(Updated 2016)


This report provides information on the status and development of nuclear power programmes in India, including factors related to the effective planning, decision making and implementation of the nuclear power programme that together lead to safe and economical operations of nuclear power plants.

The CNPP summarizes organizational and industrial aspects of nuclear power programmes and provides information about the relevant legislative, regulatory and international framework in India.


1.1. Energy Information

1.1.1. Energy Policy

The Integrated Energy Policy of the Government of India aims at ensuring in a judicious manner adequate energy supplies at an optimum cost, achieving self-sufficiency in energy supplies and protecting the environment from the adverse impact of utilizing energy resources. The main elements of the Energy Policy are:

  1. Accelerated exploitation of all domestic conventional energy sources, viz. coal, hydro, oil/gas and nuclear power in an environmentally sustainable manner;

  2. Energy conservation and Management with a view to increasing energy productivity;

  3. Optimizing the utilisation of existing capacity in the country by using high efficiency machines and processes in the entire gamut of energy related operations like mining, generation, transmission, industrial processes, transport, etc;

  4. Adoption of ‘clean coal’ and related technologies to contain GHG emissions;

  5. Accelerated development of nuclear and hydro-electricity;

  6. Development and exploitation of renewable sources of energy including bio-fuels and fuel plantations to meet the energy requirement of both urban and rural communities;

  7. Intensification of research and development activities in the field of energy, with infusion of sufficient capital by setting up a "National Energy Fund";

  8. Organisation of training for the personnel engaged at various levels in the energy sector.

1.1.2. Estimated Available Energy

The energy resources are unevenly distributed in the country and are mainly used for power generation, transport and industrial and domestic uses. Table 1 shows the overall energy reserves and Table 2 the production of energy situation in India.

Coal, oil, natural gas and lignite are used for thermal power generation. As on 1.4.2015, In India, Coal reserves have been estimated at 306.6 billion tonnes by the Geological Survey of India. These reserves have been found mainly in the States of Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana and Maharashtra. Out of this, the proven reserves of coal are about 131.6 billion tonnes. The Lignite reserves in the country have been estimated at around 44.11 billion tonnes by the Geological Survey of India (01.04.2015). The major deposits are located in the States of Tamil Nadu, followed by Rajasthan, Gujarat, Kerala, West Bengal, Jammu & Kashmir and Union Territory of Puducherry. Out of this, the proven reserves of lignite are about 6.3 billion tonnes. The recoverable reserves of crude oil are placed at about 763 million tonnes and of natural gas at about 1488.5 billion cubic meters.

India’s hydro resource is one of the largest in the world, its gross theoretical hydropower potential is estimated to be 2,638 TWh/yr, within which is a technically feasible potential of some 660 TWh/yr and an economically feasible potential of 442 TWh/yr. Out of the total power generation installed capacity in India, hydro power contributes about 14%. More than 70% of the total hydro potential in the country is located in the northern and north-eastern regions put together.


1. Ministry of Coal, Government of India, Annual Report 2015-16.

2. Ministry of Statistics & Programme implementation, Government of India - Energy Statistics 2016.


Estimated energy reserves in (*)
(Solid and Liquid in million tons, Uranium in metric tons, Gas in billion cubic metres, Hydro in TWh per year)
Solid (1) Liquid (2) Gas (3) Uranium (4) Hydro (5)
Amount 137 190 763 1488.5 0 660

(*) Sources: WEC World Energy Resources 2013 Survey, and Uranium 2014 Resources, Production and Demand ("Red Book")

(1) Coal including Lignite: proved recoverable reserves, the tonnage within the proved amount in place that can be recovered in the future under present and expected local economic conditions with existing available technology.

(2) Crude oil and natural gas liquids (Oil Shale, Natural Bitumen and Extra-Heavy Oil are not included): proved recoverable reserves, the quantity within the proved amount in place that can be recovered in the future under present and expected local economic conditions with existing available technology.

(3) Natural gas: proved recoverable reserves, the volume within the proved amount in place that can be recovered in the future under present and expected local economic conditions with existing available technology.

(4) Reasonably Assured Resources (RAR) with cost under < USD 130 /KgU.

(5) Hydropower: technically exploitable capability, the amount of the gross theoretical capability that can be exploited within the limits of current technology.

1.1.3. Energy Statistics


Year Coal & Lignite Crude Petroleum Natural Gas Electricity
(Hydro&Nuclear) *
1 2 3 4 5 6= 2 to 5
2005-06 7.009 1.348 1.240 0.428 10.024
2006-07 7.458 1.423 1.223 0.476 10.580
2007-08 7.926 1.429 1.249 0.494 11.098
2008-09 8.476 1.403 1.265 0.513 11.657
2009-10 9.137 1.410 1.830 0.451 12.829
2010-11 9.206 1.578 2.011 0.505 13.301
2011-12 9.398 1.595 1.832 0.589 13.415
2012-13 9.730 1.585 1.567 0.527 13.409
2013-14 9.846 1.582 1.364 0.608 13.400
2005-2014 (%)
3.85 1.79 1.06 3.99 3.28


CAGR : Compounded Annual Growth Rate
GWh = Giga Watt hour = 10^ 6 KiloWatt hour = 10^ -3 Billion KWh
1 Billion KWh = 3.60 Peta Joules of Energy
* Thermal electricity is not a primary source of energy
Conversion factors have been applied to convert production of primary sources of conventional energy into exa joules
1. Office of Coal Controller, Ministry of Coal;

2. Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas ;

3. Central Electricity Authority.

Uranium reserves in the country are estimated to be about 129,000 tonnes (metal). It does not include reserves in speculative category. One of the largest resources of thorium in the world is contained in monazite deposits (about 8 million tonnes) in India mainly along the Indian seacoast. Out of this about 4 million tonnes is considered exploitable of which 70% is considered mineable containing about 2,25,000 tonnes of thorium metal.

1.2. The Electricity System

Electricity is a concurrent subject as per the Constitution of India implying that both the Parliament and the State Legislature have the authority to legislate on the subject. The structure of the electricity sector derives its character and composition from the Indian constitution and till recently was mainly defined by the following Acts:

  1. Indian Electricity Act of 1910 legislated over the supply and use of electrical energy in India.

  2. Indian Electricity (Supply) Act of 1948 enacted in order to secure a fully coordinated development of electricity on a regional basis.

  3. Electricity Regulatory Commission Act, 1998 had been enacted with a view to providing for the establishment of Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) and State Electricity Regulatory Commissions (SERC).

For speedy reforms in the power sector with the goal of electrifying all the villages by 2007 and all the households by 2012 and to modernise the sector, the Electricity Bill 2003 has been enacted on June 10, 2003.

Electricity Act 2003 (Ref.

This act consolidates all electricity legislations (Central and State) into one comprehensive binding act. It seeks to create a liberal framework of development for the power sector by distancing Government from regulation. The objectives of the Act are "to consolidate the laws relating to generation, transmission, distribution, trading and use of electricity and generally for taking measures conducive to development of electricity industry, promoting competition therein, protecting interest of consumers and supply of electricity to all areas, rationalization of electricity tariff, ensuring transparent policies regarding subsidies, promotion of efficient and environmentally benign policies, constitution of Central Electricity Authority, Regulatory Commissions and establishment of Appellate Tribunal and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto."

The salient features of the Act are as follows:

  1. The Central Government to prepare a National Electricity Policy in consultation with State Governments. (Section 3)

  2. Thrust to complete the rural electrification and provide for management of rural distribution by Panchayats (local governing bodies), Cooperative Societies, non-Government organisations, franchisees etc. (Sections 4, 5 & 6)

  3. Provision for licence free generation and distribution in the rural areas. (Section 14)

  4. Generation being delicensed and captive generation being freely permitted. Hydro projects would, however, need clearance from the Central Electricity Authority. (Sections 7, 8 & 9)

  5. Transmission Utility at the Central as well as State level, to be a Government company - with responsibility for planned and coordinated development of transmission network. (Sections 38 & 39)

  6. Provision for private licensees in transmission and entry in distribution through an independent network, (Section 14)

  7. Open access in transmission from the outset. (Sections 38-40)

  8. Open access in distribution to be introduced in phases with surcharge for current level of cross subsidy to be gradually phased out along with cross subsidies and obligation to supply. SERCs to frame regulations within one year regarding phasing of open access. (Section 42)

  9. Distribution licensees would be free to undertake generation and generating companies would be free to take up distribution businesses. (Sections 7, 12)

  10. The State Electricity Regulatory Commission is a mandatory requirement. (Section 82)

  11. Provision for payment of subsidy through budget. (Section 65)

  12. Trading, a distinct activity is being recognised with the safeguard of the Regulatory Commissions being authorised to fix ceilings on trading margins, if necessary. (Sections 12, 79 & 86)

  13. Provision for reorganisation or continuance of SEBs. (Sections 131 & 172)

  14. Metering of all electricity supplied made mandatory. (Section 55)

  15. An Appellate Tribunal to hear appeals against the decision of the CERC and SERCs. (Section 111)

  16. Provisions relating to theft of electricity made more stringent. (Section 135-150)

  17. Provisions safeguarding consumer interests. (Sections 57-59, 166) Ombudsman scheme (Section 42) for consumers grievance redressal.

The Ministry of Power, Government of India (GOI), is responsible for the administration of the above act and to undertake such amendments to the Act, as may be necessary from time to time, in conformity with the policy objectives of GOI.

The electricity generating companies in the Central Sector are:

  1. The National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) responsible for construction and operation of fossil thermal power plants in the various power regions under the administrative control of Ministry of Power;

  2. The National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) responsible for establishing and operating regional hydroelectric power plants under the administrative control of Ministry of Power;

  3. North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO) responsible for establishing and operating thermal and hydro power plants in the North Eastern Region under the administrative control of Ministry of Power;

  4. Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NLC) responsible for establishing and operating thermal power plants based on lignite reserves at Neyveli in the Southern region, under the administrative control of Ministry of Coal;

  5. Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL) responsible for nuclear power generation under the administrative control of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE).

  6. A new company Bhartiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Ltd. (BHAVINI) was incorporated to set up fast reactors in October 2003. This is also under the administrative control of the DAE.

The Government of India has also taken up two joint ventures:

  1. Nathpa-Jhakri Power Corporation (NJPC), responsible for the execution of the Nathpa-Jhakri Hydroelectric Project which is being developed as a joint venture of the Central Government and the Government of Himachal Pradesh.

  2. Tehri Hydro Development Corporation (THDC), a joint venture of the Central Government and the Government of Uttar Pradesh to execute the Tehri Hydro Power Complex.

Two statutory bodies i.e. the Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) and the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) are also under the administrative control of Ministry of Power.

The generation through non-conventional renewable energy sources comes under the administrative control of the Ministry of Non-Conventional Energy Sources, GOI.

There are also non-utilities with captive generating capacities.

The Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) under the administrative control of Ministry of Power, provides financial assistance to the programmes of rural electrification.

The Power Finance Corporation (PFC) provides term finance to projects in the power sector.

The PTC (Power Trading Corporation) is an entity established to serve as a single point of contract for entering into power purchase agreements with independent power producers on the one hand and the consumers or state utilities on the other.

India is divided into five Electricity Regions; namely, Northern, North Eastern, Eastern, Western and Southern. For each region, a Regional Electricity Board is constituted. This is essentially to provide guidelines for operation of the grid, co-ordinate exchanges of power between states and regions. The Regional Electricity Board also reviews progress of schemes and plan generation schedule.

The Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL) has established and operates Regional and National Power Grids to facilitate transfer of power within and across the Regions with reliability, security and economy on sound commercial principles.

1.2.1. Electricity System and Decision Making Process

The Ministry of Power is concerned with perspective planning, policy formulation, processing of projects for investment decision, monitoring of projects, training and manpower development.

The National Electricity Policy (as indicated in the Electricity Act 2003) has been notified in 2005. Apart from overcoming endemic shortages in energy and peak power requirements, the policy sought to increase the per capita availability to 1000 units by 2012. It also aims to affect the financial turnaround and commercial viability of the electricity sector. As part of this policy, the ministry of power has embarked on setting up of eight "ultra mega power projects" of 4000MW capacity each in various parts of the country. Two plants at Sasan (Madhya Pradesh) and Mundra (Gujarat) have already been set up.

The National Tariff Policy to provide guidelines to the regulators for fixing tariffs for generation, transmission and distribution, has been finalised in January 2006.

The demand for electricity is assessed periodically at the national level by CEA. Based on the generation expansion planning studies, CEA prepares short, medium and long-term national power plans. Based on this, power schemes are conceived and implemented by the different agencies. Planning of schemes are on the basis of the national five-year plans and annual plans through the national Planning Commission. Expert groups scrutinize the formulation of the five-year plan before it is finalized and approved. In line with the five-year plans, annual plans are implemented.

There are different Ministries involved in the Power Sector such as Ministry of Power (being the main), Department of Atomic Energy, State Power Ministries and the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. Matching plans are prepared by these agencies for implementation in line with the national plans. Respective Ministries/Departments exercise administrative control of the functions relating to their areas. Individual power schemes go through the process of techno-economic scrutiny in terms of the procedures of the administrative Ministry before it is approved for implementation.

The Department of Atomic Energy is responsible for setting up nuclear power generation schemes including the techno-economic appraisal. Transmission schemes for nuclear power generation are implemented by PGCIL as per schemes approved by CEA on a regional basis. The overall integration of all the activities is achieved through the planning process in assessment of demands, decision on the expansion planning strategies, energy policy and national five-year/annual plans. Several policy initiatives have been taken and incentives have been provided to widen the scope of private sector participation in the India's electricity sector.

With the enactment of the Electricity Act 2003 and its implementation through various important notifications the electricity sector is rapidly evolving.

1.2.2. Main Indicators

The per capita commercial energy consumption has increased from about 10GJ in 1980 to nearly 17 GJ in 2005. During the same period per capita electricity generation from utilities increased significantly from about 162 kWh to 563 kWh. This increased to 957 kWh in 2014. The total installed electric power capacity of only 30 GW(e) in 1980 has made an impressive growth to about 122 GW (e) in 2005-06. The total installed capacity increased to 298.0 GWe by March 2016. The major contribution of electricity generation from utilities was thermal which is about 70% followed by about 14% from hydro origin and about 3% from nuclear origin. The growth rate of electricity generation in energy terms has been more than the growth rate in capacity addition indicating improving capacity utilization. Table 3 shows the historical electricity production and installed capacity and Table 4 the energy related ratios.


Compounded Annual Growth Rate (%)
1980 1990 2000 2005 2009 2014 1980 to 2000 2000 to 2014
Electricity Generation [TWh]
Total 119.26 289.41 560.84 697.47 899.39 1024.85 8.05 4.40
Nuclear 3.00 6.14 16.90 17.33 18.64 37.15 9.03 5.80
Hydro 46.56 71.66 74.36 101.73 106.91 134.70 2.37 4.34
Thermal 69.70 211.61 469.58 578.41 773.84 853.0 10.01 4.35
Installed Capacity [GWe]
Total 33.32 74.70 117.78 145.76 187.87 298.06 6.52 6.41
Nuclear 0.86 1.56 2.86 3.36 4.56 5.78 6.19 4.80
Hydro 11.79 18.76 25.15 32.39 36.92 42.78 3.86 3.60
Thermal 20.66 54.35 89.77 110.01 146.39 211.67 7.62 5.88
Others (Solar, wind) .. .. .. .. .. 38.82 .. ..

Years represent financial years from 1st April of the year to 31st March of the next year. Electrical capacities are at the end of the financial years. (1) Electricity from Utilities only. Losses not included. (2) Including 1.76 TWh import from Bhutan (Sources: Annual Reports 2005-06, 2006-07, 2015-16 of the Ministries of Power, Coal, Petroleum& Natural Gas, Ministry of Renewable Energy Sources, Central Electricity Authority and Department of Atomic Energy, Government of India.)


Derived Indicators Compounded Annual Average
Growth Rate (%)
1980 1990 2000 2005 2009 2014 1980 to 2000 2000 to 2014
Energy consumption per capita (GJ/capita) 9.1 13.5 17.7 22.7 27.2 3.40
Electricity per capita (KWh/capita) 173.1 346.6 552.6 637.2 778.5 1010 5.98 4.40
Nuclear/Total electricity (%) 2.5 2.1 3.0 2.5 2.1 3.26 0.91 0.60


2.1. Historical Development and Current Nuclear Power Organisational Structure

2.1.1. Overview

A major step in the formulation of the Atomic Energy Programme in India was the passing of the Atomic Energy Act in 1948 (subsequently replaced by the Atomic Energy Act of 1962). Under the provisions of the Atomic Energy Act, the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) was constituted in 1948. Uranium exploration and mining required for the nuclear power programme were some of the initial activities that were undertaken.

The Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) of the Government of India (GOI) was established in August 1954. The Department is responsible for execution of policies laid down by the AEC. It is engaged in research, technology development and commercial operations in the areas of Nuclear Energy, related High Technologies and supports basic research in nuclear science and engineering.

The key policy has been self-reliance. The importance of developing a strong research and development base for the nuclear power programme was recognized early on. Thus, a decision was made, in 1954, to set up a research and development centre, now called Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) at Trombay. Research reactors APSARA (1956), CIRUS (1960), and DHRUVA (1985) and critical facilities were set up at the Centre. A number of additional facilities and laboratories were built at the Centre to support the nuclear power programme and related nuclear fuel cycle activities. The Research Centres in the Department extend the necessary R&D support to the nuclear power programme and associated fuel cycle activities.

In 1947 when India became independent, its installed electric power capacity was only about 1.5 GW (e), which has now grown to about 298 GW(e) by 2015. Considering the population growth, low per capita electricity consumption and need for increasing the share of commercial energy sources, large-scale production of electric power was necessary. By the late 1950's, AEC had worked out the economics of generating electricity from atomic power reactors. Based on this study, the Government decided to set up a series of nuclear power plants at locations away from coalmines and nearer to load centres. The strategy adopted by the Indian nuclear power programme is to use the country's modest uranium and vast thorium resources. In line with this strategy, a three-stage programme is envisaged. The first stage is based on setting up of pressurized heavy water reactors (PHWRs) using indigenously available natural uranium producing electricity and plutonium and is in commercial domain. This is being followed by the second stage by plutonium fuelled fast breeder reactors (FBRs) producing electricity and more plutonium and uranium233 from thorium. The third stage of reactors will be based on thorium cycle producing electricity and more uranium233. The design of a 300 MW Advanced Heavy Water Reactor is completed and construction of a critical facility for AHWR has been built and being operated. The three stage process described above will enable the country to make efficient use of domestic uranium and thorium contributing significantly to attain true energy security beyond 2050.

India is pursuing fundamental and applied research in the field of plasma physics and thermonuclear fusion and development of technologies relevant to these fields. The overall goal of pursuing thermonuclear fusion research is to develop it as a viable energy technology for future. The first indigenously designed and fabricated Tokamak ADITYA was commissioned by the Institute of Plasma Research (IPR) in 1989 and has been regularly operated. Experiments on edge plasma fluctuations, turbulence and other related works have been conducted. A Superconducting Steady State Tokamak (SST-1) is operational which is enabling advanced research in the Physics of Plasmas and associated technologies. SST-1 has made significant milestone achievement during the campaign-IX that concluded on May 31, 2014. During this campaign, SST-1 Toroidal Field Magnets achieved the unique feat of operating its superconducting mode with magnetic field flat tops exceeding 20000 seconds at a field of 1.5 T on the plasma centre (~ 2.8 T on the magnet winding packs) in Two Phase cooling conditions. As of now, SST-1 superconducting magnets are the only magnets in the world that operates in two-phase flow in a cryo-stable condition. This experience would be useful in the ITER (International Thermo-nuclear Experimental Reactor) Project, of which India is a partner.

A Table indicating salient milestones of the Indian Atomic Energy Programme:

March 12, 1944
Dr. Homi Jehangir Bhabha writes to Sir Dorabji Tata Trust for starting Nuclear Research in India.
December 19, 1945
Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai is inaugurated.
April 15, 1948
Atomic Energy Act is passed.
August 10, 1948
Atomic Energy Commission is constituted.
July 29, 1949
Rare Minerals Survey Unit is set up. Later, this unit becomes Atomic Minerals Division. It is renamed as Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research on July 29, 1998.
August 18, 1950
Indian Rare Earths Limited is set up for recovering minerals, processing of rare earths compounds and Thorium - Uranium concentrates.
August 03, 1954
Department of Atomic Energy is created.
August 01, 1955
Thorium Plant at Trombay goes into production.
August 04, 1956
APSARA - first research reactor in Asia, attains criticality at Trombay, Mumbai.
January 20, 1957
Atomic Energy Establishment, Trombay (AEET) is inaugurated.
August 19, 1957
Atomic Energy Establishment Training School starts functioning.
January 30, 1959
Uranium Metal Plant at Trombay produces Uranium.
February 19, 1960
First lot of 10 Fuel Elements for CIRUS reactor is fabricated at Trombay
July 10, 1960
CIRUS - the 40 MW (th) research reactor, attains criticality.
January 14, 1961
Research Reactor ZERLINA attains criticality. (It is decommissioned in 1983)
January 22, 1965
Plutonium Plant is inaugurated.
January 12, 1967
Atomic Energy Establishment Trombay (AEET) is renamed as Bhabha Atomic Research Centre.
April 11, 1967
Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL) is set up at Hyderabad for producing electronic systems, instruments and components.
June 1, 1967
Constitution of Power Projects Engineering Division, Mumbai, which was subsequently converted to Nuclear Power Board on August 17, 1984.
October 04, 1967
Uranium Corporation of India Limited is set up at Jaduguda, Jharkhand for mining and milling of uranium ores.
December 31, 1968
Nuclear Fuel Complex is set up at Hyderabad.
March 12, 1969
Reactor Research Centre is started at Kalpakkam. It is renamed as Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic on December 18, 1985.
May 01, 1969
Heavy Water Projects is constituted. Later, it becomes Heavy Water Board in February 17, 1989.
October 28, 1969
Tarapur Atomic Power Station starts commercial operation.
September 06, 1970
Uranium233 is separated from irradiated thorium
February 18, 1971
Plutonium fuel for Research Reactor PURNIMA-I is fabricated at Trombay.
May-June, 1971
Zirconium Oxide and Sponge Plants of Nuclear Fuel Complex, Hyderabad, are commissioned. Subsequently all the other plants of NFC went into production by 1974.
May 18, 1972
Research Reactor PURNIMA-I attains criticality.
December 16, 1973
Unit -1 of Rajasthan Atomic Power Station near Kota begins commercial operation. Unit -2 commenced commercial operation on April 1, 1981.
May 18, 1974
Peaceful underground Nuclear Experiment is conducted at Pokhran, Rajasthan.
June 16, 1977
Variable Energy Cyclotron becomes operational at Kolkata.
November 18, 1979
Plutonium-Uranium mixed oxide fuel is fabricated at Trombay.
November 19, 1982
Power Reactor Fuel Reprocessing Plant at Tarapur is commissioned.
November 15, 1983
Atomic Energy Regulatory Board is constituted.
January 27, 1984
Madras Atomic Power Station-Unit I at Kalpakkam starts commercial operation. Unit II goes commercial on March 21, 1986.
February 19, 1984
Centre for Advanced Technology at Indore (Madhya Pradesh) is inaugurated.
March 08, 1984
Plutonium-Uranium mixed Carbide Fuel for Fast Breeder Test Reactor is fabricated in BARC.
May 10, 1984
Research Reactor PURNIMA-II, a Uranium-233 fuelled Reactor, attains criticality.
March 05, 1985
Waste Immobilisation Plant (WIP) at Tarapur is commissioned.
August 08, 1985
Research Reactor DHRUVA [100 MW (th)] attains criticality. It attains full power on January 17, 1988.
October 18, 1985
Fast Breeder Test Reactor (FBTR) at Kalpakkam attains criticality.
September 17, 1987
Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited is formed by converting the erstwhile Nuclear Power Board.
December 30, 1988
12 MV Pelletron Accelerator at Mumbai is inaugurated.
March 12, 1989
Narora Atomic Power Station Unit-1 attains criticality. On January 1, 1991 this unit commences commercial operation. Its Unit-2 attains criticality on October 24, 1991 and commenced commercial operation on July 1, 1992.
November 09, 1990
Research Reactor PURNIMA-III, a Uranium233 fuelled reactor, attains criticality.
September 3, 1992
Kakrapar Atomic Power Station Unit -1 attains criticality and on May 6, 1993 this unit commences commercial operation. Its Unit - 2 attains criticality on January 8, 1995 and commences commercial operation on September 1, 1995.
March 27, 1996
Kalpakkam Reprocessing Plant (KARP) is cold commissioned.
October 20, 1996
Kalpakkam Mini Reactor (KAMINI), with Uranium-233 fuel, attains criticality at Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research, Kalpakkam, Tamilnadu.
March. 31, 1997
Rajasthan Atomic Power Station Unit-1 is recommissioned after repair of OPRD valve.
September 17, 1997
Research Reactor KAMINI attains full power level of 30 kW (th).
May 11 & 13, 1998
Five underground nuclear tests are conducted at Pokhran Range, Rajasthan.
May 27, 1998
Rajasthan Atomic Power Station Unit-2 is recommissioned after en-masse replacement of coolant channels.
August 10, 1998
500 KeV industrial electron accelerator developed indigenously by the BARC is commissioned for its first phase of operation.
September 15, 1998
Kalpakkam Reprocessing Plant (KARP) is dedicated to the Nation.
April 22, 1999
450 MeV Synchrotron Radiation Source Indus-1 achieves Electron beam current of 113 milli-ampere superseding the design value of 100 milli-ampere.
September 24, 1999
Unit -2 of Kaiga Atomic Power Station attains criticality and on March 16, 2000 this unit commences commercial operation. Its Unit-1 attains criticality on September 26, 2000 and commences commercial operation on November 16, 2000.
December 24, 1999
Unit -3 of Rajasthan Atomic Power Station attains criticality and on June 1, 2000 this unit commences commercial operation. Its Unit-4 attains criticality on November 3, 2000 and commences commercial operation on December 23, 2000.
January 1, 2000
BRIT's plant for radiation processing of spices commissioned at Vashi, Navi Mumbai
April 21, 2000
Folded Tandem Ion Accelerator (FOTIA) delivers first beam on target.
March 31, 2002
Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project Units-1 & 2, First Pour of Main Plant Concrete.
March 30, 2002
Kaiga-3 & 4 Project, First Pour of Concrete.
September 18, 2002
RAPP-5 & 6 Project First Pour of Concrete
October 31, 2002
Waste Immobilization and Uranium Thorium Separation Plants at Trombay and the Radiation Processing Plant Krushak at Lasalgaon dedicated to Nation.
November 2002
Turamdih Mine, Jharkhand inaugurated.
July 23, 2003
MAPS-2 connected to grid after enmasse coolant channel replacement and upgradation of it systems.
1.7 MeV Tandetron Accelerator and demo facility and Lead Mini Cell for reprocessing FBTR carbide Fuel on lab scale commissioned at IGCAR.
October 22, 2003
Formation of Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Limited (BHAVINI).
October 23, 2004
Construction of 500 MWe prototype fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR) at Kalpakkam is launched by the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh.
November 2004
Steam Generator Test Facility (SGTF) commissioned in IGCAR.
March 2005
Tarapur Atomic Power Station Unit-4 (TAPS-4) attains criticality and is later connected to the grid.
May 2006
Tarapur Atomic Power Station Unit-3 (TAPS-3) attains criticality and is later connected to the grid.
December 2009
Rajasthan Atomic Power Station Unit-5 (RAPS-5) connected to the grid.
March 2010
Rajasthan Atomic Power Station Unit-6 (RAPS-6) connected to the grid.
November 2010
Kakrapar Nuclear Power Project Units-1&2 construction commenced.
July 2011
Rajasthan Atomic Power Station Unit-7 (RAPS-7) construction commenced.
September 2011
Rajasthan Atomic Power Station Unit-8 (RAPS-8) construction commenced.
July 2013
Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project Unit-1 attained First Criticality.
October 2013
Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project Unit-1 connected to the grid.

2.1.2. Current Organisational Structure

The Indian Atomic Energy Organisational Structure is shown in Figure 1. Development of nuclear power and related nuclear fuel cycle and research and development activities are carried out in various units under the AEC/DAE. The organisation is broadly divided into research and development sector, industrial sector, public sector, services and support sector and provides for close interaction needed between the production and R&D units.

Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) comes directly under the Atomic Energy Commission as the independent Regulatory Authority. It is independent of DAE.

Research and development sector includes Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR), Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research (AMD), Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Research (RRCAT), Variable Energy Cyclotron Centre (VECC), and fully aided research institutions like Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Institute for Plasma Research (IPR) and others. It also includes Board of Research for Nuclear Sciences (BRNS) and National Board for Higher Mathematics (NBHM) for providing extra-mural funding to universities and other national laboratories.

The HRD programmes of DAE have been recently augmented by the setting up of the Homi Bhabha National Institute (HBNI) as a "Deemed to be University". This will further strengthen the linkages between basic research and technology development in various constituent R&D centres and grant-in-aid institutes of the DAE.

Industrial sector includes Government owned units Heavy Water Board (HWB) for the production of heavy water, Nuclear Fuel Complex (NFC) for the manufacture of nuclear fuel, zircaloy components and stainless steel tubes, and Board of Radiation & Isotope Technology (BRIT) for processing and sale of radioisotopes.

Public Sector Enterprises under the control of DAE and their activities are as follows:

  1. Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) engaged in the design, construction, commissioning and operation of the nuclear power plants based on thermal reactors;

  2. Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) engaged in mining, milling and processing of uranium ore;

  3. Indian Rare Earths Limited (IRE) engaged in mining and processing mineral sands containing thorium and rare earth minerals and producing minerals such as ilmenite, rutile, monazite, zircon and garnet;

  4. Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL) engaged in design and manufacture of reactor control and instrumentation equipment related to atomic energy and also to other sectors;

  5. Bhartiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Limited (BHAVINI) for setting up fast reactors.

Directorate of Construction Services and Estate Management is responsible for construction and maintenance of residential housing/office buildings and other related facilities; Directorate of Purchase and Stores is responsible for centralised purchases and stores.

Nuclear power projects have been set up and operated by a unit directly under the Government of India since the late 1960's, when the construction of the first nuclear power station was commenced. This unit was corporatised in September 1987, thereby forming Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL), a wholly owned company of Government of India. Formation of NPCIL was a step to give the required degree of operational freedom and to mobilise funds from the Indian capital market to finance new nuclear power projects. NPCIL is responsible to design, construct, commission and operate the nuclear power plants of the first stage nuclear power programme.

Construction of the first 500 MWe Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR) was taken up by the public sector enterprise, BHAVINI under the DAE and its construction is nearing completion.

Development of the 300 MWe AHWR design, for demonstration of technology towards large-scale utilisation of thorium for electricity generation, is being carried out at BARC.

Figure 1. Organisational Structure of Department of Atomic Energy

2.2. Nuclear Power Plants: Status and Operation

The nuclear power generation comes under the AEC/DAE, GOI. NPCIL, a public sector enterprise of the DAE is responsible for design, construction, commissioning and operation of the nuclear power stations. It is supported by the different units of the Department for R&D, supply of fuel, heavy water, etc. Power generated from the nuclear power stations is sold to State Electricity Boards as per the power purchase agreements. The power supplied is shared by the States in the respective Electricity Region in which the nuclear power plant is located. The laying of transmission lines for evacuation of power from the nuclear power plants is carried out by the Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL), a public sector enterprise of Ministry of Power, GOI. The tariffs for generation of electricity generated by the nuclear power stations are fixed based on the applicable norms and notified by the DAE in consultation with the CEA. AERB is the Competent Authority for the regulation on the safety aspects of nuclear power. Environmental clearances for the nuclear power plant sites are obtained from the Ministry of Environment and Forests, GOI apart from the clearance of AERB.

2.2.1. Status and Performance of Nuclear Power Plants

The construction of India's first nuclear power station at Tarapur consisting of two boiling water reactors (BWRs) commenced in 1964. This was essentially to establish the technical and economic viability of nuclear power in India and to gain valuable experience. In parallel, the work on construction of PHWRs was also commenced. Apart from the first two BWRs at Tarapur which are in operation since 1969, eighteen PHWRs with two reactors at each of the four locations Kalpakkam (MAPS), Narora (NAPS), Kakrapar (KAPS), and Tarapur (TAPS-3&4), four at Kaiga (KGS) and six reactors at Rawatbhata (RAPS) are now in operation. Of these, TAPS- 3&4 are of 540 MWe unit size while the others are in the unit size range of about 200-220 MWe (gross). In addition, one 1000 MWe VVER type PWR (Kudankulam-1) is also operational. The total gross nuclear power capacity in operation is now 5780 MWe.

Construction work for one more unit of 1000 MW (e) VVER (Kudankulam-2) is in progress in co-operation with Russian Federation. Several advanced safety features have been provided in these reactors. Construction work for setting up of two units of 700 MWe PHWRs at Rawatbhata (RAPP-7&8) and two units of 700 MWe PHWRs at Kakrapar (KAPP-7&8) are also in progress.

The work on the second stage of the nuclear power programme is in progress at the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR). The Fast Breeder Test Reactor (FBTR) 40 MWth at Kalpakkam is in operation. Its unique carbide fuel has achieved a burn-up of 155,000 MWD/Tonne. Construction of the first 500 MWe Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR) is in advanced stage of construction and system wise commissioning trials commenced.

Towards building up thorium-based reactors, the strides taken by DAE include setting up of 30 kWth neutron source reactor KAMINI at Kalpakkam. The reactor has been in operation since 1997. Kamini uses uranium233-based fuel derived from irradiated thorium.

A detailed design report for setting up the Advanced Heavy Water Reactor (AHWR) of 300 MWe capacity has already been prepared by BARC. This is a vertical pressure tube reactor design utilising heavy water moderator, boiling light water coolant, thorium-plutonium based fuel and incorporating passive safety systems. It derives about two-third of its power from thorium and DAE/BARC. It will be essentially a technology demonstration project for utilising thorium for electricity generation and the site has been selected and is expected to start construction in a few years time.

Table-7 gives a status of nuclear power plants in India.


Reactor Unit Type Net
Status Operator Reactor
First Grid
KAIGA-1 PHWR 202 Operational NPCIL NPCIL 1989-09-01 2000-09-26 2000-10-12 2000-11-16 98.7
KAIGA-2 PHWR 202 Operational NPCIL NPCIL 1989-12-01 1999-09-24 1999-12-02 2000-03-16 100.0
KAIGA-3 PHWR 202 Operational NPCIL NPCIL 2002-03-30 2007-02-26 2007-04-11 2007-05-06 88.2
KAIGA-4 PHWR 202 Operational NPCIL NPCIL 2002-05-10 2010-11-27 2011-01-19 2011-01-20 96.1
KAKRAPAR-1 PHWR 202 Operational NPCIL NPCIL 1984-12-01 1992-09-03 1992-11-24 1993-05-06 3.5
KAKRAPAR-2 PHWR 202 Operational NPCIL NPCIL 1985-04-01 1995-01-08 1995-03-04 1995-09-01 29.7
KUDANKULAM-1 PWR 932 Operational NPCIL MAEP 2002-03-31 2013-07-13 2013-10-22 2014-12-31 53.6
KUDANKULAM-2 PWR 932 Operational NPCIL MAEP 2002-07-04 2016-07-10 2016-08-29 2017-03-31 33.8
MADRAS-1 PHWR 205 Operational NPCIL NPCIL 1971-01-01 1983-07-02 1983-07-23 1984-01-27 3.5
MADRAS-2 PHWR 205 Operational NPCIL NPCIL 1972-10-01 1985-08-12 1985-09-20 1986-03-21 88.7
NARORA-1 PHWR 202 Operational NPCIL NPCIL 1976-12-01 1989-03-12 1989-07-29 1991-01-01 96.7
NARORA-2 PHWR 202 Operational NPCIL NPCIL 1977-11-01 1991-10-24 1992-01-05 1992-07-01 87.3
RAJASTHAN-1 PHWR 90 Operational NPCIL AECL 1965-08-01 1972-08-11 1972-11-30 1973-12-16 0.0
RAJASTHAN-2 PHWR 187 Operational NPCIL AECL/DAE 1968-04-01 1980-10-08 1980-11-01 1981-04-01 76.4
RAJASTHAN-3 PHWR 202 Operational NPCIL NPCIL 1990-02-01 1999-12-24 2000-03-10 2000-06-01 84.5
RAJASTHAN-4 PHWR 202 Operational NPCIL NPCIL 1990-10-01 2000-11-03 2000-11-17 2000-12-23 85.0
RAJASTHAN-5 PHWR 202 Operational NPCIL NPCIL 2002-09-18 2009-11-24 2009-12-22 2010-02-04 87.5
RAJASTHAN-6 PHWR 202 Operational NPCIL NPCIL 2003-01-20 2010-01-23 2010-03-28 2010-03-31 85.6
TARAPUR-1 BWR 150 Operational NPCIL GE 1964-10-01 1969-02-01 1969-04-01 1969-10-28 71.6
TARAPUR-2 BWR 150 Operational NPCIL GE 1964-10-01 1969-02-28 1969-05-05 1969-10-28 46.0
TARAPUR-3 PHWR 490 Operational NPCIL NPCIL 2000-05-12 2006-05-21 2006-06-15 2006-08-18 91.2
TARAPUR-4 PHWR 490 Operational NPCIL NPCIL 2000-03-08 2005-03-06 2005-06-04 2005-09-12 85.6
KAKRAPAR-3 PHWR 630 Under Construction NPCIL NPCIL 2010-11-22
KAKRAPAR-4 PHWR 630 Under Construction NPCIL NPCIL 2010-11-22
KUDANKULAM-3 PWR 917 Under Construction NPCIL JSC ASE 2017-06-29 2022-09-30 2023-03-31
KUDANKULAM-4 PWR 917 Under Construction NPCIL JSC ASE 2017-10-23 2023-05-31 2023-11-30
PFBR FBR 470 Under Construction BHAVINI 2004-10-23
RAJASTHAN-7 PHWR 630 Under Construction NPCIL NPCIL 2011-07-18
RAJASTHAN-8 PHWR 630 Under Construction NPCIL NPCIL 2011-09-30
Data source: IAEA - Power Reactor Information System (PRIS).
Note: Table is completely generated from PRIS data to reflect the latest available information and may be more up to date than the text of the report.

The performance of NPPs in operation is given below:

Reactor Unit
Calendar Year Generation (MU)


Notes: (* Up to Feb 2016); (# This is infirm power generation before commercial operation)

Overall Performance of Nuclear Power Plants

Availability Factor
CRISIL Credit rating
17 324
AAA (highest safety)
18 634
AAA (highest safety)
16 930
AAA (highest safety)
14 927
AAA (highest safety)
18 803
AAA (highest safety)
26 472
AAA (highest safety)
32 455
AAA (highest safety)
32 863
AAA (highest safety)
35 333
AAA (highest safety)
37 835
AAA (highest safety)

Performance highlights: (FY 2014-15)


  • NPCIL generated 37,835 million units of electricity, including 2243 million units infirm power of KKNPP-1. In all, KKNPP-1 has generated 3348 million units of infirm power and 2087 million units of commercial power up to March 31, 2015.

  • The Overall availability factor of the reactors in operation continued to be high at 88% during 2014-15.

  • Overall capacity factor of operating reactors of NPCIL was 82% during 2014-15.


  • The safety record of NPCIL was maintained impeccable over 45 years of safe, accident-free operation.


  • During the year 2014-15, NPCIL’s Profit After tax (PAT) was Rs 2,201 crore.

  • Dividend and tax on dividend of Rs 767.33 crore for the year paid to Government of India.

  • NPCIL’s instruments continued to be maintained at AAA rating.


  • KKNPP Unit-1 commenced commercial operation on December 31, 2014. The 1000 MW capacity was added to the Southern grid. The unit attained criticality on July 13, 2013 and was synchronised to the Southern grid for the first time on October 22, 2013.

  • Commissioning work is underway at KKNPP-2 (1000 MW LWR), while construction is progressing at KAPP-3&4 (2x700 MW PHWRs) and RAPP-7&8 (2x700 MW PHWRSs).

  • GHAVP (1&2) and KKNPP (3&4) projects have been accorded administrative approval and financial sanction from Government of India. These projects are planned to be launched in 2015-16. Also, pre-project activities like MoEF clearance, land acquisition, site infrastructure development works, etc. Are at various stages of progress at site in Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan and West Bengal.

(Source: Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited Corporate Profile October 2015, Department of Atomic Energy, India)

2.2.2. Plant Upgrading, Plant Life Management and License Renewals

Technology, tools and procedures have been successfully developed and deployed based on indigenous efforts for in-service inspection, complex in-core maintenance and major refurbishment work. Life management programme for coolant channels, based on indigenous technology like Non-Intrusive Vibration Diagnostic Technique along with various computer codes like SCAPCA, HYCON and BLIST has enabled safe operation of the first generation of Indian PHWRs having zircaloy-2 pressure tubes. The slivering tool has been used for collecting more than 850 samples from nearly 200 pressures tubes of operating 220 MWe PHWRs. A modified version of the slivering tool to cater to the higher diameter of pressure tube due to creep has been developed. A modified hot pressurisation scheme for 220 MWe PHWR has been evolved based on detailed studies carried out and implemented in operating reactors.

Plant life extension activities are progressively being implemented at TAPS 1&2. Upper shell longitudinal welds of Reactor Pressure Vessel (RPV) which were seen as inaccessible up till now have been inspected first time since operation of the reactors by deploying Weld Inspection Manipulator (WIM) in Unit-1 in August 2012. Subsequently Unit-2 and again Unit-1 upper shell welds were inspected with upgraded versions of WIM in Feb 2013 & March 2015 respectively. Inspection of upper shell welds paves the way for more challenging inspection of beltline region welds. A manipulator named as BARC Vessel Inspection System (BARVIS) for inspection of beltline region welds from inner side of the RPV was designed, manufactured, tested & qualified. During Refuelling Outage in January 2016 of Unit -2, BARVIS has been successfully deployed for beltline region welds inspection.

Post Fukushima upgrades in Indian NPPs:

Safety enhancement in Indian NPPs has been a continuous process. Immediately after the Fukushima (Japan) accident safety re-assessment of all Indian NPPs was carried out by NPCIL and AERB. These assessments brought out the requirements for further enhancement in safety, especially against severe external events.

The approach adopted for these safety enhancements is outlined below:

  1. Re-confirmation of capability to withstand currently defined site specific design / review basis levels of external events for individual plants. This included revisiting the results of earlier PSRs and review of need for further strengthening, as necessary.

  2. Assessment of margins available for beyond the design / review bases levels of external events. The objective of this assessment was to find out if cliff edges were close to the design basis /review basis levels and to suggest modifications such that minimum safety functions can be performed in such situation.

  3. Enhancing the capability of the plants to perform the safety functions under extended SBO / extended loss of heat sink through the design provisions. Towards this, NPCIL carried out safety assessment for extended SBO and augment the capability for continued heat removal for 7 days. The measures being incorporated based on the above assessments include:

    • Alternate provisions for core cooling and cooling of reactor components including identification / creation of alternate water sources and providing hook-up points to transfer water for long term core cooling,

    • Provision of portable DGs / power packs

    • Battery operated devices for plant status monitoring

    • Additional hook up points for adding up water to spent fuel storage pools

  4. Review and strengthening of severe accident management provisions particularly with respect to:

    • Hydrogen Management

    • Containment venting

  5. Creation of an On-Site Emergency Support Centre at each NPP site which should remain functional under extreme events including radiological, with adequate provisions of communication, monitoring of plant status and having capacity for housing essential personnel for a minimum period of one week.

Significant progress has been made in all the areas identified for post Fukushima upgrades for each of the operating NPP in the country.

2.3. Future Development of Nuclear Power Sector

Based on the nuclear power projects under commissioning, capacity additions of 1500 MW (e) will be done by 2016/2017. With this, the total nuclear power capacity will grow to 7280 MW(e). Four 700 MWe PHWRs are under construction and six more PHWRs of 700 MWe are also planned for start in next few years. A 300 MWe AHWR and about ten LWRs of about 1000 MWe each based on international cooperation are planned for start of construction over the next six years. More indigenous FBRs are also planned in future.

2.3.1. Current Issues and Development on Nuclear Power

  1. Energy Policy

    The Integrated Energy Policy of the country recognizes that nuclear power based on indigenous resources can provide long term energy security for the country and recommends continued support for the three-stage program and development of the thorium fuel cycle. It also recommends exploring the possibility of setting up large nuclear capacities based on imports once the necessary agreements for international cooperation are in place.

  2. Privatisation and Deregulation

    The nuclear power generation and related fuel cycle activities are under the Central Government. NPCIL, a wholly owned company of GOI. The 500 MWe PFBR is being set up by BHAVINI which is another PSU under DAE registered on 22nd October 2003 for this purpose. DAE, is responsible for setting up and operating the nuclear power plants. The other related fuel cycle (both front-end and back end) activities are carried out by the different units of DAE, GOI.

    As of now, there is no equity participation by the private sector in the area of nuclear power generation. In order to facilitate having possibility of joint ventures with other public sector company, the Atomic Energy Act 1962 was amended in the year 2015. This is essentially aimed to attract investment in the nuclear power sector for capacity addition.

  3. Role of the Government in nuclear R&D

    Most of the R&D related to nuclear power is funded and carried out by the Department of Atomic Energy under Government of India. However through extra mural research funding, the R&D is also carried out in some of academic research institutions outside the Department of Atomic Research Centre.

  4. Nuclear Energy and Climatic Change

    India is a large country and so needs a large electricity generating capacity. Power generation in India was 4.1 billion kWhr in 1947-48 and in 2014-15; it was about 1272 billion kWhr including captive power. In the next 50 years, it may increase by a factor of 12 or more. At present, a major component of electricity is generated using fossil fuels and there are environmental concerns like green house gas (GHG) emissions associated with the energy generation using fossil resources. If India continues to rely on fossil resources as at present, it will have serious effects on local, regional and global environment. Therefore, it is necessary that India continues to develop nuclear energy and meets a significant percentage of its electricity needs based on nuclear energy.

  5. Safety and Waste Management Issues

    Utmost attention is given to safety in nuclear power plants. The overriding attention to safety encompasses the entire gamut of activities associated with nuclear power plants (NPPs), that is, siting, design, construction, commissioning, and operation. In all these activities, a major effort is devoted to ensuring safety of operating personnel, public as well as the environment.

    A systematic approach using well-defined principles is followed in the design of the nuclear power plants to provide the required safety features adopting principles of defence-in-depth, diversity and redundancy. Nuclear Power Plants are constructed in accordance with the design intent, and with required quality of workmanship to very strict quality standards. Commissioning of the systems to test and demonstrate adequacy of each system and the plant as a whole by actual performance tests to meet the design intent is carried out before commencing the operation of the plant. Operation of the plant is carried out as per defined and approved procedures defining the safety limits for various system parameters, in technical specifications that are thoroughly reviewed by the internal safety committees and approved by AERB. Further AERB, through formal clearances that authorise actions and stipulate specific conditions, enforces safety at various stages of the plant. These include site approval, review and approval of design of systems important to safety and authorisations for construction, commissioning and operation and safety review during operational phase. The regulatory framework in India is indeed robust. All these measures are for ensuring safe operation of the plants, safety of occupational workers and members of public.

    All nuclear power plant sites in India are self sufficient in the management of radioactive waste generated there. Adequate facilities have been provided for handling, treatment and disposal of relevant wastes at these sites. Management of radioactive wastes is carried out in conformity with the guidelines specified by the Regulatory Authorities based on internationally accepted principles in line with the guidelines laid down by the international agencies.

  6. Other Issues and Developments

    The NPPs presently in operation are generating electricity at competitive tariffs. Measures to reduce construction period of NPPs, standardisation and scaling up unit sizes have been taken to further improve the economic competitiveness of nuclear power.

The nuclear power technology, as is evident from the excellent performance of the indigenously constructed plants of the first stage nuclear power programme, in India has matured. The current emphasis is on accelerating the growth of nuclear capacity addition. The factors receiving attention are:

  • Launching indigenously designed 700 MWe. PHWRs

  • Launching of AHWR 300 MWe- a technology demonstration project for utilisation of thorium for electricity generation.

  • Setting up large capacity LWRs based on imports

  • Focus on further enhancement of performance and safety of NPPs in operation

2.4. Supply of NPPs

India's first nuclear power station, Tarapur, was constructed by the International General Electric Co., USA based on a turnkey contract. The second nuclear power station at Rajasthan was built as a collaborative venture with Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL), Canada. For all subsequent nuclear power stations, DAE/NPCIL assumed total responsibility for design, manufacture, construction, commissioning and operation. NPCIL carries out the nuclear design. Balance of plant engineering is done by Indian Consulting Engineering firms (employed by NPCIL) who have expertise in the fossil thermal power plant engineering.

Manufacturing of most of the materials, components and equipment required for nuclear power plants is done indigenously. India has heavy engineering plants in both public and private sectors, manufacturing large steam generators, turbines, electrical equipment, heat exchangers, pumps, pressure vessels and other industrial equipment. The Indian Nuclear Power Programme utilizes these facilities for manufacture of nuclear and conventional equipment. In the early stage of the programme these facilities were augmented, whenever necessary, with balancing machinery and technical inputs to meet nuclear quality assurance requirements. Quality surveillance representatives of NPCIL are posted at the major manufacturer's shops for this purpose.

NPCIL integrates all the activities relating to setting up the nuclear power plant. It plays the role similar to that of a turnkey supplier. The strategy of adopting large EPC/supply-cum-erection packages has been adopted in the projects under construction with the growth of domestic industry. Fuel, heavy water, zircaloy components, reactor control equipment, are supplied by the various units of DAE from the facilities set up for this purpose.

Foreign suppliers of NPPs are involved in supplies of a major component of systems and equipment in respect of units set up in technical cooperation with foreign countries. In case of Kudankulam project, industries in Russia and other CIS are the major suppliers.

2.5. Operation of NPPs

NPCIL operates and maintains the NPPs in operation. Each station has Operation, Maintenance, Technical and Training Groups. These functions are carried out by specially trained and qualified operating and maintenance personnel at each nuclear power station. The NPPs include reactor components and process systems, turbine generators, electrical system equipment, instrumentation and control systems (I&C), cooling water intake and out fall structures, heavy water upgrading plant (at PHWR stations), waste management facilities and the like, to be operated and maintained. Whenever required, the services of equipment suppliers are availed through contracts for major maintenance and overhaul. Three groups of technical and scientific personnel are required for the nuclear power programme: qualified professionals, i.e., engineers and scientists who later become senior engineers and managers; semi-professionals having engineering diplomas or advanced trade certificates who constitute the supervisory personnel; and, technicians like operators and maintainers with high school education and trade certificates. Professionals get inducted into the Atomic Energy Organisation by completing one-year training course at the BARC training school in Trombay or its affiliates at Indore, Hyderabad and NTCs of NPCIL. Separate training programmes at different levels are conducted at the NPCIL's Nuclear Training Centres of operating stations for qualifying and licensing of operating personnel, as per the regulatory requirements. Training simulators are used to provide training in all aspects of operation, including handling of unusual incidents. Key operations personnel are also imparted rigorous training in various systems of the plant on training simulators.

NPCIL is a member of World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO). WANO Peer Review of the nuclear power plants has been undertaken progressively by NPCIL. NPCIL is also a member of CANDU Owners Group (COG).

2.6. Decommissioning Information and Plans

No nuclear power reactors are planned as of now to be taken up for decommissioning. The emphasis is on plant life extension.

2.7. Fuel Cycle Including Waste Management

Fuel cycle and waste management services are provided by various units of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE). Uranium Corporation of India Ltd. (UCIL), a public sector company of DAE, carries out mining and processing of uranium deposits surveyed by the Atomic Minerals Directorate of Exploration & Research (AMD) of DAE. New and innovative techniques like electromagnetic aerial survey capability to explore deep seated uranium deposits are being employed to enhance the uranium capacity. In addition, new mines are also being commissioned.

Nuclear Fuel Complex (NFC), an industrial unit of DAE, utilizes the uranium concentrates supplied by UCIL to fabricate PHWR's nuclear fuel assemblies. For the BWR's in Tarapur, NFC manufactures the fuel assemblies from imported uranium. NFC also supplies the required zircaloy components. Heavy water required for the initial charge and subsequent make-up requirements of the nuclear power plants are supplied by the Heavy Water Board of DAE.

Spent fuel from the PHWRs is reprocessed to extract the plutonium contained in it. Build up of plutonium inventory is vital for development of the second stage of the Indian nuclear power programme consisting of FBRs. The fuel reprocessing plants are set up by the BARC based on the technology developed by it. Power Reactor Fuel Reprocessing Plants at Tarapur and Kalpakkam are operational.

Processes for treating reactor-produced wastes have been established and plants meeting regulatory requirements have been in operation during the past several decades. This is also the case with waste generated from fuel reprocessing plants. The first waste immobilization plant at Tarapur is in service and a Solid Storage Surveillance Facility (S3F) has also been set up for interim storage of waste. A Waste Immobilisation Plant (WIP) has been installed at Trombay and another WIP is under commissioning at Kalpakkam. R&D work for ultimate disposal of high level and alpha bearing wastes in a repository is in progress.

2.8. Research and Development

2.8.1. R&D Organizations and Institutes

  • BARC is a national research centre for multidisciplinary R&D work in nuclear sciences, reactor engineering, reactor safety, nuclear fuel, control and instrumentation, material science, spent fuel reprocessing and radioactive waste management, development of radiation technology applications etc. R&D work on development of the AHWR is in progress at this Centre and the prototype unit is expected to be launched in a few years. Development works on plant life extension, ageing and in-service inspection are given due importance.

  • IGCAR is responsible for R&D related to development of FBR technology. Technology development for the first 500 MW (e) PFBR has been completed and the construction of the reactor at Kalpakkam is being done by a corporation ‘BHAVINI’ set up especially for this purpose. BHAVINI draws technical expertise from IGCAR and project management expertise from NPCIL.

  • Atomic Mineral Directorate for Exploration and Research (AMD) at Hyderabad is responsible for survey, exploration and prospecting of atomic minerals, etc.

  • Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology (RRCAT) and Variable Energy Cyclotron Centre (VECC) carry out advanced research in Lasers, Accelerators and their applications.

  • Institute of Plasma Research (IPR) undertakes research in Plasma Physics and associated technologies.

  • The other R&D institutions of the DAE are carrying out advanced research work in hi-tech areas such as biosciences etc. and also in basic sciences such as physics, chemistry, biology and mathematics.

  • Academic Institutions and Universities also extend R&D support in specific areas as per needs.

  • The Board of Research in Nuclear Sciences (BRNS) and the National Board of Higher Mathematics (NBHM) support research activities in national institutes and universities in the fields of nuclear science & technology and mathematics.

  • Homi Bhabha National Institute (HBNI) is a "Deemed to be University" which provides the linkage between basic research and technology development in DAE.

2.8.2. Development of Advanced Nuclear Power Technologies

A number of initiatives have been taken on the development of new reactor systems. The details are as follows:

  • All PHWRs beyond those presently under construction are proposed to be of 700 MWe unit size. Design work on scaling up the 540 MWe unit PHWR to 700 MWe by permitting partial boiling in the channels, has been completed. The construction of four such units has been in progress.

  • The construction of the first 500 MWe PFBR is nearing completion. This will signify the launch of the second stage FBR programme in the country.

  • The 300 MWe AHWR design has been completed. This is a technology demonstration project for large-scale utilisation of thorium for electricity generation.

2.8.3. International Co-operation and Initiatives

International co-operation is through multilateral mechanism with IAEA as well as through bilateral mechanisms. Under the aegis of the IAEA, India has trained a number of personnel, particularly from the developing countries. India has also hosted a number of workshops, seminars and training courses. The expertise of Indian scientists and engineers is made available to other countries through IAEA.

NPCIL is a member of WANO Tokyo Centre, WANO Atlanta Centre and Candu Owners Group (COG). Many Indian professional have participated in the workshops/seminars/training courses, conducted by these organisations. Also many Indian professional have participated as Reviewer / Lead Reviewer in the WANO Peer Review of Plants abroad. NPCIL teams have also visited other NPPs outside India under the Technical Exchange Visit (TEV) programme of WANO. Similarly NPCIL plants have also received TEV team from other NPPs worldwide.

The details on international, multilateral and Bilateral Agreements are given in Annex-1.

2.9. Human Resources Development

Realising the importance of having well trained scientists and engineers in achieving success in the programme, a training school at BARC was established in August 1957. Subsequently, when the training needs for the operating nuclear power stations arose, the Nuclear Training Centres (NTC) were set up by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL). To meet the expanding needs of Human Resources, Training Schools have also been set up at the Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology, Indore (2000) and Nuclear Fuel Complex, Hyderabad (2001). NTCs and training schools at Hyderabad and Indore are affiliated to the BARC Training School with respect to training of engineers and scientists. Thus, human resource development has been given high importance from the early stages by the DAE. It has been further strengthened by setting up the Homi Bhabha National Institute (HBNI), a "Deemed to be University'.


3.1. Safety Authority and the Licensing Process

The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) was formed in November 1983 by the Government of India in exercise of the powers conferred by the Atomic Energy Act of 1962, to carry out regulatory and safety functions as envisaged in the Act. As per its constitution, AERB has the power of the Competent Authority to enforce rules and regulations framed under the Atomic Energy Act for radiation safety in the country. AERB also has the authority to administer the provisions of the Factories Act, for industrial safety of the units of DAE. AERB has been delegated with powers to enforce some of the provisions of the Environmental Protection Act, at DAE installations. Prior to setting up of AERB, the DAE - Safety Review Committee (DAE-SRC) was carrying out these functions. DAE-SRC was supported by the Unit level Safety Committees.

Enforcement of safety related regulation at all nuclear facilities lies with the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB), empowered by the Government of India. The structure of the regulatory organisation is shown in Figure 2. The AERB conducts in-depth reviews so that nuclear facilities do not pose any radiological risk to the public and plant personnel. The authorisation process involves various major activities like site approval, construction, commissioning, operation and decommissioning. This process is an ongoing one starting with site selection and feasibility study, continuing through the construction and operation of the facility until the decommissioning of the plant. The applicant is required to provide all relevant information, such as safety principles, analysis, criteria and standards proposed for each major stages, and quality assurance demonstrating that the plant will not pose any undue radiological risks to site personnel and the public.

Figure 2. Organisational Chart of Atomic Energy Regulatory Board

AERB has advisory committees for site selection, design review and authorisation, and licenses for commissioning. The advisory committees are assisted by unit level safety committees, which undertake detailed safety assessments at the design and commissioning stages of nuclear facilities. AERB then issues its authorisation based on the recommendations of the advisory committee. Safety assessments during plant operation are done by the Safety Committee for Operating Plants (SARCOP). Authorisation is granted only for a limited period and further authorisation is required beyond that period. Authorisation also includes explicit conditions that the applicant must adhere to. AERB also ensures that all the nuclear facilities have put in place an emergency preparedness procedure and organisation.

3.2. National Laws and Regulations in Nuclear Power

The Atomic Energy Act 1962 is the main law. This Act is amended in 2015. The various activities relating to the Indian atomic energy programme are governed by this Act. A number of rules, codes, and regulations covering the entire nuclear fuel cycle have been defined by AERB as well as DAE under the Atomic Energy Act of 1962, for instance:


  • Atomic Energy (Arbitration procedure) Rules, 1983;

  • Atomic Energy (Working of mines, minerals and handling of prescribed substances) Rules, 1984;

  • Atomic Energy (Safe disposal of radioactive waste) Rules, 1987;

  • Atomic Energy (Factories) Rules, 1996;

  • Atomic Energy (Control of irradiation of foods) Rules, 1996.

  • Atomic Energy (Radiation Protection) Rules, 2004.


  • Prescribed substances, Prescribed equipment and Technology, 2006.

  • Guidelines for Nuclear Transfers (Exports), 2006.

Exports of Nuclear and nuclear related items are regulated under the following legislations:

  • Atomic Energy Act 1962.

  • Foreign Trade (Development and Regulations) Act 1992.

  • The weapons of Mass Destruction and their delivery systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Act 2005.


Country Profile of India 1995 - 96, Economist Intelligence Unit.
Annual Report 2004-05, 2005-06, 2015-16 Ministry of Power, Government of India
Annual Report 2004-05, 2005-06, Energy Statistics 2015 by Ministry of New and Renewable Energy
India 2002, A Reference Manual, Compiled and Edited by Research, Reference and Training Division, Publication Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India Division.
Annual Report 2004-05, 2005-06, 2015-16 Ministry of Coal
Annual Report 2004-05, 2014-15 Government of India, Department of Atomic Energy.
Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited Corporate Profile October 2015, Department of Atomic Energy.
Data & Statistics, The World Bank,
IAEA Energy and Economic Data Base (EEDB).
IAEA Power Reactor Information System (PRIS).


Amendment to the Article VI of the IAEA Statue
Entry into force:
28 December 1989
Amendment to the Article XIV of the IAEA Statute
Not ratified

Agreement on privileges and immunities
Entry into force:
10 March 1961
Additional protocol
Not signed

Supplementary agreement on provision of technical assistance by the IAEA
Non-Party; Text of agreement
handed over to authorities by
6 Oct. 1993
Entry into force:
6 July 1987
The Agency's assistance in furthering projects by the supply of materials
Entry into force:
9 December 1966

Safeguards transfer relating to the bilateral agreement with the United States of America
Entry into force:
27 January 1971
Safeguards transfer relating to the bilateral agreement with Canada; INFCIRC/211
Entry into force:
30 September 1971
Application of safeguards in connection with the supply of heavy water from the Soviet Union; INFCIRC/260
Entry into force:
17 November 1977
Application of safeguards in connection with the supply of a nuclear power station from the USSR; INFCIRC/360
Entry into force:
27 September 1988
Application of safeguards in connection with the supply of nuclear material from France INFCIRC/374
Entry into force:
11 October 1989
Agreement for the application of safeguards to all nuclear material subject to Agency Safeguards under
INFCIRC/154, Part 1 INFCIRC/433
INFCIRC/433/Mod. 1
Entry into force:
1 March 1994
12 September 1994
Improved procedures for designation of safeguards inspectors
Accepted on:
9 January 1989

Main Treaties or Agreements
Non Party

Convention on physical protection of nuclear material
Entry into force
11 April 2002
Convention on early notification of a nuclear accident
Entry into force:
28 February 1988
Convention on assistance in the case of a nuclear accident or radiological emergency
Entry into force:
28 February 1988
Vienna convention on civil liability for nuclear damage
Non Party

Paris convention on civil liability for nuclear damage

Joint protocol
Non Party

Protocol to amend the Vienna convention on civil liability
Not signed

Convention on Supplementary compensation for nuclear damage
Not signed

Convention on nuclear safety
20 September 1994
Joint convention on the safety of spent fuel management and the safety of radioactive waste management
Not signed

Agreement establishing the Asian Regional Co-operative Project on Food Irradiation
Entry into force:
23 May 1980
Memorandum of Understanding between the IAEA and the Department of Atomic Energy, Government of India, concerning strengthening of Co-operation in connection with the Agency's regional and inter-regional training events, individual and group fellowship programmes carried out as part of the Technical Co-operation Activities of the IAEA
May 2000

Other Relevant International Treaties, etc
Zangger Committee
Nuclear Export Guidelines
Export control system in place since 1948 when the Atomic Energy Act was passed by the Constituent Assembly
Acceptance of NUSS Codes regulatory
Summary: Valuable guidance for national requirements. Useful reference in safety assessments. India's regulatory requirements are generally consistent with codes. Aims to meet requirements although they are not binding. Letter of: 17 June 1988

Bilateral Agreements
Co-operation agreement concerning peaceful uses of nuclear energy
10 July 1962
Co-operation agreement concerning peaceful uses of nuclear energy
30 January 1965
Setting up of an Isotope Dispensation Unit at Kabul University
14 May 1966
Co-operation agreement concerning peaceful uses of nuclear energy
Czech Republic
9 November 1966
Co-operation agreement concerning peaceful uses of nuclear energy
5 October 1971
Co-operation agreement concerning peaceful uses of nuclear energy
28 March 1974
Co-operation agreement concerning peaceful uses of nuclear energy
9 September 1977
Co-operation agreement concerning peaceful uses of nuclear energy
Russian Federation
22 January 1979
Co-operation agreement concerning peaceful uses of nuclear energy
1 May 1980
Co-operation agreement concerning peaceful uses of nuclear energy
9 January 1981
Co-operation agreement concerning peaceful uses of nuclear energy
18 May 1985
Co-operation agreement concerning peaceful uses of nuclear energy
25 May 1986
Co-operation agreement concerning peaceful uses of nuclear energy
25 September 1990
Co-operation agreement concerning peaceful uses of nuclear energy
29 April 1991
Co-operation agreement concerning peaceful uses of nuclear energy
12 February 1992

Important Recent Agreements with Other Countries:

  1. Agreement between Government of India and Government of United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland for co-operation in the peaceful uses of Nuclear Energy (13-Nov-2015)

  2. Agreement between Government of India and Government of Sri Lanka on cooperation in peaceful uses of Nuclear Energy (16-Feb-2015)

  3. Agreement between Government of India and Government of Australia on cooperation in peaceful uses of Nuclear Energy  (05-Sep-2014)

  4. Agreement between Government of India and the Government of the Republic of Korea for co-operation in the peaceful uses of Nuclear Energy   (25-July-2011)

  5. Agreement between Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Government of the Republic of India for co-operation in the peaceful uses of Nuclear   Energy    (15-April-2011)

  6. Agreement between Government of India and Government of Argentina on cooperation in peaceful uses of Nuclear Energy (23-Sep-2010)  

  7. Agreement between Government of India and Government of Canada on cooperation in peaceful uses of Nuclear Energy (27-Jun-2010)

  8. Agreement between Government of the Republic of India and Government of the Russian Federation on cooperation in the use of Atomic Energy for peaceful purposes (12-Mar-2010)

  9. IAEA Safeguards Agreement (02-Feb-2009)

  10. Agreement between Government of India and USA on cooperation in peaceful uses of Nuclear Energy (10-Oct-2008)

  11. Agreement between Government of India and Government of France on cooperation in peaceful uses of Nuclear Energy (30-Sep-2008)


Atomic Energy Commission
Anushakti Bhavan, Mumbai -400 001, India
Tel: 91 22 2202 2543
Fax: 91 22 2204
Department of Atomic Energy (DAE)

Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC)
Tel: 91 22 2550 5050
Fax: 91 22 2550 5151 or 2551 9613
Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research
(IGCAR), Kalpakkam
Institute for Plasma Research, Gandhinagar
Institute of Physics, Bhubaneswar
Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics, Kolkata
Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai

Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology (CAT), Indore
Nuclear Science Centre, New Delhi

Variable Energy Cyclotron Centre (VECC), Kolkata

Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL)
Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Limited (BHAVINI)
Electronics Corporation of India Ltd (ECIL), Hyderabad
Heavy Water Board, Mumbai
Indian Rare Earths Ltd., Mumbai
Nuclear Fuel Complex, Hyderabad
Uranium Corporation of India Ltd.
Board of Radiation & Isotope Technology, Mumbai
Harish-Chandra Research Institute(HCRI), Allahabad
Tata Memorial Centre, Mumbai
The Institute of Mathematical Sciences Chennai
Central Power Research Institute (CPRI), Bangalore
Homi Bhabha National Institute, Mumbai

Name of report coordinator

Mr. RUDRARAJU Panduranga Raju,

Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC);

Department of Atomic Energy (DAE)

MUMBAI 400 085; Maharashtra; INDIA

Tel: 0091 22 25593852

Fax: 009122 255505151



Nuclear Controls and Planning Wing,

Department of Atomic Energy,

O.Y.C. Building, C.S.M. Marg,

Mumbai 400001, Maharashtra, India


Phone: (O) +91-22-22023864, 22862550

Telefax +91-22-22846759