Nuclear power is emerging as an important component of India’s energy mix with the potential to provide energy security for the country in the longer term. The integrated energy policy of the country projects 4 to 5 times increase in the installed capacity in the next two decades from the present level of about 200 GW. It is envisaged that by the year 2032 nuclear power will contribute about 63,000 MW to the installed capacity and accordingly a large expansion of nuclear power from the present level of 4,780 MW is planned.
Currently, NPCIL has 20 operating reactors at 6 locations with a total installed capacity of 4,780 MW. Two Pressurized Water Reactors of 1,000 MW capacity each of Russian design (VVERs) are under advanced stages of commissioning. Construction of 4 units of 700 MW Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs) of indigenous design has started at two existing sites and a 500MW Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor designed by Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR) is being constructed by Bhartiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam (BHAVINI). In addition, plans to construct a number of NPPs of Indian as well as foreign designs are being pursued actively.
Indian industry has built the necessary capability for manufacturing components and for construction of the NPPs meeting the stringent nuclear standards. Strong emphasis has also been placed on research and development in nuclear technology to support this ambitious nuclear power programme. Having achieved safe and reliable operation of about 360 reactor- years spread over 42 years, the Indian nuclear programme has demonstrated a high level of maturity. The safety track record of Indian nuclear power plants has been impeccable without any incident involving significant radioactivity release in public domain. The principle of “Safety First” is adopted in all activities in nuclear power plants. Safety is a continuously evolving process both for the utility and the regulator. To keep pace with advances in technology and evolving safety standards and to effectively use operating experience feedback, AERB requires that safety review of all operating NPPs is carried out periodically and necessary upgrades in hardware and procedures are implemented enhance the level of safety.
The March 11, 2011 accident at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station in Japan has given rise to the need for a re-examination of the design and operational features in the NPPs towards meeting the challenge from beyond design basis events of natural origin. The nuclear Industry across the world has conducted detailed reviews to reassess the capability in dealing with such unprecedented situations. In the backdrop of the Fukushima experience, it is most appropriate to deliberate on the various issues related to “Safety in Design, Construction and Operation of Nuclear Power Plants”, the theme of the 23rd Indian Nuclear Society Annual Conference (INSAC-2012).
This conference is expected to highlight the vital role that designers, equipment manufacturers, construction agencies, operators, regulators and researchers can play in enhancing the safety of NPPs. The following broad topics are proposed for the invited talks in INSAC-2012.
- Lessons learnt from Fukushima and other nuclear accidents. (Design, Construction & Operation)
- Safety features of advanced designs of NPPs.
- Advances in safety assessments of NPPs.
- Severe accident management strategies for NPPs.
- New insights in off-site emergency plans for NPPs.
- Enhancing operational safety of NPPs.
- Advances in construction & manufacturing technology for enhanced safety of NPPs.