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November 22, 2010

India begins building home grown nuclear reactor design and China nuclear keeps rolling

1. India's first pair of indigenously designed 700 MWe pressurised heavy water reactors (PHWRs) are now officially under construction with the first pouring of concrete at Kakrapar 3 and 4.

Ground breaking for the two units, in Gujarat state, began in January 2010 and excavation works and other preparatory site works were completed by August, in record time according to Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL). Approval from India's Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) was needed before concrete pouring could go ahead. The units are slated to start up in 2015 and 2016.

Indian plans call for 20,000 MWe of nuclear capacity to be on line by 2020 and 63,000 MWe by 2032, with nuclear supplying 25% of the country's electricity by 2050. It already has 19 operating reactors totalling 4183 MWe, and Kakrapar 3 and 4 mean the country now has 6 reactors under construction, the others being a 220 MWe PHWR at Kaiga 4, two 1000 MWe Russian-design VVER pressurised water reactors at Kudankulam, plus the 500 MWe Kalpakkam prototype fast breeder reactor (PFBR). All are scheduled to start up by mid-2011, although reports earlier this year suggested that the Kalpakkam PFBR could be delayed by up to a year.



2. The second unit of the Changjiang nuclear power plant on China's southern island province of Hainan has officially begun construction

Initial approval for the construction of the Changjiang plant was granted by China's National Developmental and Reform Commission (NDRC)in July 2008. Site works began in December 2008. Construction of Unit 1 began on 25 April 2010 and the reactor is scheduled to begin operating by the end of 2014. Unit 2 is set to start up in 2015.

The total cost of the first two units is put at some 20 billion yuan ($3 billion). More than 70% of the equipment for the Changjiang plant is to be made in China.

According to CNNC, the construction of the nuclear power reactors on Hainan will reduce the province's consumption of coal by more than 300 million tonnes annually.

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