Nuclear energy is the best answer to all power woes. That was the gist of a talk organized by the Bangalore Manage -ment Association and Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation, where former Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission, M.R. Srinivasan described the nuclear energy as the best option to meet country’s energy needs.
He felt southern India is going to be one of the biggest platforms to cultivate this energy after foreign powers like Russia have started investing in a high-capacity plant at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu.
There are two operating nuclear power stations at Kaiga in Uttara Kannada. Two more are about to get started, which will make it a 880 MW plant. According to Srinivasan, the Power Grid Corporation of India is also looking for two more sites to locate two 700 mega watt plants, and considering Kaiga as one of the possible locations.
Additionally, the Kudankulam power station is supposed to supply power to all the southern states, including Karnataka. “Russia is keen on building four more units in Kudankulam. The 123 agreement has facilitated such investment and if everything goes fine, the deal will be signed in December. And Karnataka will also enjoy a share of it,’’ he outlined.
India produces 150 gigawatts of energy, of which only four gigawatts is nuclear. But the government is presently focusing on rapid ramp-up, which would translate to almost 30 gigawatts of nuclear energy by 2020. Srinivasan said nuclear power, on an average, costs Rs 2 per unit, which is acceptable considering the price of coal at Rs 1.50.
Principal secretary (energy) K Jairaj said the state is spending up to Rs 9 per unit, which is costing the government a lot. There is 17 to 20 percent energy shortage in the country. “The power crisis is looming larger every day. There is inadequate supply, distribution inefficiencies, losses to theft, local resistance to hydro plants for ecological reasons, and of course, our state does not produce coal or lignite.’’ The power that comes to Raichur thermal plant is transported from Talcher in Orissa and the transportation cost is three times higher than the cost of coal.