The ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of two indigenous nuclear reactors of 700 MWe capacity will take place by next month end at Kakrapar in Gujarat, according to chairman and managing director of the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) S.K. Jain.

This is the first time the NPCIL will be building the two Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs) of 700 MWe. So far, it has built only PHWRs of 220 MWe or 540 MWe capacity.

“The excavation of the foundation for both the 700 MWe units will take place simultaneously by December-end. They will be completed in six years,” Mr. Jain said.

The indigenous PHWRs use natural uranium as fuel and heavy water as both the coolant and moderator.

The Union government had given financial sanction for the construction of two more 700 MWe PHWRs at Rawatbhata in Rajasthan.

The laying of foundation for them would take place by the middle of 2010. These reactors would form the seventh and eighth units of the Rajasthan Atomic Power Station (RAPS).

The fifth PHWR at Rawatbhata (RAPS-5), with a capacity of 220 MWe, would be commissioned by November 20.

“The fuel-loading in the reactor has been completed. It is imported natural uranium fuel and it has been fabricated at the Nuclear Fuel Complex, Hyderabad.”

Heavy water would be loaded into the reactor soon. After the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board gives the clearance, the reactor would be started by November 20. The RAPS-6, which would also generate 220 MWe, would be commissioned by February 2010.

On reports that residents of Niweli village in Jaitapur taluk of Maharashtra were refusing to accept compensation cheques for land acquisition for building French reactors, Mr. Jain said: “One thing is clear, we want to take all the local people into confidence and land acquisition will be done with their cooperation. We want to do it in a democratic manner, clear the local people’s apprehensions and convince them that it is their project which we are going to build.”

He denied that any “Singur-type of situation” was developing at Jaitapur and called it “a wrong comparison.”

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