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Why we need nuclear power

Renewable Energy : Wind, Nuclear, etc. Energy
 Why we need nuclear power

Mains Paper 3: Economy | Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

From UPSC perspective, following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the India’s Energy Sector

Mains level: The Article gives important points and explains, why nuclear power is important.
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News

Context

1. The Article talks about the need of Nuclear Power in India

2. And why renewable energy is important and nuclear option should be retained as an insurance

Why we need nuclear power?

1. Because we are short of oil, gas and even coal

2. More than 70 per cent of petroleum products, 40 per cent of gas and 20 per cent of coal consumption are based on imports

3. Our known extractable coal reserves will run out in about 40 years if our coal consumption keeps growing

Particulars of the National Solar Mission 2009

1. It was launched with a target of setting up of 20,000 MW of solar plants by 2022

2. Innovative policy in the Solar Sector: It was recognised that solar plants would need subsidy through a guaranteed price via feed-in-tariff (FIT) at which solar electricity would be purchased

3. FIT is completely Bid based, so that, it does not kill competition

4. Success of the FIT: This has worked out beyond expectations

5. In the first auction in 2010, when the expected bid was Rs 15 per unit, the bid came to Rs 13.50

6. The latest bid in May 2017 asks for a FIT of Rs 2.44 per unit for a 500 MW plant at Bhadla Solar Park 3 in Rajasthan

7. This can be compared with the average rate of Rs 3.20 per unit of coal power generated by NTPC

Why solar power is inadequate?

1. In a year, a solar PV(Photovoltaic) plant of one KW capacity generates no more than 2,000 KWh of electricity

2. Whereas a coal-based or nuclear plant can generate around 7,000 KWh/year per KW of capacity

3. When the sun is not shining, we need some other method of generating power

4. It could be coal-based, gas based, nuclear, hydro power or through stored electricity

Why can’t the Hydro Power replace the Thermal or the Nuclear Power Plants?

1. India’s potential for hydro power is 150,000 MW at 35 per cent

2. The generation of electricity from the river plants during the lean month can be as low as 10 per cent of generation during the peak month

3. If the country is to grow at seven or eight per cent till 2050, we will need around 8,000 bkWh

4. If we encourage electrical vehicles it could be as much as 12,000 bkWh

5. Thus even when we have fully developed our hydro capacity, we will still need balancing power

The Way Forward

1. If the cost of battery storage comes down, we can have a system running entirely on solar, wind and limited hydro power

2. However, having some nuclear power is needed for the energy security of the country