At a time when the country’s e-media is continuously busy with debating on unprecedented spread of COVID 19 virus and designing the appropriate action against China, Indian nuclear scientists have created yet another milestone. Kakrapar Atomic Power Plant, Unit-3 (KAPP-3), India’s first 700 MWe (megawatt electric) Pressurized Heavy Water Reactor (PHWR) with innovative features has attained criticality at around 0936 Hrs on 22 July 2020.
A nuclear reactor attains criticality when every nuclear fission event releases a sufficient number of neutrons to sustain an ongoing series of reactions or a self-sustaining chain reaction. Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) has carried out exhaustive safety review of various safety aspects to ensure satisfactory compliances to regulatory requirements and granted permission for First Approach to Criticality of KAPP-3 on 17 July, 2020.
Due to prevailing COVID-19 situation, the safety review was carried out by working from home, partial working from office and through discussions and meetings over video conferencing. The criticality has been witnessed by the AERB Observer Team posted at Kakrapar Site and by AERB experts at Headquarters through live streaming from KAPP-3 Control Room.
Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has congratulated the achievement of Indian nuclear scientists, in a tweet. He has said, “Congratulations to our nuclear scientists for achieving criticality of Kakrapar Atomic Power Plant-3! This indigenously designed 700 MWe KAPP-3 reactor is a shining example of Make in India. And a trailblazer for many such future achievements!”
KAPP-3 is located at Kakrapar Site, Gujarat, where already two 220 MWe PHWRs (KAPS-1 & KAPS-2) are in operation and another 700 MWe PHWR (KAPP-4) is under advanced stage of construction.