1 January 2022


Construction Start at Kudankulam‑6 in India

There are now 21 operating nuclear reactors in India and eight under construction. Only three new units were connected to the grid over the past decade, and with an average of 11.5 years, construction times were excessively long. Contributing 40 TWh (billion kWh) in 2020 or 3.3 percent of the national electricity generation, nuclear power’s role remains modest in India, and solar and wind individually produced about 50 percent more electricity than the nuclear plants.

WNISR, 31 December 2021

On 20 December 2021, first basemat concrete was poured for the Kudankulam-6 reactor in the Tirunelveli district of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The VVER-1000 MW reactor (model VVER V-412) is supplied by Russian state agency Rosatom and owned by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL). Kudankulam-5 construction began on 29 June 2021.

Construction Start at Kudankulam-6 in India — Photo: Rosatom

Kudankulam-3 & -4, construction of which began on 29 June 2017 and 23 October 2017 respectively, are still officially planned to begin commercial operation in March and November 2023; however it was reported by Nuclear Intelligence Weekly in July 2021 that their startup had been delayed with construction completions expected September 2024 and March 2025.

As reported in WNISR 2021, performance of Kudankulam-1 and -2, which were connected to the grid in October 2013 and August 2016 respectively, has been poor. During the 2020-2021 financial year, NPCIL records capacity factors of 64 percent and 72 percent respectively. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Power Reactor Information System (PRIS) database, Kudankulam-1 and Kudankulam-2 had load factors of 60.7 percent and 71.9 percent in 2020, and cumulative load factors of 53.4 percent and 52.3 percent respectively. The official tariff for electricity from Kudankulam-1 and -2 is the highest among all nuclear plants.

In April 2019, the Department for Atomic (DAE) confirmed the claims of Poovulagin Nanbaragal, a Chennai-based environmentalist group, that here had been multiple unexplained outages of the first units of Kudankulam.