India and Canada: Opportunities for Nuclear Growth
It’s a storied history and one that dates back to the 1960s. Today, India and Canada are entering a new chapter in nuclear development. They are the two largest countries that rely on CANDU technology, a reactor that uses heavy water. Like regular water, heavy water is made up of hydrogen and oxygen, but each hydrogen atom contains a neutron, which makes it relatively heavier.
This provides huge opportunities for collaboration and innovation between the two countries to advance and improve upon current technologies according to Justin Hannah, director, external relations for CANDU/SNC Lavalin.
“India has 18 power reactors based on CANDU designs, meaning Canada is well positioned to service the fleet, help with life extension and work with India to develop the next generation of reactors together.”
It’s an important step. According to a recent report from the World Bank, “about 300 million people still do not have access to electricity, and even those who have access to electricity do not get reliable supply, particularly in rural areas.”
Electrification is key to bring people out of poverty and the two countries working together to develop parallel technology, means the production of more efficient reactors and the elimination of blackouts while providing more CO2 free power.
“Every megawatt of nuclear displaces coal,” says Hannah.
A developing middle class and a booming population have put further strains on the current power grid. A grid that is heavily reliant on coal.
According to the World Nuclear Association (WNA), energy consumption in India more than doubled between 1990 and 2011. In order to further reduce GHG emissions and meet power demands, India is forecast to grow nuclear power in the next 35 years. This will allow India to meet a quarter of its power demands through nuclear, which means global opportunities to take safety, design and economics to the next level.
December 2015 marked the first shipment of Canadian uranium to India. Under the deal, Canada will supply over 7 million pounds of uranium to India valued at over a quarter of a billion dollars.