Reactor vessel installed for unit 4 of India’s Kudankulam nuclear power plant

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The reactor pressure vessel for the fourth 1,000 MW unit at the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP) in Tamil Nadu state was installed in the design position in the last week of January 2024, according to the Russian state atomic energy corporation Rosatom.  

Rosatom, which is the equipment supplier and technical consultant for the KNPP, India’s largest nuclear plant, said in a statement that the reactor pressure vessel for unit 4 was installed on January 24, 2024.  

It said that the reactor vessel, weighing over 317 tonnes, was installed using the “Open Top technology”, which had been successfully tested at the KNPP unit 3. This technology involves installation of the reactor vessel through an open dome, which significantly increases the installation speed. 

“The preparations for the operation were completed in record-breaking time, that is, in the morning the equipment was brought into the vertical position, lifted by crane to a 50-metre height and then taken down into the reactor shaft of the reactor building,” the statement added.  

Following the installation of the reactor pressure vessel, the work will start to install the equipment of the nuclear steam supply system, including steam generators, casings of the reactor coolant pump units and the pressuriser. 

Rosatom said that the installation work was completed in the presence of the state-run operator Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) Chairman, Bhuwan Chandra Pathak, and Rosatom’s First Deputy Director General for Nuclear Energy, Andrei Petrov.  

KNPP units 1 and 2, of 1,000 MW capacity each, started commercial operations in 2014 and 2016, respectively. The construction is underway of four more units at Kudankulam – 3, 4, 5 and 6 – also of 1,000 MW capacity each.