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India Launches Its First 700 MW PHWR

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• Nuclear Power Corp. of India Ltd. (NPCIL) synchronized Kakrapar-3 in the western state of Gujarat to the grid on Jan. 10, making it the first of India's 700 megawatt indigenously developed pressurized heavy water reactors (PHWRs) to reach this milestone (NIW Sep.18'20). The news was tweeted by Anil Kakodkar, former chairman of the Department of Atomic Energy, who said that 15 more units of the same design will follow. Three of these are currently under construction -- another at Kakrapar, and two at NPCIL's Rajasthan plant. They will be followed by two at the greenfield Gorakhpur site in Haryana, and then a planned 10-unit fleet at Gorakhpur and three other sites. Kakrapar-3 was five years past its 2015 completion date, achieving criticality in July 2020, 10 years after construction began. Commercial operations are slated to begin in March, according to NPCIL's website, although that deadline will likely not be met. India's nuclear suppliers should be feeling some relief over Kakrapar-3's start-up, although order flows will depend on how quickly NPCIL can get other projects moving, and the course of the Covid-19 pandemic (NIW Dec.11'20). • The inaugural US small modular reactor (SMR) project has moved into its second phase with Fluor and its NuScale subsidiary announcing Jan. 11 that per agreements with the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (Uamps) they "are to develop higher maturity cost estimates and initial project planning work for the licensing, manufacturing and construction of the CFPP [Carbon Free Power Project]." However, Uamps confirmed to Energy Intelligence that committed offtake now stands at just 100 MW for what was planned as a 750 MW, 12-module SMR plant. With NuScale providing additional options for "plant size configuration, Uamps could decide to build a plant ranging from 4 modules (308 megawatts) to 12 modules (924 megawatts)," a Uamps spokesman wrote in an email. In early 2019 Uamps boasted offtake commitments of 230 MW. But that included US Department of Energy (DOE) plans to take output from up to two 60 MW modules. Those plans ended last year with the DOE instead offering $1.35 billion in multiyear funding for the project. Eight Uamps subscribers dropped out of the project and another two offtakers substantially reduced their commitments. • Across the ocean NuScale has launched a play for the UK market via a memorandum of understanding with start-up clean energy firm Shearwater Energy to explore the deployment of hybrid SMR and wind energy projects across the country. The companies are hoping to score a flagship site at or near the Wylfa plant in north Wales, where last year Hitachi decided to wind down its advanced boiling water reactor (ABWR) project development company (NIW Sep.18'20). A Wylfa SMR-wind plant "will provide 3 GW of reliable, zero-carbon electricity at a fraction of the cost of a conventional nuclear power station with surplus energy generation focused on the production of hydrogen to support the transport sector’s transition to low-carbon fuels," Shearwater CEO Simon Forster said in a Jan. 12 statement. But Shearwater was only incorporated in 2018, and any way forward for the project is likely to depend on suitably attractive economics, a UK government nuclear subsidy regime, plus locking in a site that may be grabbed by another interested consortium first (related).

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