Moving ahead with its nuclear programme in the backdrop of the Fukushima accident, India on Monday began construction of its 25th atomic power plant.
The first pour of concrete for the 700 MW indigenous Pressurised Heavy Water Reactor (PHWR), the seventh nuclear plant at the Rajasthan Atomic Power Station (RAPS), took place in this bustling Rajasthan township, about 65 km from Kota.
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The first pour of concrete ceremony, which signals the beginning of the construction of a nuclear plant, was attended by Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Srikumar Banerjee and Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) CMD Shreyans Kumar Jain.
Banerjee gave the command to pour the concrete by pressing the button on the control panel of the concrete pressure pump. Soon after, the M45 grade concrete began pouring in the foundation of what would be the emergency core cooling system of the new reactor building.
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The concrete is being poured at the rate of 90 cubic metres per hour and at a controlled temperature of 19 degree Celsius. To monitor the temperature, ice is being mixed with the concrete.
The 700 MW PHWR, designed by NPCIL by scaling up its 540 MW PHWRs under operation at Tarapur since 2005, is expected to be completed in the next five years.
Banerjee said: "The 540 MW PHWR at Tarapur was built by NPCIL in a record time of four years and ten months. We will try to beat that record".
RAPS already has six units of PHWRs, five of which are producing over 1180 MW, the largest from a single site.
Construction for the seventh unit began on Monday and excavation work is currently on for the eighth unit, also a 700 MW PHWR.