More than 20 survivors were battling for their lives with severe burns following Wednesday's blast in a newly-operated unit at the 1,550-megawatt plant run by state-owned NTPC, officials in Uttar Pradesh state said.
Officials said numerous injured had severe burns.
According to police, the pressure inside the ash pipe triggered the blast of the boiler.
"Total number of casualties could go up once the blades of the boiler are cut", the state's police said, adding that 18 people have been confirmed dead by the district administration.
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Khatri said the cause of the accident wasn't immediately known.
In a statement, the National Human Rights Commission said an investigation was needed to ascertain whether negligence or errors had caused the explosion, and asked the state government to submit a detailed report within six weeks.
The plant supplies electricity to nine states in India but the company said outages were unlikely because other facilities would make up for the shortfall.
The explosion occurred on the afternoon of November 1 at the newly-commissioned 500-megawatt unit of the plant, releasing gases and steam, India's biggest electricity producer said in an emailed statements.
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The unit was the sixth at NTPC and was commissioned on March 31 this year, a senior official said.
NTPC in a statement described the incident as "unfortunate".
"NTPC family expresses deep grief, support and condolence for the deceased workers who contributed towards providing 24x7 power to all".
Officials said the explosion took place in the boiler which is filled with water in tubes which are heated.
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