Reactor pressure vessel installed for Unit 3 of India’s Kudankulam nuclear power plant 

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The reactor pressure vessel of the third unit at India’s Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP) in Tamil Nadu state has been installed in its designated position on April 30, 2022.  

State-run operator Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL) is constructing the KNPP with the assistance of Russian state atomic energy corporation Rosatom, which is the equipment supplier and technical consultant of the project that proposes to construct 6 reactors of 1,000 MW each. Units 1 and 2 have been connected to the grid in 2013 and 2016, respectively.  

A Rosatom statement described the installation of the reactor pressure vessel as a milestone that facilitates “further activities for the assembly of the reactor plant equipment, allowing to speed up the construction.” For the first time, NPCIL assembled the reactor vessel of the Russian designed VVER-1000 units using the “Open Top” method, the statement added.  

“This technology makes it possible to significantly reduce the time period of the project implementation due to optimisation and reduction of the duration and number of assembly operations”, Rosatom said.  

A caterpillar crane – Liebherr LR-11350 – with a capacity of 1,130 tons was used for the safe installation of the reactor vessel that weighs 327 tons, it added. With its 322 mm thick steel wall, the reactor pressure vessel is the core component of the reactor as it holds the nuclear fuel and functions as one of several barriers that keep radioactive material from leaking into the environment. 

Phase 2 of the KNPP construction, involving units 3 and 4, are currently at an advanced stage. The first concrete was poured into the foundation plate of the reactor building for the fifth unit on June 29, 2021, which marked the official commencement of the third phase of construction consisting of units 5 and 6. The construction of unit 6 was officially launched on December 20, 2021, with the first concreting in the foundation slab of the reactor building.  

Meanwhile, as part of its activities for community development in the local area of the Kudankulam plant, Rosatom’s engineering division AES has handed over equipment to the Atomic Energy Central School located near the KNPP construction site. 

“We plan to expand the area of realisation of charity programs in the territory of India in 2022. For example, in order to provide high-quality education to the population of the Republic within the framework of the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, in addition to helping the school, we intend to purchase books and equipment for the library located in Kudankulam township”, Head of the Construction Division at KNPP, Vadim Khlivnenko, said in a statement.  

The Rosatom statement earlier this week said more than 600 children from nearby villages attend the school, which AES has been supporting for more than 10 years. The equipment, that includes computers, printers, multifunction devices, digital cameras, and laboratory equipment, is provided as part of the realisation of one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals of ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all, the statement added.