India ready to export reactors

23 September 2010

Overseas vendors may be keen to sell India their reactor technology, but the country is ready to export its own pressurised heavy water reactors (PHWRs).

In India's statement to the 54th General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, Indian Atomic Energy Commission chairman Srikumar Banerjee said that Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) is "ready to offer Indian PHWRs of 220 MWe or 540 MWe for export." Furthermore, he said, Indian industry is also "on the way" to becoming a competitive supplier of special steels, large size forgings, control instruments, software and other nuclear components and services on the global market.
India was largely excluded from international trade in nuclear plant or materials for over three decades because of its position outside the international Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT). In that time, the country developed an indigenous nuclear power program based around PHWRs but a 2008 decision by the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers' Group in recognition of India's impeccable non-proliferation credentials opened the door to international nuclear trade.
India's long-term nuclear power plans have been for a three-stage program which should enable it eventually to utilise its large reserves of thorium to fuel its reactors. The country is still dedicated to this plan for PHWRs, followed by fast breeder reactors, ultimately followed by advanced heavy water reactors. However, now it has the scope to source both reactors and fuel from overseas, light water reactors are starting to figure in Indian plans as a means to expand its nuclear capacity more rapidly. Two Russian-designed pressurised water reactors are under construction at Kudankulum, with plans for more to follow, and other light-water reactor vendors are also pencilled in among India's nuclear expansion plans.
Meanwhile, work on four indigenous 750 MWe PHWR units - two each at Rawatbhata in Rajastan and Kakrapar in Gujarat - is under way and first concrete is planned for later this year, Banerjee told the IAEA.
The country is also expanding its uranium enrichment capacity, based on already established indigenous technology, to help meet the needs of its light water reactors, Banerjee said. The country has also started engineering activities towards the establishment of an Integrated Nuclear Recycle Plant, with facilities for spent fuel reprocessing and waste management, he added.


Researched and written

by World Nuclear News