Kakrapar 3 starts commercial operations in India

The first Indian-designed 700 MWe Pressurised Heavy Water Reactor (PHWR) has begun commercial operation in Gujarat – almost three years after first criticality.

Kakrapar 3 is one of four 700 MWe PHWR units approved by the Indian government in 2007, along with Kakrapar 4 in Rajasthan and Rawatbhata 7 and 8. construction of the Kakrapar unit officially began in 2010 after site works were completed, when the first unit was expected to come online in 2017. Kakrapar 3 is due to achieve first criticality in July 2020 and be connected to the grid in January 2021.

According to a “senior official” at the plant, quoted in the media, Kakrapar 3 was declared commercially operational at 10am on 30 June and is currently operating at 90% power.

At the end of 2022, Minister of State Jitendra Singh told the Lok Sabha, the lower house of India’s parliament, that the Kakrapar project was expected to be completed this year and that Rawatbhata 7 and 8 were expected to be completed by 2026.

The Indian government has approved the construction of ten 700 MWe PHWRs (excluding Kakrapar 3 and 4 and Rajasthan 7 and 8) in “fleet mode” by the end of 2031. These are: Kaiga Units 5 and 6 in Karnataka; Gorakhpur Units 3 and 4 in Haryana; Chutka Units 1 and 2 in Madhya Pradesh; and Mahi Banswara Units 1 and 2 and Units 3 and 4 in Rajasthan.

In addition, four Russian-supplied 1000 MWe VVER pressurised water reactors are under construction at Kudankulam: units 3 and 4 from 2017 and units 5 and 6 from 2021. A 500 MWe prototype fast neutron breeder reactor is also under construction. Construction of Kalpakkam.

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