With the first concrete casting for a 700 MW atomic power plant at Kaiga in Karnataka scheduled for 2023, India is poised to undertake motion construction activities for 10 ‘fleet mode’ nuclear reactors over the next three years.
The first concrete pouring (FPC) marks the start of construction of the nuclear power reactor from the pre-project stage which includes excavation activities at the project site.
“FPC of Kaiga 5 & 6 units is expected in 2023; FPC Gorakhpur Haryana Anu Vidyut Praiyonjan units 3 & 4 and Mahi Banswara Rajasthan Atomic Power Project units 1 to 4 are expected in 2024; and the Chutka Madhya Pradesh Atomic Power project unit 1 & 2 in 2025, ”a Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) official told a Parliamentary panel on science and technology.
The center has approved the construction of 10 originally developed heavy water pressurized reactors (PHWRs) with 700 MW each in June 2017. The ten PHWRs will be built at a cost of Rs 1.05 lakh crore.
It is the first time the government has approved the construction of 10 nuclear power reactors at once with the aim of reducing costs and speeding up construction time.
Bulk procurement is underway for the fleet mode project with purchase orders made for SS 304L steam generator forging, tubes and lattice plates for end protectors, pressure forging, bloody condenser forging, incoloy-800 tubes for 40 steam generators, reactor headers, DAE officials said. Engineering, procurement and construction packages for the turbine island have been awarded for Gorakhpur units three and four and Kaiga units five and six, they added.
Under fleet mode, a nuclear power plant is expected to be built within five years from the first pouring of concrete.
Currently, India operates 22 reactors with a total capacity of 6780 MW in operation. A 700 MW reactor at Kakrapar in Gujarat was connected to the grid on January 10 last year, but it has yet to start commercial operations.
PHWR, which uses natural uranium as fuel and heavy water as a moderator, has emerged as the mainstay of India’s nuclear energy program.
India’s first pair of PHWRs of 220 MW each were established at Rawatbhata in Rajasthan in the 1960s with Canadian support. The second reactor had to be built with important domestic components as Canada withdrew support following India’s peaceful nuclear test in 1974.
A total of 14 PHWRS 220 MW each with standard design and improved safety measures have been built by India over the years. Indian engineers further improved the design to increase the power generation capacity to 540 MWe, and two such reactors have been operating at Tarapur in Maharashtra.
Further optimizations were carried out to increase the capacity to 700 MWe.