What are EPR nuclear reactors that India intends to equip itself from France
French state-owned company, EDF on Thursday said that it hopes to seal a deal to equip India with six latest generation of EPR (Evolutionary Power Reactor) that will have the potential to power 70 million Indian households with an installed capacity of 9.6 GW and cut carbon dioxide emissions by 80 million tonnes every year.
An EDF spokesperson made the statement after the crucial meeting between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and recently re-elected French President, Emmanuel Macron in Paris.
What are EPR reactors?
Evolutionary Power Reactors, also known as European Pressurised Reactors or EPR are the latest third generation of pressurised power reactors that focus on improved safety levels, restricting consequences of hypothetical accidents at plants themselves, and competitive costs of power generation.
These are 1600 MW class reactors with high efficiency, taking lesser time in construction and becoming operational, extended service life of 60 years and enhanced fuel utilisation.It also provides better protection against core meltdowns and their radiological consequences. It is also more robust against external hazards like plane crashes or earthquakes. These reactors are made to withstand the full impact of high-speed military aircraft as well as commercial planes.
With features like extended grace periods, larger water inventories, fully digitalised instrumentation and control systems, catalytic hydrogen recombiners, double-wall containment, it has proven itself to be the pinnacle of nuclear safety.While additions like neutron reflector, optimised steel resistant to ageing and lesser welds, and axial economiser steam generators, ensure high-quality steam and better fuel utilisation for overall better plant efficiency. It has proven to reduce the power generation costs by 10 percent of the most modern nuclear plants and 20 percent less than combined-cycle gas plants.With 1600 MW of unit power range, they are recorded as the highest unit power to date, while the reactor equipment is designed for a core thermal power capacity of 4500MW.
Countries using EPR
While Finland was the first country to begin the construction of EPRs, they are not yet complete. China with ‘Taishan 1’ had the world’s first operational EPR unit. While France and UK are also among the countries building more EPR nuclear reactors.
How nuclear power works?
Nuclear plants generate energy through controlled fission of Uranium atoms. The heat released by the fission is directed to a water source, which is heated and generates steam, used to spinning turbine and subsequently, generating electricity.
If the EDF bid is successful, India will build six stations in Maharashtra’s Jaitapur, with a capacity to serve about 7 crore households in the country. Nuclear energy also aligns with India’s climate goals as it is a zero-emission clean energy source. It also occupies lesser land and produces more electricity in the same area as compared to other clean energy sources.
SOURCE: TIMES NOW