Kaiga 1 completes record-breaking run

02 January 2019

Unit 1 of India's Kaiga nuclear power plant was taken offline on 31 December having completed a record 962 unbroken days of operation since 13 May 2016.

Kaiga units 1 and 2 (Image: Department of Atomic Energy)

On 10 December, the indigenously designed pressurised heavy water reactor (PHWR) broke the previous world record for continuous operation. The previous record holder was unit 2 of the UK's Heysham II plant, an advanced gas-cooled reactor (AGR) which had completed an unbroken 940 days in service when it was taken offline for a scheduled maintenance outage in September 2016.

Both PHWRs and AGRs are designed to be refuelled without being shut down.

Kaiga 1 was taken offline at around 11:00pm on 31 December for scheduled inspections and maintenance, Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) announced the following day.

"During its continuous run of 962 days, the unit generated about 5 billion units of electricity at a plant load factor of about 99.3%," the company noted.

Kaiga, in Karnataka, is home to four Indian-designed 220 MWe PHWRs. Kaiga 1 began commercial operation in 2000. In October, the unit set a new world record for continuous operation of a PHWR when it completed its 895th day of continuous operation. The previous record for a PHWR was set in 1994 by Canada's Pickering unit 7, with an unbroken run of 894 days' operation.

Three of NPCIL's reactors - Kaiga 1, Rajasthan unit 3 and Rajasthan 5 - have now achieved continuous operating runs of over two years, the company said. Rajasthan 3 operated for 777 days, while unit 5 at the same plant completed a run of 765 days.

"The record unbroken run of 962 days further demonstrates the pre-eminence of NPCIL in the design, construction and operation of PHWRs with unprecedented levels of efficiency and safety," the company said. "A synergistic partnership forged between public sector enterprises and the industry partners in the private sector has been instrumental in gaining wide ranging experience and expertise and developing world class technology in this domain, which is now being fruitfully leveraged towards the expansion of the nuclear power programme of the country."

NPCIL added, "The commendable role played by the Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Ltd, Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd and Southern Regional Load Despatch Centre by providing stable electrical grid conditions over years of operation thereby preventing tripping of the reactor has also been a crucial contributor towards achieving this milestone."

Researched and written by World Nuclear News