Nuclear energy

Nuclear Power Station of Kaiga Nuclear Power Plant, India

Nuclear Power Station of Kaiga Nuclear Power Plant, India

The Kaiga nuclear plant is a nuclear power plant for the generation of electric power. The facility is located in the Uttara-Kannada district of the state of Karnataka in India. The nuclear power plant includes four power units of 220 MW each. The type of reactor used to harness the radiation generated in nuclear fission is the PHWR.

  • The first nuclear reactor was put into operation on November 16, 2000.
  • The second reactor was launched on March 16, 2000.
  • The third nuclear reactor was launched on June 5, 2007.
  • The fourth nuclear reactor was launched on January 20, 2011.
  •  The fifth and sixth blocks were also planned, but these plans provoked protests from local residents. At this time, the planning of new units in the station is suspended.

In 2002, the construction of two more blocks began. The Ukrainian company OJSC Turboatom, which won the tender for the supply of steam turbines for the third and fourth blocks of the nuclear power plant, took care of the supply of turbine equipment for them. The supply also participated as subcontractors of the Electrotyazhmash plant, the "Monolith" plant and the Ziomar company.

The third nuclear block was commissioned on May 5, 2007. On the night of August 25-26, the nuclear reactor was abnormally stopped due to a failure of the electric generator. The unit was only launched in June 2008 after more than 9 months of inactivity.

On January 20, 2011, the fourth power unit was launched. The construction of the block was completed much earlier, but the launch of the nuclear reactor was postponed due to the shortage of natural uranium in India, the nuclear fuel used.

Nuclear Incidents

Throughout the history of nuclear power in India, the Kaiga nuclear power plant has suffered some nuclear incidents.

Collapse of Structures of Block 1

On May 13, 1994, approximately 40% of the materials of the internal cover (mostly of concrete) weighing about 130 tons suddenly collapsed in the first block when tensioning the ropes creating the prestress of the containment dome.

In this nuclear incident there were no casualties or damage to important equipment. 14 people received minor injuries. The completion of the first block was originally planned for 1996, but as a result of the incident, this happened much later, in 2000.

Breakdown of the Generating Unit 3

On the night of August 25-26, 2007, due to a breakdown in the electrical generator, the third power unit of the station was shut down. The equipment, which failed, was supplied by the Ukrainian company Turboatom, manufactured as a subcontractor.

Turboatom, together with the subcontractors, came to the conclusion that the failure was due to the failure of the Indian side due to the violations committed in the installation of electromechanical equipment.

The Indian side did not make any financial claim. In December, a direct contract was signed between the Nuclear Power Corporation of India and the Electrotyazhmash plant for the supply of necessary spare parts to eliminate the problem. In June 2008, the repair work was completed and the unit started up. The loss of profits of the Indian operating organization as a result of more than 9 months of forced inactivity amounted to tens of millions of dollars.

Tritium Poisoning of Employees of the Nuclear Power Plant

On November 24, 2009, the results of the daily tests revealed 55 cases of tritium in the urine. All staff members were hospitalized. The results of the test showed that the source of contamination was the refrigerator water. There were no leaks in the station. A version was presented that someone deliberately placed tritium in the refrigerator and, later, this version was officially confirmed.

Reactor typePHWR
Reactor modelHorizontal Pressure Tube type
Grid connection2000-10-12
OwnerNuclear Power Corporation Of India Ltd.
OperatorNuclear Power Corporation Of India Ltd.
ZoneKaiga, Uttara Kannada

Published: January 6, 2013
Last review: January 24, 2019

Nuclear power plants in India