India's nuclear powered railway

She'll be riding split-up atoms when she comes!
Written by Mark Halper, Contributor
She'll be riding split-up atoms when she comes!


The diesel fuel that drives many of India's trains is costing the country a fortune, so the national railway company has a plan: It will build dedicated nuclear plants to power an increasingly electrified system.

Indian Railways is talking with another government entity, Nuclear Power Corporation, about building new reactors at existing nuclear sites that would distribute electricity exclusively to the rail network, The Times of India reported recently.

Railways spent 150 billion rupees ($2.4 billion) on diesel fuel last year as the cost of diesel soared. Its electricity bill was considerably less - 80 billion rupees ($1.3 billion) - even though electric locomotives hauled 65 percent of all railway freight traffic and 50 percent of passenger traffic.

"Among the strategies being worked out by railways is to increase electrification of tracks, increase production of electric locomotives and to set up captive power plants to ensure adequate and cheap power," the paper reported.

India's nuclear push will also reduce the railway system's carbon emissions, since nuclear power production emits no CO2.

The move echoes a recent development in the UK, where national infrastructure company Network Rail signed up for 10 years of nuclear electricity from utility EDF.

Photo of the Decca Queen Mumbai-to-Pune train from HarshWCAM3 via Wikimedia

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This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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