"We already have foreign power plants with a capacity of 1000 MWs (Kudankulam). The technology too has advanced that we have reactors with such a capacity. If we are installing them, then might as well have reactors that can generate more power and make optimum use of it," a senior government official said.
According to sources, the second site to be allocated to the Russians at Kavali in Andhra Pradesh for its proposed nuclear power park will also have atomic reactors with an enhanced capacity of 1200 MW.
The existing VVER reactors built by Russians at Kudankulam have a capacity of 1000 MW each.
The 1200 MW will be little less than twice the capacity of indigenously developed Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs) in the country.
The current PHWRs in operation have capacity to generate between 220 MW to 540 MW. The Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) is already constructing its indigenous PHRWs with a ramped capacity of 700 MW for its upcoming reactor.
Incidentally, the government has also given nod to increase the capacity of six AP-1000 reactors, to be built by USA's Westinghouse Co in Kovvada in Andhra Pradesh, to 1208 MW each.
The six proposed nuclear power reactors in Jaitapur in Maharashtra will also have capacity of 1650 MW each.
If the projects at Kavali and Kovvada come up, Andhra Pradesh will have atomic power reactors generating 14448 MW, the highest in the country. These projects are expected to finish in next 15-20 years. MORE"Unlike the piece meal bargain done during the Kudankulam
Nuclear Power Projects (KNNPP), DAE will negotiate for six reactors at Kavali. This will help us to get a good deal in the cost," said a senior government official.
Russia has built two VVER reactors in Kudankulam, each with a capacity of 1000 MW. Unit 3 and 4 are under construction, while the General Framework Agreement (GFA) for unit 5 and 6 is expected to be signed soon.
In reference to Kavali in AP, the proposed site of a nuclear power park earmarked for Russians, some section of locals have expressed apprehensions about safety of the nuclear power plants and loss of traditional means of livelihood.
The DAE is carrying out an extensive public outreach programme to spread awareness about the nuclear power.
"At present, the Site Selection Committee (SSC) is exploring the possibility of identifying a suitable coastal site in Andhra Pradesh for locating nuclear power plants with Russian cooperation.
"It will be somewhere around Kavali in Nellore district. The exact location is yet decided," the official said.
The official added that the government of Andhra Pradesh has given its consent to carry out technical studies required to identify potential coastal site for locating nuclear power plant in the state.