Construction starts on Unit 5 of India’s Kudankulam nuclear plant

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The first concrete was poured into the foundation plate of the reactor building for the fifth unit of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP) in India’s Tamil Nadu state being built by the state-run Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) with the assistance of the Russian state atomic energy corporation Rosatom, who are the equipment suppliers and technical consultants for the KNPP consisting of six units.

A Rosatom statement said that the concrete pouring undertaken on June 29, 2021, marked the official commencement of the third phase of construction of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project consisting of KNPP units 5 and 6. A ceremony to mark the occasion was held via videoconference in view of the restrictions prevailing on account of the COVID-19 pandemic. Phase 2 of the KNPP construction involving units 3 and 4, to be equipped with VVER-1000 reactors of 1,000 MW capacity each, are currently at an advanced stage.

“First concrete pouring (for unit 5) was preceded by continuous preliminary work: concrete bedding for foundations of the reactor building, auxiliary reactor building with the Main Control Room, turbine building and power supply building for normal operation, emergency power supply and safety control systems”, Rosatom said.

“For many years the Kudankulam NPP construction project has been a symbol of close cooperation between Russia and India. However, we do not want to stop at what had already been achieved. Rosatom has all the most advanced nuclear power technologies. Together with our Indian colleagues we are ready to launch the serial construction of the state-of-the-art Generation III+ Russian-designed nuclear power units at a new site in India. It is stipulated by the existing agreements,” Rosatom Director General Alexey Likhachev said at the ceremony.

The KNPP units 1 and 2, equipped with the Russian-made VVER-1000 type reactors of 1,000 MW capacity each, have been connected to the grid in 2013 and 2016, respectively. As per an intergovernmental agreement, Rosatom will also help construct 6 more units in India at another location.

According to Rosatom, its subsidiary enterprises are already manufacturing equipment required for the first priority installation, the equipment for the reactor facilities and turbine hall for the KNPP unit 5. “Even today, on the construction horizon of up to two years, construction is provided with the detailed design documentation”, the statement said.

“After signing the General Framework Agreement (GFA) on April 10, 2014, on construction of units 3, 4, the negotiations with the Indian party began regarding construction of Kudankulam NPP units 5, 6, upon the results of which the agreement was reached that these units would be constructed in compliance with the same design as it was stipulated for units 3, 4. On June 1, 2017, the Credit Protocol to the Intergovernmental Agreement of December 5, 2008 and the GFA for Kudankulam NPP units 5, 6 were signed”, it added.

Rosatom announced last month that its machine building division, Atomenergomash, has started manufacturing the set of bends for the main circulation pump being fabricated for KNPP units 5 and 6. It will manufacture eight bends of the main circulation pump for two units of the plant.

Rosatom also said that the new Kudankulam NPP units meet the latest International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safety requirements. The VVER-1000 reactors are equipped with state-of-the-art safety features, and the company described the main circulation pump as “a first class safety item”. It circulates the coolant at a nuclear power plant from the reactor to the steam generator, and vice versa, through the pipes of the main circulation pipeline.

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