Nuclear power is the use of nuclear reactions that release nuclear energy to generate heat, which most frequently is then used in steam turbines to produce electricity in a nuclear power plant. Nuclear power can be obtained from nuclear fission, nuclear decay and nuclear fusion reactions. Presently, the vast majority of electricity from nuclear power is produced by nuclear fission of uranium and plutonium. Nuclear decay processes are used in niche applications such as radioisotope thermoelectric generators. Generating electricity from fusion power remains at the focus of international research.
Nuclear Power Plants in India
Nuclear power in India delivers a total capacity of 6.7GW, contributing to just under 2% of the country’s electricity supply. India’s nuclear plants are controlled by Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL), a state-owned corporation which was founded in 1987.
- Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant: It was located in the Tamil Nadu, Southern India. It is the highest-capacity nuclear plant in India, with a total of 2,000MW currently installed with a further 2,000MW under construction. Kudankulam is the only nuclear plant in India that uses pressurised water reactors (PWR) rather than boiling water reactors (BHWR) or pressurised heavy-water reactors (PHWR).
- Tarapur Nuclear Reactor: It located in Maharashtra, Western India is the oldest nuclear facility in India, having commenced commercial operations in 1969. The reactor is currently the second most powerful in India
- Rajasthan Atomic Power Plant: It was located in Rajasthan, North-Western India has a total installed capacity of 1180MW. Formed of six PHWR reactors with two more reactors planned, the first reactor was commissioned back in December 1973.
- Kaiga Atomic Power Plant: It was located in Karnataka, Western India is formed of four 220MW PHWR reactors making a total of 880MW.
- Kalapakkam Nuclear Power Plant: It located in Tamil Nadu first began operating in 1984 and currently has two 235MW reactors, with two more reactors of 500MW and 600MW to be added at a later date. It has a prototype fast breeder reactor (PFBR) which does not produce highly radioactive nuclear waste and can produce 70% more energy.
- Narora Nuclear Reactor: The Narora Nuclear Reactor in Uttar Pradesh, Northern India has two PHWR which offer a total capacity of 440MW. Unit 1 was installed in January 1991, and unit 2 following in July 1992.
- Kakarapar Atomic Power Plant: It was located in Gujarat, Western India has two PHWR reactors with a total installed capacity of 440MW. The two reactors were completed in May 1993 and September 1995 respectively.