Work on second nuclear sub reactor begins

First indigenous nuclear submarine ready for sea

Work on second nuclear sub reactor begins

As the first indigenous nuclear submarine Arihant is getting ready for sea voyage, work has begun inside a closely guarded naval dockyard in Visakhapatnam for the “assembly” of another nuclear reactor to propel the second N-powered submarine.

“The assembling of the second reactor began a few months ago at Visakhapatnam and materials are being collected to make the third one,” sources familiar with the project told Deccan Herald. India plans to make three N-powered submarines with second strike capability in a secret project.

The pressure vessel for the second nuclear submarine is being manufactured by the Heavy Engineering Corporation Ltd, Ranchi. There is, however, no official word on the second N-submarine. 

Arihant is ready for sea trial as it has received approval from Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) Safety Council. Since strategic projects are outside the purview of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, it is the BARC Safety Council that gives regulatory approvals. 

“Arihant’s 85 MW light water reactor that runs on enriched Uranium fuel is ready. The reactor has so far operated only 30-40 per cent of its capacity because it is at shore. It will function on full power when it goes to the high seas. The Navy is now making preparations for the sea trial, which involves making other arrangements,” sources said.

In April, when Navy chief Admiral R K Dhowan visited the Eastern Naval Command at Visakhapatnam he said Arihant was in the final phase of its harbour trials and would shortly be put to sea. Since then eight months have passed without a word on the Arihant from the Navy.

The indigenous SSBN was released to water in July, 2009 in the presence of then prime minister Manmohan Singh. It underwent extensive harbour acceptance trials and the 104 mt long and 6,000 tonnes nuclear reactor became critical in August 2013.

The boat is to be fitted with B05 (K-15) submarine launched ballistic missile, which was tested successfully from an under-water pontoon off Visakhapatnam in January 2013, showcasing the missile’s ability to break waters.

Meanwhile, nuclear scientists have readied the second core of Arihant that attained criticality – commencement of the nuclear chain reaction signifying energy production – on October 11, 2013 at a facility known as P4 inside BARC. 

The new core could be used in Arihant after 7-8 years of service or may be used in the second submarine, if the reactor has the same capacity, sources said, without disclosing the power output of the second reactor, which is being assembled.

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