Work Accelerates On Unit 5 At Kudankulam Nuclear Plant As Russia Ships Critical Equipments

Amit Mishra

May 25, 2023, 12:28 PM | Updated 12:35 PM IST

Units 1 and 2 of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (Reetesh Chaurasia/Wikimedia Commons)
Units 1 and 2 of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (Reetesh Chaurasia/Wikimedia Commons)

Expediting the work on Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP), Russian nuclear major Rosatom has shipped a major component for the 5th unit of the Tamil Nadu-based nuclear plant.

Atommash Branch, AEM-Technologies, JSC, the machine-building division of Rosatom-Atomenergomash has shipped two thrust and supporting rings which are designed to secure the nuclear reactor in the central part and from above and protect it against vertical, horizontal dynamic loads and seismic impact. The weight of one item with 5-meter diameter is about 20 tonnes.

The equipment has been shipped in a combined way: the equipment will be delivered by the supplier to the port of St. Petersburg. After that, the sets of equipment will be transported in ship to VOC Port, Thoothukudi and in the last leg of the journey, it will be taken to the project site by road in truck or by sea in barge to the mini port inside the KKNPP complex.

Earlier on 3 April, Rosatom had shipped a pressuriser for Reactor 5 of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project. It would reach its destination after covering a distance of 17,000 km via sea.

The pressuriser, weighing about 187.50 tonnes, is a primary circuit equipment of the VVER 1,000 MWe reactor, and is responsible for creating and maintaining pressure and coolant volume in the reactor. 

VVER Reactor

The Russian abbreviation VVER stands for 'water-water energy reactor' (i.e., water-cooled water-moderated energy reactor).

The VVER is a pressurised water reactor (PWR), the commonest type of nuclear reactor worldwide, employing light water as coolant and moderator.

The first VVER unit was commissioned in 1964, at Novovoronezh nuclear power plant, in the Voronezh region, Russia.

Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) 

The Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP) was the outcome of a 1988 inter-governmental agreement between the erstwhile Soviet Union and India and follow on agreements in 1998 and 2008.

Under the agreement, Russia is required to manufacture and deliver important components for the power plant and provide technical support. Russia has also extended credit support for the project over the years. 

The flagship Indo-Russian project altogether envisages six units, each with a capacity of 1,000 MW, of which two are already active.

The first stage, consisting of power units No. 1 and No. 2, was commissioned in 2013 and 2017, respectively. Power units No. 3,4 and No. 5,6 are the second and third stages of KNPP which are currently under construction.

The 2x1,000 MWe VVER reactors 1 and 2 have been built at the cost of Rs 17,270 crore. The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL), the project proponent, is constructing units 3, 4, 5 and 6 with a similar capacity at Kudankulam with Russian technical know-how, at a cost of ₹89,470 crore.

The Kudankulam plant, located near the country’s tip to the south, is the highest-capacity nuclear power plant. India’s present installed nuclear power capacity is 6,780 MW through 22 reactors.

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