WNISR, 15 January 2021
Kakrapar units 3 and 4 under construction — Photo DAE
The 700-MW Kakrapar Pressurized Heavy Water Reactor (PHWR) Unit 3 in the Indian state of Gujarat was connected to the grid on 10 January 2021, according to the Indian Department of Atomic Energy (DAE). State owned Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPICL) began construction of India’s largest capacity reactor on 22 November 2010 with operation originally planned for 2015. Construction of unit 4 at Kakrapar began in March 2011.
The reactor type is considered the first of India’s indigenously designed PHWR, which is based on the heavy water CANDU reactor. In total 12 of the 700-MW series PHWR are planned to be constructed in India.
The project costs of Kakrapar Phase II (units 3 and 4) have significantly exceeded the original project costs. In 2019, NPCIL sent a formal communication to the state of Gujarat seeking an increase in tariffs, from Rs3.34/kWh to 5.31/kWh (US$0.05 to US$0.07/kWh). The state of Gujarat is to purchase 50 percent of the projected power output. After being notified of the intention to increase tariffs, the state reportedly asked the central Government to intervene and impose lower tariffs, pointing out that the average purchase price for non-renewable based power in the previous year was Rs.3.98/kWh (US$0.06/kWh).
The grid connection of Kakrapar-3 brings to 21 the number of reactors operating in India, with six reactors remaining under construction.