11 September 2014

Oldest Indian Reactor Will Not Restart

After 10 years in Long Term Outage (LTO) it was reported on 6 September 2014 that there will be no restart for the first unit of Rajasthan Atomic Power Station (RAPS-1), located at Rawatbata, 64 km southwest of Kota in the northwestern Indian state of Rajasthan. The 100 MW Pressurized Heavy Water Reactor (PHWR), which was supplied to India under a 1963 agreement with Canada, operated from 1972 to 2004, though with multiple extended shutdowns. A formal decision by the Indian Government to decommission the reactor has yet to be made, but the Chair of the Atomic Energy Commission, explicitly stated: “We are not going to restart RAPS 1."

A serious problem with cracking of the reactor’s end shield led to the reactor being shut down for 7 of its 32 years of operation, and the reactor was finally downrated to 100 MW from its design capacity of 207 MW. At the time of its shutdown, the reactor had a load factor of 22.3 percent, with a lifetime load factor of 19.3 percent. In July 2014 it was listed in the WNISR as one of 45 reactors in LTO globally.

The reactor has a symbolic importance as the oldest commercial reactor in India with its operation considered the start of India’s nuclear energy program. Cooperation with Canada was suspended following India’s 1974 nuclear weapons test; however design details for the PHWR had already been transferred to India.