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Nuclear reactors in India

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told Parliament on MARCH 15, 2011 that the country's atomic energy establishment had been asked to undertake an immediate review of all safety systems of India's nuclear power plants to ensure that they would be able to withstand the impact of earthquakes and tsunamis .India has 20 operating nuclear reactors with an installed capacity of 4,780MW. Eighteen are indigenous pressurised heavy water reactors, and two are boiling water reactors of the type in Fukushima. Singh said Indian nuclear reactors had met safety standards in the past. The Kakrapar atomic power station continued to operate safely during the Bhuj earthquake of January 2002 and the Madras Atomic Power Station was safely shutdown during the tsunami of December 2004.

Nuclear Reactor in Rajasthan

Nuclear Reactor Kalpakkam

The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd

The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) is responsible for design, construction, commissioning and operation of thermal nuclear power plants. The Atomic Energy Commission oversees Indias nuclear power industry. It has 14 small and one mid-sized nuclear power reactors in commercial operation, nine under construction - including two large ones and a fast breeder reactor, and more planned. The Atomic Energy Establishment was set up at Trombay in 1957 and renamed as Bhaba Atomic Research Centre (BARC) ten years later. Plans for building the first Pressurised Heavy Water Reactor (PHWR) were finalised in 1964, and this prototype - Rawatbhata-1 which had Canada's Douglas Point reactor as a reference unit, was built as a collaborative venture between Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd and NPCIL. It started up in 1972 and was duplicated Subsequent indigenous PHWR development has been based on these units. Rawatbhata-1 was down-rated early in its life and has operated very little since 2002 due to ongoing problems. India's operating nuclear power reactors are given in the following table:

Reactor Tarapur 1 & 2 Kaiga 1 & 2 Kakrapar 1 & 2 Kalpakkam 1 & 2 (MAPS Narora 1 & 2 Rawatbhata 1 Rawatbhata 2 Rawatbhata 3 & 4 Tarapur 3 & 4 Total Types of Reactors



MWe, net each 150 202 202 202 202 90 187 202 490 3577 MWe

Start 1969 1999-2000 1993-95 1984-86 1991-92 1973 1981 1999-2000 2005-07

The two Tarapur 150 MWe Boiling Water Reactors (BWRs) built by GE on a turnkey contract before the

advent of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty were originally 200 MWe but were derated due to recurrent problems and have run well since. They have been using imported enriched uranium and are under IAEA safeguards. However, late in 2004 Russia deferred to the Nuclear Suppliers' Group and declined to supply further uranium for them. They underwent six months refurbishment over 2005-06, and in March 2006 Russia agreed to resume fuel supply. The two small Canadian (Candu) PHWRs at Rawatbhata started up in 1972 & 1980, and are also under safeguards. The ten 220 MWe PHWRs (202 MWe net) were indigenously designed and constructed by NPCIL, based on Canadian design. The Kalpakkam (MAPS) reactors were refurbished in 2002-03 and 2004-05 and their capacity restored to 220 MWe gross (from 170). Much of the core of each reactor was replaced, and the lifespans extended to 2033/36 Russia is supplying the country's first large nuclear power plant, comprising two VVER-1000 (V-392) reactors, under a Russian-financed US$ 3 billion contract. The units are being built by NPCIL and will be commissioned and operated by it under safeguards. Russia will supply all the enriched fuel, though India will reprocess it and keep the plutonium. The first unit is due to be commissioned late in 2007, after some delay. Between 2010 and 2020, construction of four 220 MWe PHWRs, ten 700 MWe PHWRs three 500 MWe FBRs and up to six 1000 MWe VVERs is projected, giving about 20,000 MWe then, half from PHWRs. Some 300 MWe AHWR units may also be built in that time frame. The nuclear capacity target is part of national energy. policy. Four sites were approved in 2005 for eight new reactors. Two of the sites - Kakrapar and Rawatbhata, are to have 700 MWe indigenous PHWR units, another is to have imported 1000 MWe light water reactors alongside the two being constructed by Russia at Kudankulam, and the fourth site is greenfield for 1000 MWe LWR units - Jaitapur in the Konkan region. Acquisition of any further light water reactors depends upon international political approvals. Due to NPT, India's nuclear power program proceeds largely without fuel or technological assistance from other countries (but see later section). Its power reactors to the mid 1990s had some of the world's lowest capacity factors, reflecting the technical difficulties of the country's isolation, but rose impressively from 60% in 1995 to 85% in 2001-02. India's uranium resources are modest, with 54,000 tonnes U as reasonably assured resources and 23,500 tonnes as estimated additional resources in situ. India has reserves of 290,000 tonnes of thorium about one quarter of the world total, and these are intended to fuel its nuclear power program longerterm. Mining and processing of uranium is carried out by Uranium Corporation of India, a DAE subsidiary, at Jaduguda and Bhatin (since 1967), Narwapahar (since 1995) and Turamdih (since 2002) all in Jharkand. Heavy water is supplied by DAE's Heavy Water Board, and the seven plants are working at capacity due to the current building program. Used fuel from the civil PHWRs is reprocessed by BARC at Trombay, Tarapur and Kalpakkam to extract reactor-grade plutonium for use in the fast breeder reactors. Radioactive wastes from the nuclear reactors and reprocessing plants are treated and stored at each site. Waste immobilization plants are in operation at Tarapur and Trombay and another is being constructed at Kalpakkam. Research on final disposal of high-level and long-lived wastes in a geological repository is in progress at BARC.

The proposed Jaitapur nuclear plants

The proposed Jaitapur station in the state of Maharashtra would be one of the biggest nuclear plants in the world with a total of six reactors providing 9,600 megawatts of power. Nuclear stations are often built by the sea due to their water consumption, and India -- which aims to supply 25 percent of its electricity from nuclear sources by 2050 -- already has several other nuclear facilities on the coast. But the Jaitapur programme has attracted large protests from locals and environmentalists who are concerned about the loss of land, the danger of radiation and destruction in the ecologically-sensitive Western Ghats region.

There Are Two Types of Reactors

The Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR)

Pressurized Water Reactors are known as "PWRs." They keep water under pressure so that it heats but does not boil. Water from the reactor and the water that is turned into steam are in separate pipes and never mix. And the Boiling Water Reactor (BWR)

Boiling Water Reactors are known as "BWRs." In BWRs, the water heated by fission actually boils and turns into steam to turn the generator. In both types of plants, the steam is turned back into water and can be used again in the process. Radioactivity must be carefully managed because it can be dangerous if not handled properly. It can damage human cells or cause cancer over time. Since the fission process creates radioactivity, all nuclear power plants have many safety systems that protect workers, the public and the environment. For example, systems allow the fission process to be stopped and the reactor to be shut down quickly. Other systems cool the reactor and carry heat away from it. Barriers keep the radioactivity from escaping into the environment.