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4th Annual Nuclear Decommissioning & Used Fuel Strategy Summit

SMR Design Profile
Aug 14, 2012

Indian 220 MWe PHWR
Full Name
Indian 220 MWe PHWR
Babha Atomic Research Center (BARC)
MWe (net)

Design Profile Description

Design Image
Source: National Power Corporation of India Ltd.

There are sixteen 220 MWe gross (202 MWe net) pressurized heavy water reactors (PHWR) operating in India today, all of which owe their legacy to the first Canadian export PHWR to India. Construction on Rajasthan 1, India’s first PHWR began in August 1965, and was built in cooperation with Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. (AECL). The unit began commercial operation in late 1973. Construction on Unit 2 at Rajasthan began with Canadian support, but Canada withdrew its support when this reactor was about 50% complete following India’s first nuclear weapons test in 1974. Canada’s decision was followed by other nations, and India faced significant challenges thereafter in developing an indigenous industry that would be capable of supporting its nuclear power program. India managed to eventually complete Rajasthan 2 on its own, and it began commercial operation in 1981. The steam generators, end-shields, calandria, and other critical components for Rajasthan 2 were constructed in India. After Rajasthan 2, all of India’s other PHWRs were built using indigenous technology design and manufacturing (The Madras nuclear power plant at Kalpakkam was the first nuclear power plant in India that was built using fully indigenous efforts). When India built its Narora nuclear power plant, it developed a standardized design that was used for that plant’s two units and for all further 220 MWe PHWRs in the nation. Amid fears that India’s electricity grid would have not been able to make proper use of larger capacity reactors India did not overcome the 220 MWe indigenous capacity limit until 2005, when it commissioned its first 540 MWe PHWR at the Tarapur nuclear power plant.

Although the Indians, under the primary design agency Babha Atomic Research Center (BARC), have made some design improvements over the years, the technology behind the 220 MWe Indian PHWR is well understood standard pressurized heavy water technology as developed many decades ago by AECL.

Currently, there are no known plans to build additional 220 MWe PHWRs in India, as the country is looking to rapidly expand its total nuclear power capacity with the use of its larger 700 MWe gross PHWR design along with larger imported LWRs. However, a number of countries are being targeted as export markets for this design by India. Over the past, interest has been expressed by countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Kazakhstan, among others.

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