N-reactor in Rajasthan sets world record

N-reactor in Rajasthan sets world record

N-reactor in Rajasthan sets world record

Running continuously for 747 days since August 2012,  an indigenous nuclear reactor in Rajasthan has set a world record for becoming the best performing nuclear reactor in the last 20 years.

The 220 MWe fifth unit of Rajasthan Atomic Power Station (RAPS) at Rawatbhata not only beat a US reactor, but also became the second longest running nuclear power reactor in the history of nuclear energy, Dr Vinod Kumar, station director of RAPS 5 and 6 told Deccan Herald.

In 1994, Canadian reactor Pickering Unit-7 notched the world record for continuous operations when it functioned non-stop for 894 days without a shutdown. The second spot in the list was held by the Unit-1 of La Salle nuclear generating station at Illinois in the USA. On August 11, RAPS-5 overtook the La Salle reactor, operating at full power and fulfilling all safety obligations, he said.

The unit is currently running at 106 per cent of its capacity and remained in the range of 90-100 per cent in the last four years. The unit will be shut down for maintenance operation on September 6. Globally, there are 436 nuclear reactors operated by 31 nations.

Besides the five small commercial nuclear power reactors, two reactors of 700 MWe capacity are under construction at Rawatbhata, near Kota. On its completion in 2016, RAPS will be India’s first nuclear park with eight reactors.

The unit 1 of RAPS, however, is under extended shutdown since 2004 for a techno-economic assessment of its viability. Commissioned in 1973, it is India’s third oldest nuclear reactor after the first two units at Tarapur.

During the continuous operation of 739 days, RAPS-5 generated 4,120 million units of electricity. The unit has so far generated 8,525 million units since it was synchronised to the grid on December 22, 2009. The unit began commercial operations in February 2010, the Nuclear Power Corporation of India, which operates Indian nuclear power plants, said in a statement.

India currently has 20 nuclear reactors with an installed capacity of 4,780 MWe. In the absence of RAPS-1, only 4,680 MWe are in commercial operations, out of which 1,840 MW is using imported fuel supplied by other countries.