Kaiga (Karnataka): India`s 20th nuclear
power plant Saturday became operational here taking the total
installed atomic power capacity in the country to 4780 MW.
The indigenously-developed 220 MW capacity Unit 4 of the
Kaiga Atomic Power Station attained criticality at 8.07.22 am
making India the sixth country in the world to have 20 or more
nuclear power plants in operation.
A nuclear reactor is said to have attained criticality
when it is ready to maintain stability of the chain reaction
indicating that the unit has achieved a steady output of
The Kaiga-4 was built a few years ago but was unable to
start power production for want of fuel.
India`s exemption from the Nuclear Suppliers` Group
guidelines in 2008 that facilitated its return to global
nuclear trade made the access to fuel possible.
The announcement of Kaiga-4 attaining criticality was
made by the Atomic Energy Commission chairman Srikumar Banerjee in the presence of Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited
(NPCIL) chairman-cum-managing director Shreyans Kumar Jain and
a number of senior officials at the plant site.
"I announce that Unit 4 has attained criticality," said
Banerjee. He said that it would be the endeavour of the
department to ensure that the new unit is connected with the
grid as early as possible which could be followed by
commercial production of power.
The Kaiga Unit 4 will now undergo a series of checks from
the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) before being
synchronised with the grid. The commercial production will
The entire processes from criticality to commercial
production takes about two months.
Three units of 220 MW each are already generating
electricity at the Kaiga nuclear station at about 60 per cent
of their capacity.
Kaiga is NPCIL`s sixth nuclear power plant site.
The third unit at Kaiga attained criticality in February
2007 in less than five years of first pouring of concrete.
Kaiga 1 and 2 had attained criticality in 2000.
Kaiga 4 has raised the installed capacity at the power
station here to 880 MW, the third largest site of NPCIL after
Tarapur and Rawatbhata.
Presently, India produces 568 billion units of
electricity and of that 23 per cent is from hydro-power, 64
per cent from thermal power, 10 per cent by non-conventional
methods and only three per cent by the nuclear power.