India’s Kakrapar-3 nuclear power reactor has achieved criticality for the first time, according to Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited. The unit reached this latest milestone at 9:36 a.m. (local time) on July 22, after completing fuel loading in mid-March, NPCIL said.
Details: The Kakrapar plant, located in the Indian state of Gujarat, houses four reactors: Units 1 and 2, 202-MWe four-loop pressurized heavy-water reactors that have been in commercial operation since the 1990s, and Units 3 and 4, twin 630-MWe Indian-designed PHWR-700 reactors that are slated for startup this year and next, respectively. The July milestone is particularly significant, given that Unit 3 will be the first PHWR-700 to produce electricity.
PHWR-700 reactors are also scheduled for commercial operation later this decade at India’s Rajasthan and Gorakhpur plants.
What they’re saying: “Congratulations to our nuclear scientists for achieving criticality of Kakrapar Atomic Power Plant-3!” tweeted Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “This indigenously designed . . . reactor is a shining example of Make in India. And a trailblazer for many such future achievements!”
(The Make in India initiative, launched by the prime minister in 2014, was devised to transform India into a global design and manufacturing hub, according to its website.)