Saturday, June 20, 2009

India pushes Small Reactor Sales to Asian, African Countries

Earlier this week, Rod Adams interviews ANS President Tom Sanders on the Atomic Show. The interview is well worth the time you spend listening to it. Tom lays out a vision of the future of the nuclear economy based on small, factory produced reactors. Although he does not refer to the LFTR, the LFTR definitely fits into his concept. Tom's vision is international, because he sees a huge market in developing nations for small reactors. Tom's interview is encouraging, because it suggests that my thinking is on the right track.

David Walters recent post on large verses small reactors also triggered a Brian Wang post on the small reactor business model. It is not simply that bloggers are talking about small reactors, but an increasingnumber of potential or actual manufacturers are announcing their intent to build small reactors. None of these reactors will be available until sometime in the next decade.

Small factory built reactors clearly are an idea whose time has come.
But in India that time came a generation ago and never left. Indian small reactors have been completely overlooked in the small reactor discussion, even though only India currently builds and markets advanced small reactors for electrical production. If you want to order a small reactor today, and be assured delivery before 2015, you will need to talk to the Indians. According to Hindu Business Line, NPCIL plans to market its small and mid size reactors to Kazakhstan, South-East Asian countries and African nations.
A proposal for reactor sales to Kazakhstan is already on the anvil, with discussions between NPCIL and the central Asian nation’s nuclear utility Kazatomprom at an advanced stage. According to Government sources, while feelers have also been received from South-East Asian countries, Kazakhstan is likely to be the first breakthrough.

India has been proactively exploring the possibility of exporting indigenous PHWRs to developing nations that are eyeing nuclear power generation but are constrained by small-sized electricity grids. . . . small size nuclear reactors are apt for countries that have small grids of around 10,000 MW. Use of large reactor units in case of countries having small grids could potentially lead to grid failures if even a single large unit shuts down at any point in time.

Besides, assembling clusters of 220 MWe reactors is projected to be more cost-effective than large-sized reactors from the US or Europe, officials said. Several Asean countries are reported to be eyeing the nuclear option, with Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand among those having announced plans to tap atomic energy in the future.
An unnamed official of NPCIL told Hindu Business Line,
“Currently, India is perhaps the only country to have an actively working technology, design and infrastructure for manufacture of small reactors with a unit capacity of 220 MWe. These units have a great potential for exports, particularly to nations with small grids that are planning nuclear forays with relatively lower investment levels.”
NPCIL has an expanding Internet presence. A downloadable brochure advertises the two reactors. Reportedly capital costs of small Indian Reactors may run as low as $0.90 per watt, but such cost estimates are based on prevailing Indian wage rates.


DV8 2XL said...

And meanwhile the guys that developed these reactors soon won't be in business at all. Not that life and international trade was ever fair, but I am going to make sure that there are a few Canadians that are never allowed to forget what a botch they made of AECL if this Indian program takes off.

CANDU's were always the poor man's reactor. That's where its market lay. Not developing 1200MWe behemoths that were never going to get type approved in the only markets that could afford them, because they were competing with indigenous designs.

I wish NPCIL luck, 'from failing hands we pass the torch' and all that. But dammit, it should have been us.

bobcat said...

Re DV8 2XL.

I think Marlon Brando summed up your feelings in the classic 1954 movie, On The Waterfront. You can view his "I could have been a contender" scene by clicking on the link below.

Anonymous said...

The main issue here is the lack of understanding about the developing world as a collosal energy market. It is the Canadian's fault, not the Indians, that they are left behind. The Indians took the original Canadian design, improve upon it and developed these small size reactors out of necessity, they are affordable for poorer countries like India who can't pay 9 billion premium for a nuclear power plant! So the emerging economies have to be left behind because of this? NO WAY! The indians said, so they developed the TATA Nano version of the nuclear energy power plants.

labor is cheaper in India and also in Russia and these 2 countries are eager to share and transfer technology (God Bless them!), something Americans, Canadian and Europeans never did.


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