Reeling under financial problems, the railways plans to set up captive nuclear power plants that will help it sharply cut its fuel bill and contribute to energy security. “We are in talks with Nuclear Power Corporation (NPC) to set up plants at existing sites,” Railway Board member (electrical) Kul Bhushan said. The transporter will sign an MoU with NPC and is also exploring options in UP, Haryana, Karnataka and TN.
The move is part of the railways’ strategy to revisit its energy usage after hikes in diesel price for bulk users. The railways spent Rs 8,000 crore on electricity and Rs 15,000 crore on diesel in 2012-13. The larger share of work is done by electric locomotives. Around 65% of freight and 50% of passenger traffic is carried using such locomotives.
Among the strategies being worked are to increase electrification of tracks, increase production of electric locomotives and to set up captive plants to ensure adequate and cheap power. The railways pays Rs 5.4 for a unit of electricity and hopes to get power at Rs 4 or less from its plants.The first phase of its power plant at Nabi Nagar, Bihar, may be operational by May 2014.