KAPP-4 atomic power plant in Surat achieves ‘First Criticality’

Mumbai, Dec 17 : The 700MW Kakrapar Atomic Power Project (KAPP 4) in Surat, Gujarat, achieved its important milestone of Criticality, or, the start of control fission chain reaction, for the first time early on Sunday, officials said here.

The KAPP-4 achieved criticality at 1.17 am today after meeting all the stipulations of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB), which issued clearance after a rigorous review of the safety of the plant systems.

The milestone of KAPP-4 – the second in the series of 16 indigenous Pressurised Heavy Water Reactions of 700MW each being set up around the country – was witnessed by Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL) Chairman and Managing Director B. C. Pathak, at the control room along with his team.

Pathak lauded his team for the landmark development and said that “the achievement of criticality of KAPP-4 within six months of the commercial operations of KAPP-3 is significant”.

Along with the smooth operations of the KAPP-3, this demonstrates the strength of NPCIL in all facets of nuclear power including design, construction, commissioning and operation, remarked Pathak.

After the ‘first criticality’, now several experiments/tests shall be conducted at KAPP-4, and the power level will be raised in steps, in line with the AERB clearances, and ultimately culminating in operation of the unit at its full power.

The KAPP-3 & 4 are located in Kakrapar in Surat district, adjacent to the existing KAPS 1 & 2, each of 220MW.

Officials said that these indigenous PHWRs have advanced safety features and are among the safest reactors in the world.

The NPCIL has designed, constructed, commissioned and operated these reactors, the supply of equipment and execution of contracts have been by Indian industries / companies, reflecting the spirit of AtmaNirbhar Bharat.

Presently, the NPCIL operates 23 reactors with a total capacity of 7480 MW and has nine units (including KAPP-4) with a capacity of 7500 MW under construction.

In addition, 10 more reactors with a total capacity of 7000 MW are in pre-project activities. These are expected to be completed progressively by 2031-32.