First nuclear power plant in north India is under construction

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The first nuclear power plant (NPP) being built in the northern part of India is coming up in the state of Haryana at Gorakhpur about 150 km north of the national capital, Delhi. 

India’s Atomic Energy Minister Jitendra Singh said last week that, for the first time in India, NPPs were being built in areas of the country other than the south and the west. 

Speaking to media persons in the capital, Singh said that in a bid to increase India’s nuclear capacity, the government had earlier given approval for the construction of 10 reactors. In 2017, the government approved the fleet mode construction of ten indigenously made pressurised heavy water reactors (PHWRs) of 700 MW capacity each.  

In July 2020, India achieved criticality with its first indigenously built 700 MW pressurised heavy water reactor for unit 3 of the Kakrapar NPP in Gujarat state in western India.  The unit was connected to the grid in 2021 and is expected to start commercial operations soon. 

“The Department of Atomic Energy has also been given permission to set up joint ventures with public sector undertakings for resources to open atomic energy plants, having the potential to fulfill India’s energy needs in times to come,” the Minister said.  

A Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) release said the Gorakhpur NPP consisting of two PHWR units of 700 MW capacity each of “indigenous design is under implementation near Gorakhpur village in Fatehabad district in Haryana.” 

“Till date, an amount of Rs.4,906 crore (over $593 million) has been spent out of total allocated funds of Rs.20,594 crore (around $2.5 billion),” it said.  

“Construction of other main plant buildings/structures – fire water pump house, safety-related pump house, fuel oil storage area, ventilation stack, overhead tank, switchyard control building, safety related and non-safety related tunnel and trenches, retaining walls and garland drain are progressing well,” the statement said. 

According to the DAE, purchase orders for major long manufacturing cycle equipment and components like primary coolant pumps, Calandria, reactor headers, refuelling machine heads, Moderator and other D20 heat exchangers, among others, are already in place.  

End shields and all steam generators for the first unit have been received at the site. Manufacturing of other equipment is in various stages and delivery at site is expected well in time to meet the construction schedule, the statement added.