Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL), the state-run engineering firm has emerged as lowest bidder for supply of equipment for 6×700 MWe (Megawatt-electric – electricity output capability of the plant) nuclear power projects of Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL).
BHEL submitted the lowest bid of INR 10,800 Crore for the fleet mode tender floated by NPCIL to supply nuclear steam turbine generator sets for the 6×700 MWe Turbine Island Package Projects.
BHEL and Pressurised Heavy Water Reactor Nuclear Power Plants in India
Total 19 Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs) are currently operating in India. Out of these, 13 operating PHWRs of NPCIL are equipped with BHEL-supplied Steam Turbine Generator sets [10×220 MWe + 2×540 MWe + 1×700 MWe (for Kakrapar Unit 3)]. Rest of the 6 steam turbine generators are imported from Canada and Ukraine.
Among these Kakrapar Unit 3 was synchronised successfully on 11th January 2021, becoming the first 700 MWe nuclear power unit from India. 700 MWe nuclear plants are now stressed upon in India to augment the nation’s nuclear power generation capacity as soon as possible.
In addition to the above commissioned turbines, BHEL has also supplied another three 700 MWe Steam Turbine Generator sets for Kakrapar Atomic Power Plant Unit 4 and Rawatbhata Atomic Power Plant Unit 7 and 8. These are yet to be commissioned.
BHEL is the sole Indian supplier of nuclear steam turbines and its turbine for NPCIL Kaiga Unit-1 recently created a World record of uninterrupted operation for 962 days.
Fleet mode Tender by NPCIL for Nuclear Turbine Island Package
Fleet mode tenders are floated by an organisation to maintain standardisation of machinery and equipment across different projects to save time and ease of operations. In 2018 Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) announced that India will construct 10 units of 700 MWe PHWRs in fleet mode, thereby facilitating procurement activities, manufacturing and implementation of these units.
The units to be constructed under fleet mode are:
- Kaiga, Karnataka, (Kaiga 5&6)
- Gorakhpur, Haryana (GHAVP-3&4)
- Chutka, Madhya Pradesh (2 Units)
- Mahi Banswara, Rajasthan (4 Units)
Above projects were to be implemented between 2020 to 2025.
Nuclear Energy Requirement in India
With power demand reaching peaks everyday, the need for clean energy in India is undisputed. Other renewable sources like solar and wind can’t replace dependency on coal making nuclear power indispensable. Also, parts and equipment requirements need to be fulfilled by domestic companies for self reliance and economic well being.