How the country plans to add 20 new nuclear power reactors to its green energy arsenal.
Illustration: Generated with Bing AI
India is pouring billions of dollars — received primarily through pledges from private investors and international alliances — into its nuclear ambitions.
Part of the national commitment was meeting half of its electricity requirements — about 500 gigawatts — through renewable energy by 2030. To meet these goals, the country plans to “commission a new nuclear reactor every year,” B.C. Pathak, chairman of the state nuclear corporation, told The Hindu.
A series of high-profile nuclear disasters, from Chernobyl in 1986 to Fukushima in 2011, led to widespread anti-nuclear sentiment globally.
But India’s newfound zeitgeist in nuclear energy production comes at a time when the industry is experiencing renewed trust and favor.
Investments in India’s renewable energy sector rose to a record $14.5 billion between 2021 and 2022, funded primarily through private investors.
Despite pledges made at conferences, cheap and reliable energy remains the priority for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government as it prepares for elections.
India’s primary response to criticism of its policies is that the primary responsibility for action lies more on the U.S. and other developed nations in cutting down their own emissions while aiding budding economies.
Climate change is an immediate concern for India: a choking smog blankets the national capital and much of northern India each winter, and the country is growing increasingly vulnerable to heat waves and ‘day zero‘.
With India working toward finding a middle ground between cutting emissions and fueling economic growth, the country “will not be able to survive completely without coal.”
Instead, it looks to launch green initiatives that account for its upcoming growth in energy demand without putting extensive amounts of carbon into the world.
Advances in nuclear technology and climate laws have firmly placed nuclear power at the center of the renewable energy conversation: Twenty-two countries and over 120 companies have pledged to triple their nuclear energy capacity by 2050.
Despite a recent nuclear power breakthrough in the U.S., producing a nuclear fusion reaction resulting in a net energy gain, the world has to rely on nuclear fission and other renewables in the short term.