The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) said Monday that Unit 1 reactor at the Kakrapar Atomic Power Station in the Surat district of Gujarat ha reached criticality three months ahead of schedule after a lengthy renovation and modernization program.
The 200 MWe Pressurized Heavy Water Reactor was shut down in March 2016 with an automatic operations halt due to a coolant leak. The incident occurred a year after Unit 2 at the plant was shut down due to coolant channel leaks. After repairs and safety upgrades, Unit 2 was restored to service in September 2018.
The NPCIL said Unit was underwent “en-masse coolant channel replacement, en-mass feeder replacement and other safety upgrades.” Routine inspections of the coolant system, more stringent specifications are now in place for all of India’s PHWRs, according to the World Nuclear Association. In addition, quality control measures have been put in place to ensure proper carbon dioxide formulas are used in the reactors. The gas is used as a thermal buffer between primary circuit cooling channels and calandria tubes and the moderator. Impurities in the carbon dioxide were found to be the cause of the leaks in domestically designed Kakrapar 1 and 2, which have been in operations since 1993 and 1995, respectively.
Construction of two new 700 MWe units are nearing completion at the facility. Kakrapar Units 3 and 4 are expected to be completed, respectively, this year and next.
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