Nuclear power reactors of 700 MWe capacity each will come up at two new inland sites – at Kumharia in Haryana and Bargi in Madhya Pradesh.

These reactors will be indigenous Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs) that will use natural uranium as fuel and heavy water as both moderator and coolant.

The Union government has also approved building imported reactors of a minimum of 1,000 MWe each at Chhayamithi Virdi in Gujarat, Kovvada in Andhra Pradesh and Haripur in West Bengal.

These reactors will use enriched uranium as fuel and light water as both coolant and moderator.

All these reactors will be built by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL). Its officials said pre-project activities such as estimation of the land required and land acquisition were on in the five sites. Ground-break (excavation of the earth) for erecting the foundation in the five sites would take place in 2012.

The sixth reactor at Rawatbhata in Rajasthan was connected to the grid on Sunday. It is an indigenous PHWR of 220 MWe capacity. It reached first criticality in January. Power from this plant will be shared by the northern States.

Twenty reactors

There are 20 nuclear power reactors, including this reactor, operational in the country now and their total capacity is 4,560 MWe.

Four more reactors are expected to be commissioned in a couple of years. They include two Russian reactors of 1,000 MWe each at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu, the Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor of 500 MWe at Kalpakkam, also in Tamil Nadu and the fourth PHWR (220 MWe) at Kaiga in Karnataka.

The Kaiga reactor will be commissioned in a few months from now.

In addition, work is on for building four indigenous PHWRs — two each of 700 MWe capacity at Rawatbhata and Kakrapara in Gujarat. These reactors will be started up in 2017.