June 4, 2014 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s state-run Ceylon Electricity Board has included nuclear power for the first time as a possible power generation option in 2031 in its latest study of long term generation capacity. CEB long term generation plan has studied nearly 20 different scenarios along with a base case scenario with the lowest which will be immediately implemented.
Nuclear power has been included in a situation where coal power has been restricted to 60 percent of the total in the system and a diversification into different types of energy.
“Nuclear plants are inherently large compared to other technologies for power generation,” the 2013-2032 Long Term General Plan said.
“Capacity of the present system is too small to accommodate a Nuclear power plant.
However cabinet approval has been given to consider nuclear as an option to meet the future energy demand and also to consider Nuclear Power in the generation planning exercise and to carry out a pre feasibility study on the Nuclear Option.
“Nuclear option was included in this study as a candidate plant from year 2030 onwards.”
The CEB said a proposal had been given to the International Atomic Energy Agency for technical assistance.
Initially a 600MegaWatt plant has been included in the study, which is relatively small. Nuclear power complexes run into several thousand MegaWatts in most countries.
Tilak Siyambalapitiya, a power sector specialist and former generation planner said running nuclear plants are complex and new skills including in nuclear medicine are needed.
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To start a plant is 2030, Sri Lanka has to begin work on many aspects of the plant now, he said, so the deadline may be too optimistic.
The CEB also needs specialists to run such a plant. At the moment the CEB is gaining capacity to run coal power plants.