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Kakrapar nuclear plant achieves criticality

The criticality was achieved after meeting all the stipulations of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB), which issued clearance after a rigorous review of the safety of the plant systems.
Last Updated : 17 December 2023, 09:05 IST

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Mumbai: Unit 4 of the Kakrapar Atomic Power Project in Surat district of Gujarat achieved the important milestone of criticality (start of a controlled fission chain reaction) for the first time at 0117 hrs on Sunday, as announced by the Mumbai-headquartered Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL).

The KAPP-4 is a 700 MW Pressurised Heavy Water Reactor (PHWR). The criticality was achieved after meeting all the stipulations of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB), which issued clearance after a rigorous review of the safety of the plant systems.

KAPP-4 is the second in the series of sixteen indigenous PHWRs of 700 MW each being set up in the country.

The event was witnessed by B C Pathak, CMD, NPCIL, who was present in the control room of the station with the site team.

Officials at NPCIL Headquarters in Mumbai witnessed the event through video link.

Addressing the officials at the site and headquarters after the event, Pathak congratulated all the employees of NPCIL.

“The achievement of criticality of KAPP-4, within six months of commercial operation of KAPP-3 was a significant achievement. Together with the smooth operation of KAPP-3, it demonstrated the strength of NPCIL in all facets of nuclear power viz. design, construction, commissioning and operation,” said Pathak.

He urged everyone to work towards rapid completion of the units under construction.

After the first criticality, several experiments/tests will be conducted in KAPP-4 and the power level raised in steps, in line with the clearances of the AERB, ultimately culminating in operation of the unit at full power.

KAPP 3&4 (2X700 MW) are located at Kakrapar in Surat district of Gujarat, adjacent to the existing reactors KAPS 1&2 (2X220 MW). “These indigenous PHWRs have advanced safety features and are among the safest reactors in the world. While these reactors have been designed, constructed, commissioned and operated by NPCIL, the supply of equipment and execution of contracts have been by Indian industries and companies, and thus the true reflection of the spirit of AtmaNirbhar Bharat,” said B V S Sekhar, Outstanding Scientist and Associate Director (CP&CC) & Appellate Authority.

NPCIL presently operates 23 reactors with a total capacity of 7,480 MW and has nine units (including KAPP-4) with a capacity of 7,500 MW under construction.

In addition, 10 more reactors with a total capacity of 7,000 MW are in pre-project activities. These are expected to be completed progressively by 2031-32.

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Published 17 December 2023, 09:05 IST

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