India ready to sell Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors

HYDERABAD:29/04/2010:- Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission, Srikumar Banerjee and S.K.Jain, Chairman and Managing Director, Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited, chats during handing over ceremony of Fuelling Machine for Advanced Heavy Water Reactor -AHWR (300 Mwe,) which is develop by MTAR technology private Limited in Hyderabad on Thursday.-Photo:Mohammed_Yousuf   | Photo Credit: Mohammed_Yousuf

The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited is ready to sell Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors of 220 MWe or 540 MWe capacity to other countries, according to Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) Chairman Srikumar Banerjee.

These reactors, which use natural uranium as fuel and heavy water as both moderator and coolant, offered a basket of options for countries looking for cost-competitive and proven technologies in the small- and medium-sized reactors, he said at the 54th general conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna on Wednesday.

The Indian industry, he said, was on the way to becoming a competitive supplier in the global market in special steels, large-sized forgings, control instruments, software and other nuclear components and services.

India was setting up a global centre for nuclear energy partnership in Haryana's Bahadurgarh district for joint work with its partners in areas of topical interest.

Dr. Banerjee, who gave an overview of the country's atomic energy programme, said work had started on four indigenous Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors of 700 MWe capacity each (two at Kakrapar in Gujarat and two at Rawatbhatta in Gujarat), and the first pour of concrete was planned for later this year.

The total installed nuclear capacity now stood at 4,560 MWe from 19 operating reactors, including three that had registered an uninterrupted run of over 400 days. The construction of the fourth one (220 MWe) at Kaiga in Karnataka was over and it was ready for fuel-loading.

Construction of two 1,000 MWe reactors at Koodankulam in Tamil Nadu, in cooperation with the Russian Federation, was nearing completion. The 500-MWe Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor at Kalpakkam was in an advanced stage of construction.

“India,” Dr. Banerjee said, “is expanding its uranium enrichment capacity, which will meet part of the requirements of light water reactors.” This expansion was based on the already established indigenous technology. “Setting up an adequate reprocessing capability has been an important element of our closed fuel cycle-based programme.” India recently began engineering activities for setting up an integrated nuclear recycle plant, with facilities for reprocessing the spent fuel and waste management, he pointed out.

The natural uranium deposits at Tummallapalle in Kadapa district of Andhra Pradesh, where a new mine was recently opened, promised to yield three times the original estimate.

“India is also interested in joining hands with international partners in developing uranium mining opportunities abroad,” Mr. Banerjee said. The country was self-sufficient in production of heavy water, zirconium alloy components and other materials for the Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors. A new zirconium complex was commissioned at Pazhayakaayal near Tuticorin for producing reactor-grade zirconium sponge.

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