The trial run of India's first 700 MW pressurised heavy water reactor (PHWR) coming up at Kakrapar is expected to take place sometime in mid-2017, said a senior official of the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL).
India's atomic power plant operator NPCIL is building four 700 MW PHWRs -- two each at Kakrapar Atomic Power Station (KAPS) in Gujarat and Rajasthan Atomic Power Station (RAPS) in Rajasthan.
"The construction of two 700 MW PHWRs at KAPS is at an advanced stage. The commissioning activities of the first unit has begun. The trial run of the first unit is expected to happen sometime during the middle of next year," B.C.Pathak, Executive Director (Projects), told IANS here over phone from Mumbai.
Speaking to IANS, Vineet Kumar, Station Director of the two units (3 and 4 at KAPS) said: "We have started the commissioning activities. It will be done in stages and various milestones have to be crossed."
"We will be doing the hydro test first in May-June 2017. The next step will be hot conditioning of the unit, which would happen around two-and-a-half months after the hydro test," Kumar added.
After that the systems have to be drained and dried. The fuel loading is expected to happen in October 2017 and the reactor's criticality (first time starting of the nuclear fission process) is slated to happen in November 2017," Kumar said.
According to Kumar, the unit is expected to start commercial operations early 2018.
As to the status of the other 700 MW unit Pathak said the 4th unit at KAPS would start 6-7 months after the third unit.
The project cost for the two 700 MW units is around Rs 11,500 crore, Kumar said.
For NPCIL that has been building 220 MW and 540 MW pressurised heavy water reactors, it is a major jump to go in for 700 MW PHWRs.
Concrete was first poured in November 2010 for the 3rd unit at KAPS and in March 2011 for the fourth unit.
According to Pathak work at the 7th and 8th units (700 MW) at RAPS are also progressing well with the erection of major components.
The two project sites are humming with activity and the project schedule is being compressed to complete it at the earliest.