"Finding land for nuclear power plants is difficult today. We have lots of sites where coal-based projects are planned. There is uncertainty over coal availability or it's becoming un-affordable and environmentally unviable. Enough land and water are available at these sites, which can be used for setting up nuclear plants," Sinha said at a nuclear energy summit on Thursday.
“Though this plan cannot be implemented immediately because of regulatory and safety regimes, there is a need to establish extraordinary levels of safety in new reactors to achieve this target,” he added.
According to safety norms, it is necessary to provide for 'exclusion-radius' which necessitates that people do not live in the radius of 1 km from the reactor, Sinha said.
"We need to establish the extraordinary levels of safety in the newer reactor designs which are now being implemented to make it safe for getting exemption from such large regulatory requirements," Sinha later said.
Sinha further added that this will be demonstrated first in the advanced heavy water reactor (AHWR) which is being designed and developed at the Bhabha Atomic Research Center (BARC) in Tarapur near Mumbai.
"The design is complete and we will start construction in the 12th Plan subject to land availability. This will meet the requirement of the era," he added.
The 300-mw AHWR is designed to use thorium instead of uranium for power generation. Sinha also spoke about need for working on economies and competitiveness of nuclear power price.
"Today we cannot consider nuclear energy being costlier in locations where electricity from other sources of power is cheaper. There is a need to adopt strategy to keep the cost affordable for states and profitable for power generating firm (NPCIL)," he said.


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