India approves first concrete for Gorakhpur 1&2

30 November 2020

India’s Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) said on 27 November that, at a recent meeting it had given its approval for first concrete to be poured for the twin units of Gorakhpur Haryana Anu Vidyut nuclear power plant.

Four units with 700MWe Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs) are being constructed by Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) at Gorakhpur, Haryana. AERB had issued the Siting Consent for the proposed site in July 2015 and consent for site excavation for Units-1&2 was granted in January 2018.

The units are similar in design to the lead units of 700MWe PHWRs now being commissioned at  units 3&4 of the Kakrapar Atomic Power Project (KAPP). In view of the soft alluvial soil at the site, detailed geotechnical investigations and seismo-tectonic studies were conducted by NPCIL and, the site has been engineered accordingly. Ground improvement works have been completed. Meteorological parameters are being collected at site and recorded, AERB said. The industrial and fire safety section and  quality assurance section are functional.

Before approving first concrete, AERB said it had carried out an in-depth safety review through its multi-tier safety committees to verify conformance with the requirements specified in the relevant Safety Codes. The safety review focused on civil engineering aspects and changes in design and layout of the two units with respect to nuclear & radiological safety.

Siting approval granted for Kaiga 5&6

At the same meeting, on 18 November, AERB gave siting consent for units 5&6 of the Kaiga NPP in Karnataka, also 700MWe PHWRs. NPCIL has proposed constructing two 700MWe PHWRs at the existing Kaiga site, where four 220MWe PHWR type reactors are already in operation. The Plant design and layout of Kaiga 5&6 is similar to Gorakhpur 1&2 except for certain site specific changes.

AERB carried out the in-depth safety review through multi-tier safety committees focusing on the radiological impact assessment due to postulated releases under normal and accidental conditions. Site-specific natural and human-induced events were reviewed with respect to their impact on the plant and found acceptable. All other requirements as specified in AERB’s Safety Code on ‘Site Evaluation for Nuclear facilities’ were reviewed and verified.

Photo: Gorakhpur site in Haryana (Credit: AERB)

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