India’s first stage of Nuclear Programme was based on the PHWR Technology for the following advantages.
- Optimum utilization of the limited uranium resources
- Higher Plutonium yield, for the second stage fuel
- Availability of Indigenous Technology
The most significant feature of the PHWR design is
- Multiple pressure tube configuration instead of a large pressure vessel.
- The first two reactors (1x100 MWe & 1x200 MWe) were built at Rawatbhata near Kota in Rajasthan with the Canadian collaboration and became operational in the year 1973 & 1981..
- Two units located at Kalpakkam near Madras built later were of the same design but using indigenous technology and were dedicated to the nation in the year 1984 & 1986.
- Subsequently, the Reactors at Narora offered first opportunity to our engineers to evolve an indigenous design based on operating experience and other requirements such as stringent safety norms and seismic design. 2x220 MWe PHWR’s at Narora was connected to the grid in 1991 and 1992.
- 2x220 MWe PHWR’s at Kakrapar became operational in 1993 and 1995 followed by the 2x220 MWe PHWR’s built at Kaiga and 2x220 MWe PHWR’s at Rajasthan in the year 2000.
- In 2007, 1x220 MWe PHWR unit at Kaiga became available followed by 1x220 MWe PHWR in 2011.
- 2x220 MWe units at Rajastan became functional in the year 2011.
- The design of 540 MWe PHWR is the next step in the process of evolution and the first two units based on this design were built at Tarapur. The First Unit was dedicated to the Nation in 2005 and the second in 2006 and both the units are working well. Technology for the manufacture of various components and equipment is now well established and has evolved through active collaboration between the DAE and the industry. Several universities and national institutions have also participated in the development of PHWR technology apart from in house efforts in DAE. As we gain experience and master technology, performance of our plants is improving.
- 700 MWe PHWR
Current projects include construction of 700 MWe PHWR’s. Work on the 2x700 MWe PHWR units at Kakrapar and another 2x700 MWe PHWR units at Rajasthan is in progress and is scheduled to be completed in 2015 and 2016 respectively.