The nuclear fuel complex in Rajasthan, the second such facility in the country is expected to go on stream in 2022. The complex, the second after Hyderabad is being set up at Rawatbhata in Rajasthan for Rs18,000 crores.
The Hyderabad-based Nuclear Fuel Complex (NFC) is the nodal agency for this project and the site is located within the precincts of the Rajasthan Atomic Power Station (RAPS), at Rawatbhata which is 65 km from Kota.
The heavy water plant and the site were chosen as the nuclear experts found the predisposed site along river Chambal ideal for the fuel complex.
The fuel fabrication facility (PFFF) and zirconium fabrication facility(ZFF), is a project of the NFC. The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd produces nuclear power has an expansion plan to add 10 units of 700 MW and Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs) in the coming decade for which a constant stream of nuclear fuel would be required.
The Hyderabad nuclear fuel facility was set up in 1971 at Hyderabad and after that, the second facility would come at Rawatbhata.
What the new nuclear facility will provide?
The proposed facility at Rawatbhata will supply nuclear fuel bundles and reactor core components. It is a unique facility where natural and enriched uranium fuel, zirconium alloy cladding, and reactor core components are manufactured under one roof.
NFC symbolizes the strong emphasis on self-reliance in the Indian Nuclear Power Programme. As the number of nuclear plants in the country has increased in the past four decades, the need for setting up another NFC facility was felt.
As Rawatbhata is a big hub for nuclear power generation it was felt that this could be an ideal location, said an official of the Nuclear Fuel Complex in Hyderabad.
The Rawatbhata complex will have a 500 tonne per year fabrication facility and it will also have a 65 tonne per year zircaloy plant.
In Rawatbhata, six nuclear power plants are currently generating 1180mwe of power. Two of the new Indian-designed 700mwe series of the reactor (RAPP-7 and RAPP-8) are under construction. The two reactors will cost an estimated Rs 123.2 billion ($2.6 billion) and are likely to be completed by 2016-17 and after this, the total production from RAPS will touch 1400mw.
Role of NFC in nuclear project
At present, NFC supplies fuel to the 19 operational power plants run by the NPC, which has 20 plants with an installed capacity of 4,800mw.
A proposal is under consideration of the Union government to accord ‘in principle’ approval for the site at Mahi-Banswara recommended by the site selection committee for locating the indigenous 700 MW Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs) at Banswara in Rajasthan, a backward tribal region in southern Rajasthan.
To read the latest news in Gujarati click here