Nuclear Reactors

Most of India’s reactors are derivatives of the Canadian Deuterium-Uranium (CANDU) process and have been developed indigenously. These heavy water reactors designs have been upgraded by Indian engineers to 700 megawatt capacity and all new Indian-technology deployments are at the 700 megawatt level using Indian-produced heavy water and largely imported natural uranium and are operated by India’s government owned nuclear monopoly, Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL). India is eager to export this technology and has discussions with Kazakhstan and Mexico about such needs

Most of the foreign effort is focused on building out nuclear parks with multiple 1000 MW reactors. Using light water technology and enriched uranium Russia’s VVER, Westinghouse’s new AP 1000, General Electric’s ABWR  and Areva’s EPR are competing for new builds.

India may have a market for smaller reactors in locations that cannot absorb high generating capacity and are not convenient to the national grid. Babcock and Wilcox’s  mPower and NuScale Power light water reactor may also have a potential market in power-starved India.

So far the country is keen to develop its own fast breeder technology. A small prototype has been functional at Kalpakkam for many years but the Department of Atomic Energy has setup a separate company, Bhartiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam (Bhavini) to build and operate a series of 500 megawatt fast breeder reactors. Foreign input on these is not currently possible. The first of these is being completed perhaps by 2013  India also wants to develop and commercialize Thorium cycle reactors since it has very large reserves of thorium sands.

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