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Kaiga-4 achieves criticality

Correspondent

With it, India becomes 6th largest producer of nuclear energy


The new unit will be synchronised with the southern grid next month after mandatory tests

NPCIL has comprehensive capabilities in various facets of nuclear technology


- PHOTO: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission, Srikumar Banerjee signs a document at the ceremonial function of Kaiga-4 achieving criticality in Karwar on Saturday. He is flanked by C&MD, Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. S.K. Jain (to his left) and AEC member M.R. Srinivasan.

Karwar (Karnataka): The fourth unit of the Kaiga Generating Station (KGS) — the country's 20th nuclear power reactor — achieved criticality on Saturday. With this unit becoming operational, India now ranks sixth in terms of production of nuclear energy, behind the United States, France, Japan, Russia and South Korea.

Addressing journalists at Kaiga, S.K. Jain, Chairman and Managing Director, Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL), said criticality, in nuclear terms, signified the start of the self-sustaining nuclear fission chain reaction in the reactor core, which led to the production of energy. The new unit would produce 250 MWe of nuclear power, which would be distributed among the southern States. The unit would be synchronised with the southern grid after certain mandatory tests are carried out early next month.

He said units 5 and 6 would raise the nuclear power installed capacity in the country from the current 4,560 MWe to 4,780 MWe. Kaiga-4 is an indigenous Pressurised Heavy Water Reactor (PHWR).

Unique distinction

Dr. Jain said two Light Water reactors (LWRs) of 100 MWe each, at Kudankulam and a prototype fast breeder reactor of 500 MWe at Kalpakkam were at advanced stages of completion. He said the NPCIL was unique in having comprehensive capabilities in various facets of nuclear technology — namely site selection, design, construction, commissioning operation and maintenance, renovation, modernisation and life extension of nuclear power plants.

Forest undisturbed

Srikumar Banerjee, Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission, said units 5 and 6 would come up at Kaiga in the next couple of years and the site would be decided by a selection committee of NPCIL. The capacity of the each new unit would be 700 MWe, and the project would come up in the land already owned by NPCIL. He said there was no human habitation in the very small area required for the new units and the forest in the area would not be disturbed.

Dr. Banerjee said the Dhruva reactor was supplying isotopes required for the other plants, having never been shut down. In Apsara, another reactor, the NPCIL had been using imported fuel, but had now changed to locally developed fuel. Another reactor in Vizag would supply the isotopes to other reactors, he said.

Employees lauded

Later, addressing a public function arranged by NPCIL, Dr. Jain lauded the efforts of employees towards the corporation's success. He declared that it would reserve 2 per cent of its profit for community work and he would ensure that the demand of the locals to build a bride near Kaiga and other works was taken up. The money allotted would never lapse, he said, and help would be taken from the district authorities to complete it.

Dr. Srinivasan, former AEC Chairman, was honoured at the function.

Corrections and Clarifications

(The news report, “Kaiga-4 achieves criticality” (November 28, 2010), said, both in the strap line and in the text: With the fourth unit of the Kaiga Generating Station (KGS) unit becoming operational, India now ranks sixth in terms of production of nuclear energy, behind the United States, France, Japan, Russia and South Korea. Instead, it should have said: India now ranks sixth, behind the United States, France, Japan, Russia and South Korea, among those countries that have 20 or more nuclear power reactors currently in operation.

Besides this, there were a couple of factual errors.

The new unit of the Kaiga Generating Station would produce 250 MWe of nuclear power, the report said. It should have been 220 MWe.

There was a reference to two Light Water Reactors of 100 MWe each at Kudankulam being at advanced stages of completion. It should have been 1,000 MWe each.)

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