed enough to limit average global temperature increases to 2 degree celsius, a range of renewables would provide 40% of electricity with nuclear supplying 15% by 2050. The use of carbon-intensive coal for power generation would fall from today's 80% to less than 20%.

The 2DS scenario also sees total power generation in India quadruple by 2050. But nuclear power would grow faster than the power sector as a whole, from a total capacity of 5.3 GWe today to 80 GWe in 2050, some fifteen times more.

India's nuclear industry is characterized by its largely indigenous nature and reliance on the small pressurized heavy water units which make up 18 of its 21 units.