Reactor pressure vessel installed at Kudankulam 4

30 January 2024

The reactor pressure vessel (RPV) has been installed at unit 4 of the Kudankulam NPP under construction in the southern state of Tamil Nadu in India with the assistance of Rosatom. The RPV installation was carried out using open top technology, which had already been used at Kudankulam 3. This involves installing reactor components through the open dome, which significantly reduces the time required for the operation. Preparation was carried out in record time, according to Rosatom. In the morning the equipment was transferred to a vertical position, then the crane lifted it to a height of 50 metres and lowered it into the reactor building. Installation of key equipment such as steam generators, the main circulation pumping units and the pressure compensator will now begin.

The RPV, weighing more than 317 tonnes, was delivered from Volgodonsk in Russia to the construction site in 2023 as part of an unprecedented complex and large-scale simultaneous shipment of two reactor vessels and eight steam generators for two NPPs under construction in India and China.

Kudankulam NPP, being constructed with Russian assistance, will comprise six units with VVER-1000 reactors. Work began following an intergovernmental agreement between India and Russia signed in 1988. Units 1&2 (Phase I) are already in operation and work is underway to build units 3-6 (Phases II and III). The customer and operator of the station NPCIL, the general contractor is JSC ASE JSC (Rosatom’s Engineering Division), general designer Atomenergoproject and equipment designer OKB Gidropress.

Units 1&2 began operation in 2016. The general framework agreement with Rosatom on the construction units 3&4 was signed in 2014 and, in 2017, the engineering division of Rosatom and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) signed an agreement on the construction units 5&6. Work on units 5&6 began in 2021 and the NPP is expected to be operating at full capacity by 2027. The roadmap for nuclear cooperation between Russia and India provides for the construction of a total 12 units in India, including 4-8 at Kudankulam. Rosatom also supplies fuel for the plants.

Image: Installation of the reactor vessel at unit 4 of the Kudankulam nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu, India (courtesy of ASE)

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