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Key parts yet to arrive, 5 more months to restart Tarapur nuclear reactors

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 Tarapur Atomic Power Station

Palghar, May 10 (PTI) The nation’s first two nuclear reactors at the Tarapur Atomic Power Station (TAPS) that have been closed for repairs since 2020 will take another five months to resume operations due to a delay in the delivery of essential components, officials said on Friday.

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Officials said they were waiting for some special metal pipes from Italy but the tubes did not arrive in time. The manufacturer is finding it difficult to produce the pipes as the order is quite small, they said.

Initially scheduled for reactivation on May 9, the reactors will remain offline until October, pending the awaited supplies, an official said.

The two Boiling Water Reactors (BWRs), each with a capacity of 160 megawatts, were installed in 1969 at TAPS, about 100 km from Mumbai on the country’s western coast.

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The BWRs boil water which is converted into steam to run the turbine for electricity production and then recycled back to water through a condenser to be re-used in the heat-generation process.

The overhaul, estimated at Rs 351 crore, aims to address immediate concerns and extend the reactors’ operational life by a decade.

Additionally, TAPS has two Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors, each with a capacity of 540 megawatts. India now has 22 operating reactors, with an installed capacity of 6,780 megawatts.

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The ongoing repairs to the BWRs involve replacing the primary recirculation system, installed in 1969, to rectify microscopic cracks detected in the external circulation system adjacent to both reactors, an official said.

Sanjay Mulkalwar, station director of TAPS, reiterated the reactors' significance in the region's power grid, assuring continued operation for at least the next decade. Ongoing tests have affirmed a substantial remaining operational life for both reactors, he said.

The repairs involve challenges like potential radiation exposure, space constraints, and intricate utility networks complicating the pipeline replacement process.

Specialized stainless steel 316 LN pipes, sourced from Italy, are central to the repairs, though their delayed delivery has caused the current setback, officials said.

Despite the delay, authorities remain optimistic about the project's completion by mid-September, followed by rigorous testing before power generation resumes in November. PTI COR NR

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