With unit 4 of the Kaiga nuclear power plant in Karnataka state reaching first criticality on 27 November, India now has 20 nuclear power reactors in operation. Environmental approval for the construction of a new six-unit plant in Maharastra state has also been given.
Kaiga 4 is a 220 MWe indigenously-designed pressurized heavy water reactor (PHWR), similar to the three units already in operation at the site.
|First criticality of Kaiga 4 is recorded by Dr S Banerjee, secretary of the Department of Atomic Energy and chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission (Image: NPCIL)
The reactor will be synchronized to the grid after carrying out certain mandatory tests early next month, Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) said. Electricity generated by Kaiga 4 will be supplied to the southern Indian states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Pudducherry.
Kaiga 4 is the third nuclear power reactor to have started operating this year – the others being units 5 and 6 of the Rajasthan Atomic Power Project (RAPP). India now has installed nuclear generating capacity of 4780 MWe and ranks sixth in the world – behind the USA, France, Japan, Russia and South Korea - in terms of the number of reactors in operation, according to NPCIL.
Further reactors are nearing completion in India. Two 1000 MWe light water reactors (LWRs) at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu, as well as the 500 MWe Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR) at Kalpakkam, also in Tamil Nadu, are at advanced stages of completion, NPCIL said. In addition, construction of four indigenously designed 700 MWe PHWRs – two each at Kakrapar in Gujarat and Rawatbhata in Rajasthan – is set to begin during the current year. With the completion of all these plants, India’s nuclear generating capacity will reach 7280 MWe by 21012, and 10,080 MWe by 2017. NPCIL’s goal is to have 20,000 MWe of installed nuclear generating capacity by 2020 and 63,000 MWe of capacity by 2032.
Approval for Jaitapur
Meanwhile, India's Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has granted environmental clearance for the construction of the Jaitapur nuclear power plant in Maharastra state on the country's west coast, about 250 kilometres south of Mumbai.
The Jaitapur plant could host up to six of Areva's EPR nuclear power units, each with a generating capacity of 1650 MWe. The reactors will be built in pairs over a 15-17 year period. The first unit is expected to begin operating by 2018.
In a statement, NPCIL said: "With the environmental clearance, an important milestone for the project implementation, NPCIL can now proceed with the further activities associated with the setting up of these reactors."
A memorandum of understanding to cooperate on the construction of the Jaitapur plant was signed by NPCIL and Areva in February 2009. An agreement to construct the plant could be signed during a visit by French President Nicholas Sarkozy to India in December. The final contracts are expected to be signed in the first half of 2011.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News