Chennai, May 30 (IANS) The rupee depreciation will not impact the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) as it has already imported the required quantities of uranium, said a top company official.
"We do not import on monthly basis. We have already imported the required quantities of uranium and the rupee depreciation will not impact us," S.K. Jain, NPCIL chairman and managing director (CMD) told IANS, ahead of laying down office Thursday.
According to Jain, tariffs are not affected due to rise in fuel costs or rupee depreciation. The fuel cost in a nuclear power project constitutes just a fifth of generation cost.
"We have 10 years' fuel for the Kudankulam reactors and it is stored in just one room," Jain said.
The first unit of two 1,000 MW atomic power reactor at Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) is expected to start power generation some time next month, while the commercial production is expected to happen this August, said Jain.
"The process of removing the dummy fuel will be over in couple of days and the real fuel will be loaded after that. The KNPP power will be sold at Rs.2.65 per unit despite the delay and the consequent increase in the project cost," Jain said.
"However, the exact rate at which the Kudankulam power would be sold will be known only after the reactor is commissioned and full capacity is reached," he added.
Stressing the importance of nuclear power to secure the energy needs of the country, Jain said thermal power is polluting while solar and wind power are uncertain.
"The success of solar power in India is a big question mark given the dust levels. Dust will settle on the solar panels which have to be cleaned," Jain said.
Queried about his post retirement plans, Jain categorically said that he will not join any private sector company.
Jain has served the country's atomic power establishment for 42 years and as the head honcho of NPCIL from 2004.
During his tenure as NPCIL's chief managing director, six nuclear reactors were commissioned and eight got modernised.
Terming KNPP as his baby, Jain was involved deeply in the 123 agreement with the United States.
According to him, it was a challenging and satisfying period. The challenge was to meet the fuel shortage with more reactors getting commissioned, while fuel production did not match the requirement.
"Though 27 kg of uranium is required to generate one million units of power, in view of the fuel shortage, we brought it down to 18 kg for a million units through innovative ways," he said.
Jain also looks back with satisfaction at floating the concept of public-public-partnership in the atomic field with NPCIL signing three joint ventures with three public sector companies - NTPC, Indian Oil Corporation and NALCO.