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Tata Projects bags USD 321 million order from NPCIL

NEW DELHI: Infrastructure firm Tata Projects Wednesday said it has bagged order worth around USD 321 million from Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL).

“This 2X700 MW power plant order valued around USD 321 million is the company’s third contract in the nuclear power sector,” Tata Projects said in a statement.

The scope of work involves construction of main plant buildings and structures, among others.

“Once completed, this project will provide much needed power supply…and ensure developmental initiatives receive an impetus. Tata Projects believes that nuclear projects provide a clean source of power thereby ensuring a more environment friendly future,” Tata Projects COO – Industrial Systems- Satyanarayana K said.

Nuclear power sector is a highly technology intensive industry wherein execution expertise is very essential, the company said in the statement.

As nuclear power remains critical to fulfilling India’s long-term energy requirements – the need for timely completion of such projects meeting world-class quality criteria is a prerequisite, it said.

Anil Kakodkar wants govt to follow France, China on nuclear power addition

Former chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission Anil Kakodkar has called for emulating France and China to add nuclear power capacity so that we become self-sufficient in energy.

The noted nuclear scientist while appreciating the ongoing efforts to augment nuclear power capacity, said the pace in which it needs to go forward is lacking.

“We need to ramp up our nuclear power capacities the way France or even for that matter, China did many years back,” Kakodkar told PTI in an interview on the sidelines of his book launch.

Stating that more energy consumption can improve the quality of life, he said this is needed more in rural areas. “But to achieve this it is necessary that cheaper power is made available. We need to explore all possible options to achieve our energy targets,” Kakodkar said.

The Department of Atomic Energy has set a target of 63 gw of installed nuclear power capacity by the turn of 2032.But the 22 operational nuclear power plants currently produces only 6,780 mw. Of this, 18 reactors are PHWRs (pressurised heavy water reactors) which all have 95 percent value addition done indigenously.

On the slow progress of the three-stage nuclear programme, Kakodkar said, “when it was formulated by Dr Homi Bhabha in the 1950s, uranium availability was very low but thorium was in abundance. The rationale of the programme is still valid but we need to see how things have changed over the years.”

Since most developed countries have nearly stopped adding nuclear capacities, uranium is available in abundance now, giving us an opportunity to explore to ramp up capacities faster by setting up more uranium-fuelled plants.

The first step of the three-stage programme involves building indigenously engineered PHWRs fueled by natural uranium. In the second stage, fast breeder reactors (FBRs) would use a mixed oxide fuel made from plutonium-239 which is recovered by reprocessing the spent fuel from the first stage and natural uranium, and the third stage includes an advanced nuclear power system involving a mix of thorium-232 and uranium-233-fuelled reactors.

It may be noted that the government has already approved a plan to develop 10 new indigenous PHWRs by the Nuclear Power Corporation.

“We are moving in the right direction but then the willingness and the aggression has to be there. We cannot depend on fossil fuels or other renewable sources like solar, wind and hydro, to meet the huge energy demand. What we need is a mix of everything,” the Padma Vibhushan awardee added.

The government has set a target of 175 gw from renewables by 2022, of which nearly 100 gw are expected to come from solar. As of end June, 80.46 gw of renewables has been installed.

Over the weekend, AEC chairman KN Vyas launched a book: ‘Fire and Fury: Transforming India’s Strategic Identity’, penned by Kakodkar and Suresh Gangotra, the senior technical advisor to the AEC chairman. The book chronicles the many inflection points of the nation’s nuclear programme through the eyes of the noted nuclear scientist.

US adds Chinese chipmaker, oil giant to security blacklist

BEIJING: The U.S. government has stepped up a feud with Beijing over security by adding China’s biggest processor chip maker and a state-owned oil giant to a blacklist that limits access to American technology and investment.

Thursday’s announcement adds to steps taken by President Donald Trump against China since losing his re-election bid Nov. 3. Political analysts have said Trump was likely to take further action before President-elect Joe Biden takes office Jan. 20.

The Pentagon added four companies including Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. and China National Offshore Oil Corp. to a list of entities deemed to be part of efforts to modernize the ruling Communist Party’s military wing, the People’s Liberation Army. That raises the total number of companies on the blacklist to 35.

SMIC plays a leading role in the ruling party’s effort to reduce reliance on U.S. and other foreign technology by creating Chinese suppliers of processor chips and other components.

China’s government has criticized such restrictions as an abuse of national security arguments to handicap fledgling Chinese competitors in technology and other fields.

That has taken on greater urgency after Washington blocked access to American chips and other technology for telecom equipment giant Huawei Technologies Ltd. and imposed curbs on other Chinese buyers. The White House also has blocked the use of U.S. technology by global vendors to produce chips for Huawei.

CNOOC is the smallest of China’s three main state-owned oil producers.

Political analysts expect little change in policy under Biden due to widespread frustration with China’s trade and human rights records and accusations of spying and technology theft.

The 2.3 million-member PLA is one of the world’s biggest and best-armed militaries. It is spending heavily to develop nuclear submarines, stealth fighters, ballistic missiles and other advanced weapons.

The Pentagon’s first list of 20 companies deemed to be PLA-linked in June included Huawei and video surveillance provider HikVision Digital Technology Co. Both say they never have taken part in military-related research.

Also cited by the Pentagon in earlier lists are state-owned phone carriers China Telecom Corp. and China Unicom Ltd. and petrochemical, construction, aerospace, rocketry, shipbuilding and nuclear power equipment companies.