The natural fuel value of Indian coal is poor. On average, the Indian power plants using coal consume about 0.7 kg of coal to generate a kWh, whereas US thermal power plants consume about 0.45 kg of coal per kWh.
The high ash content in India’s coal affects the thermal power plant’s potential emissions resulting into the Ministry of Environment & Forests’ reluctance to clear several new plants unless they promise to reduce the ash content to a maximum of 34 per cent.
India’s installed capacity using nuclear fuels to generate electricity as of 2011 was 4.8 GW. India’s nuclear plants generated 32455 million units or 3.75 per cent of total electricity produced in India though nuclear power plant development began in India as back as 1964.
Nuclear power plants are currently operating in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. These reactors have an installed electricity generation capacity between 100 to 540 MW each.
New reactors with installed capacity of 1000 MW per reactor are expected to be in use by 2012. India’s share of nuclear power generation capacity is just 1.2 per cent which is expected to grow to nine per cent of its total power requirements by 2032 only.