India aims to attract $26bn investment in nuclear energy

The government is in talks with five companies willing to invest 440 billion rupees ($5.3 billion) each, Reuters news agency reported.

This is the first time that private investment has been used to develop nuclear power in India.

Under the financing plan, firms can acquire sites and build any nuclear power plant, except units. The state-owned Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) will be responsible for building them, as well as operating the plants and handling the nuclear fuel - by law, only it is authorised to do so. Private investors will receive income from the sale of electricity, while NPCIL will manage the nuclear power plants for a fee.

NPCIL now has seven plants with a combined capacity of 7.5 GW in operation, and the corporation intends to finance the construction of another 1.3 GW of capacity itself.

India wants to increase the share of carbon-free power generation from 42 per cent to 50 per cent by 2030. At present, the Reuters piece said, nuclear power accounts for only about 2 per cent.