Tarapur Atomic Power Station

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Tarapur Atomic Power Station
Tarapur Atomic Power Station is located in Maharashtra
Tarapur Atomic Power Station
Location of Tarapur Atomic Power Station
Country India
Coordinates 19°49′44.33″N 72°39′40.34″E / 19.8289806°N 72.6612056°E / 19.8289806; 72.6612056Coordinates: 19°49′44.33″N 72°39′40.34″E / 19.8289806°N 72.6612056°E / 19.8289806; 72.6612056
Construction began 1962
Commission date 28 October 1969
Operator(s) Nuclear Power Corporation of India LTD.
Power generation
Units operational 2 x 160 MW
2 x 540 MW
Annual generation 4,829

Tarapur Atomic Power Station (T.A.P.S.) is located in Tarapur, Maharashtra (India). It was initially constructed with two boiling water reactor (BWR) units of 210 MWe each initially by Bechtel and GE under the 1963 123 Agreement between India, the United States, and the International Atomic Energy Agency. The capacity of units 1 and 2 was reduced to 160 MWe later on due to technical difficulties. Units 1 and 2 were brought online for commercial operation on October 28, 1969.[1] These were the first of their kind in Asia. More recently, an additional two pressurised heavy water reactor (PHWR) units of 540 MW each were constructed by L & T and Gammon India, seven months ahead of schedule and well within the original cost estimates. Unit 3 was brought online for commercial operation on August 18, 2006, and unit 4 on September 12, 2005.[1]

History[edit]

With a total capacity of 1400 MW, Tarapur is the largest nuclear power station in India. The facility is operated by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL). The personnel operating the power plant live in a residential complex called T. A. P. S. colony, 19°48′58″N 72°44′35″E / 19.816°N 72.743°E / 19.816; 72.743 which is a fifteen-minute drive from Boisar, the nearest railway station. The residential complex was also constructed by Bechtel to house both Indian and American employees. Due to this, the residential complex had a very American small-town look, with neat sidewalks, spacious houses, a club with tennis courts, swimming pool, a commissary etc. While the original American residents have long gone, the colony continues to thrive.

The residential colony now features 3 central schools run under Atomic Energy Education Society (AEES). The local beach at Chinchani is approximately 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) from the colony.

Safety concerns[edit]

The boiling water reactors at Tarapur 1 and 2 units are similar to the reactors involved in the Fukushima I nuclear accidents.[2] The reactors' age and old design have raised safety concerns and according one local leader, the two reactors have already been in operation for 16 years more than their design lives.[2] The reactors were originally designed for 40 years at full capacity i.e. 210 MWe. But due to technical problems in the reactor that arose later on, the capacity had to be reduced to 160 MWe. Hence according to the experts and officials of the plant, their corrected life for unit 1 and 2 is around 23 and 24 years respectively as of March 2012.

Tarapur nuclear plant has received the highest safety awards given to any electricity producing plants in India.

In 2007, Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) evaluated seismic safety features at Tarapur 1 and 2 and reported many shortfalls, following which NPCIL installed seismic sensors.[3]

In 2011, AERB formed a 10 member committee, consisting of experts from Indian Institute of Technology and Indian Meteorological Department, to assess the vulnerability of the Tarapur to earthquakes and tsunamis.[4]

A. Gopalakrishnan, former director of AERB, said that Tarapur 1 and 2 reactors are much older than the reactors involved in the Fukushima nuclear accident and argued that they should be immediately decommissioned.[5]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]