India to have its first coal-fired AUSC plant by 2017

Kalpakkam (TN): India's first 800MW coal-fired Advanced Ultra Supercritical (AUSC) power plant will be operational by 2017 which will help reduce operational costs and emit less carbon dioxide than existing similar units, reports PTI.

The AUSC will have 5% more efficiency than the existing thermal plants and help in 12% savings in coal thus reducing the overall amount of carbon dioxide emission, Dr SC Chetal, director, Reactor Engineering Group of IGCAR and a distinguished scientist told PTI.

A joint effort of Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR), Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) and National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), the Advanced Ultra Supercritical power plant will be the first such indigenous plant, he said.

BHEL is a state-owned engineering and manufacturing enterprise while NTPC is a state-owned power generating company.

"At present there is no AUSC plant operating in the world and we will back the first indigenous AUSC with strong research and development (R&D) with IGCAR's expertise in design, materials and manufacturing technologies of the fast breeder reactor," Mr Chetal said.

Presentation of the project has already been made to prime minister Manmohan Singh and "we are waiting for the approval for R&D funds which is expected to come soon," he said.

Of the total cost of Rs7,000 crore of the project, Rs2,500 crore will be spent on research and development and public sector units, sources said.

IGCAR, BHEL and NTPC signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for AUSC system in August last year.

The advanced ultra super-critical boilers, to be designed and developed by IGCAR, will be able to operate at a pressure of 300 kg per sq cm and 700 degree centigrade temperature, Mr Chetal said.

This kind of very high temperature and pressure will improve the steam cycle efficiency, which in turn means that for a given electrical output there will be less consumption of fuel (coal) and less release of carbon dioxide, he said.

After developing this technology, India will be one of the leaders in the world in terms of thermal power plant technologies, the scientist said.

"Once we are able to built and operate the AUSC, it is possible to decrease the cost of the coal-fired supercritical thermal plants in the country," he said.

The existing supercritical plants use imported technology. A large number of operating plants in the country (BHEL-NTPC) are of subcritical type running at 170 kg per sq cm pressure and 540 degree celsius.

Recently, India has introduced supercritical thermal plants-of 660MW and 800MW running at 565 degree Celsius in the mainstream line and with a supercritical pressure of 250 kg per sq cm.

India is planning to have 58 units based on supercritical plants from the 12th Five Year Plan onwards. But these plants are being built under foreign collaboration with large import content.

"Therefore, taking the step of building one AUSC plant and establishing in the country, it will be possible to reduce the foreign import content and thus reduce the cost of the plants," Mr Chetal said.


Pipeline repairs to take 4-5 days: ONGC

New Delhi: State-owned exploration and petroleum major Oil and Natural Gas Corporation on Sunday said it will repair the pipeline that caused an oil spill some 80-km off the Mumbai coast in 4-5 days, reports PTI.

"The line is expected to be repaired and normal flow restored in four to five days," the company said two days after the leak was detected and plugged.

There are "no visible signs of oil slick on the sea surface near the site of pipeline leakage," it said, adding, "However, two Coast Guard vessels are at site for surveillance and monitoring."

ONGC resumed oil production from its Mumbai High fields by using an alternative sub-sea pipeline hours after the production was halted due to a leak in Mumbai Uran Trunk crude pipeline on Friday.

The company said operations at oilfields were nearly normal and that the fields were presently producing at the rate of 300,000 barrels per day as against normal level of 320,000 bpd.

ONGC's multi-support vessel 'Samudra Prabha', equipped with repair assessment facilities and divers had located the leakage point.

"The most probable reason of leakage is fouling of the anchor wire rope of a construction barge working in the vicinity, with the sub-sea valve assembly of Mumbai High Trunk (MUT) line," ONGC said.

"Cleaning of the area with high pressure jets is underway to ascertain the extent of damage. All the required material for repairs is available on board multi-purpose support vessels (MSVs). The line is expected to be repaired and normal flow restored in four to five days," it added.


Max ‘FLEXI Fortune’ ULIP: Flexibility comes at a price

Is it becoming a trend to use the premium payment term as a backdoor entry for ‘cover continuance’? While flexibility is the proposition for the new FLEXI Fortune plan, the ticket size for a 10-year policy term is high and so are the charges for longer-term policies

HDFC Life was the first to announce a flexible premium payment term facility. Now, Max New York Life (MNYL) has come up with its own flexible features like life cover, policy term, investment strategy and of course the premium payment term.

MNYL has packaged all this in its new 'FLEXI Fortune' ULIP, that appears to be yet another case of a backdoor entry of 'cover continuance', which was apparently eased out by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) under the new rules for ULIPs in September 2010.

FLEXI Fortune offers a life cover of 10/20/30 times annualised premium, policy term options of 10/15/20 years, seven investment fund options, and a flexible premium payment term of 5 pay/10 pay/15 pay.

According to Abhinav Rahul, vice-president - corporate communication, Max New York Life Insurance, "If a policyholder takes a 20-year term policy, under the terms of the policy the premium payment term cannot be beyond 15 years. After 15 years, the policy will not be discontinued, even though there is no premium payment. The funds remain invested in equity/debt and insurance cover continues from year 16 to 20. Moreover, the plan has a 'settlement option' wherein the policyholder can decide to extend the policy term by a further 5 years. In this example, the policyholder can extend the term from 20 to 25 years and still remain invested in equity/debt from year 21 to 25."

The plan also has a 'Progressive Auto Cover Enhancement' (PACE), which the company claims is the first of its kind. This increases the sum assured automatically by 10%, starting from the 2nd year and without any increase in premium. But this will lead to increased mortality charges for policyholders. Mr Rahul said, "The mortality charges for a policyholder aged 30 on a policy term of 10 years is 1.67 for every Rs1,000 sum assured.  This will remain constant every year for 10 years of the policy term for the initial sum assured. However, in FLEXI Fortune, the sum assured keeps increasing by 10% every year (PACE) to meet the growing protection need. The policyholder will have to pay additional mortality charges for this addition to the sum assured."  

The flip side of the constant mortality charge during the policy term is that it is high so that it averages out the risk over the policy term. Moreover, the mortality charges are higher for longer plan terms. For example, the mortality charges for the 15-year plan is greater than that for the 10-year plan, and mortality charge for the 20-year plan is greater than that for the 15-year plan.

Another worthwhile feature is the 'settlement option'. The customer may choose to defer his maturity in adverse market conditions by increasing his policy term by a maximum of five years without paying any further premium. This also allows for maximizing returns as it operates like a pure investment tool in the extended period. The percentage of the payout will then be equally divided in the number of years opted for by the customer. There will be no life insurance provided during the settlement period.

The premium allocation charge is 5% for the first year and 4% thereafter. The policy administration charge is Rs960 per annum for a 10-year term and Rs600 for 15/20 years. It will inflate @5% per annum compounded annually, from the second year of the policy. The policy administration charge is higher for the 10-year term than for other policy terms. The ticket size for a 10-year policy is also much higher than for other policy terms. The other important charges like premium allocation charge and policy administration charge are in line with new ULIPs for a five-year period, on the higher side for 10 years and very high beyond 10 years (on a comparison for an average ticket size of Rs24,000).

Announcing the new plan, Rajesh Sud, chief executive officer and managing director, Max New York Life Insurance, said, "We are excited to offer life insurance products that respond realistically to consumers needs. MNYL has designed FLEXI Fortune keeping in mind the varied needs of different people. The product offers customers the flexibility to choose the policy tenure and the protection multiple that best suits their goals-whether it be savings, retirement or family security.

"At the same time, it also offers tools to manage good returns without taking undue risks through seven different fund options. With the growing need for adequate financial planning to meet requirements at different stages in life, it is important that people invest in instruments that are bundled with features, which help to maximise returns. Launching FLEXI Fortune is a natural progression in our journey to offer the consumer a complete choice of growth-oriented savings to suit various needs."

Entry and maturity age: Minimum age at entry is seven years and the maximum age is 50 years; maximum age at maturity is 70 years.

Premium payment term/policy term: 5 pay for 10-year term; 10 pay for 15-year term; 15 pay for 20-year term.

Premium payment mode: Annual, semi-annual, quarterly and monthly (quarterly and monthly modes are allowed through ECS only).

Minimum premium: Rs50,000 for 5 pay for 10-year term, for others Rs24,000 (annual) or Rs36,000 (semi-annual, quarterly and monthly).

Maximum premium: Rs1,00,000

Level of protection: For age less than 30 years - 10/20/30 times AP; 31 to 40 years - 10/20 times AP; 41 to 50 - 10 times AP (where AP is annualised premium).

Riders offered: Personal accident benefit, against dreaded diseases.



Madhusudan Thakkar

6 years ago

I don't once again understand logic of Raj Pradhan of so called "BACK DOOR" concept.Does he believe that cover should lapse even if there is enough fund value?As regards to mortality charge greater in case of long term ,the same is prevalent case in term policies also.This is also one of the better ULIP plan[especially for PACE feature] after HDFC Life.Are Kamesh Goyals and Punit Nandas listening?


Raj Pradhan

In Reply to Madhusudan Thakkar 6 years ago

The ULIPs pre Sep 1 had 'cover continuance'. This feature was eased out by IRDA for new ULIPs. Either you keep paying premium every year or policy is discontinued. The 'premium payment term' is another way to bring back 'cover continuance'. In old ULIPs one could pay premium for lock-in period & enjoy 'cover continuance'. In new ULIPs they have to pay till the predefined 'premium payment term' and then enjoy 'cover continuance' till end of policy term.

Madhusudan Thakkar

In Reply to Raj Pradhan 6 years ago

This is precisely my point.The feature of "COVER CONTINUANCE" is good for policy holders.There are many "LIMITED PREMIUM PAYMENT" plans in traditional plans also.Furthermore there are also some plans where life cover continues up to 100 years even when policies have matured.So why this discrimination for ULIPs?.The basic features of ULIPs should be FLEXIBILITY,LIQUIDITY and TRANSPARENCY.The new rule of IRDA is muddle-headed and feeble- minded.HDFC Life and Max New York Life example should be followed by other companies also.

Raj Pradhan

In Reply to Madhusudan Thakkar 6 years ago

I agree

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