India boosts nuclear expansion with launch of two new units at Kakrapar

29 February 2024

India aims to add 18 new nuclear power reactors with a capacity of 13,800 MWe by 2031-32, Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) has announced after the country's Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated two 700 MWe reactors at Kakrapar Atomic Power Station (KAPS) in Gujarat. The additional 18 units will bring the total share of nuclear power in India's energy mix to 22,480 MWe by 2031-32. Currently, NPCIL operates 24 reactors with a total capacity of 8,180 MWe.

Modi dedicated KAPS units 3&4 to the nation on 22 February. KAPS 4 was connected to the western power grid two days earlier. KAPS 3&4 are the largest indigenously designed pressurised heavy water reactors (PHWRs), and the first to have advanced safety features. Construction cost more than INR225bn ($2.7bn).

"These reactors have been designed, constructed, commissioned, and operated by NPCIL, with the supply of equipment and execution of contracts by Indian industries and companies, reflecting the true spirit of Atmanirbhar Bharat," NPCIL said. Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan, the Self-reliant India campaign was launched by Modi in 2020. At Kakrapar, Modi said the role of nuclear power in electricity generation will increase in the 21st century and it was a matter of pride that India was self-reliant in this advanced technology.

Currently four 1,000 MWe NPPs are being built at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu with Russian assistance. Four 700 MWe indigenous PHWRs are under consruction at Rawatbhata (RAPS 7&8) in Rajasthan and Gorakhpur (GHAVP 1&2) in Haryana. Ten 700 MWe PHWRs have been approved for construction at GHAVP (3&4), Kaiga Generating Station (5&6) near Karwar in Karnataka, Chutka in Madhya Pradesh (CMPAPP 1&2) and Mahi Banswara in Rajasthan (MBRAPP 1-4).

Image: Kakrapar atomic power project (courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

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