The trial run of India's first 700MWe pressurised heavy water reactor (PHWR) being built at Kakrapar Atomic Power Station (KAPS) in Gujarat is expected to take place sometime in mid-2017, said a senior official of the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL).

"The construction of two 700MWe PHWRs at KAPS is at an advanced stage.” BC Pathak, NPCIL’s executive director (projects), told IANS on 31 December. Commissioning activities of the first unit has begun. NPCIL is building four 700MWe PHWRs – two each at  KAPS  and at the Rajasthan Atomic Power Station (RAPS) in Rajasthan.

Vineet Kumar, station director of the two units (3 and 4) at KAPS told IANS: "We have started the commissioning activities. It will be done in stages and various milestones have to be crossed We will be doing the hydro test first in May-June 2017. The next step will be hot conditioning of the unit, which would happen around two-and-a-half months after the hydro test." 

After that the systems have to be drained and dried. Fuel loading is expected in October 2017 and first criticality is slated to happen in November 2017,  Kumar said. The unit is expected to start commercial operation in early 2018.

Unit 4 at KAPS is expected to start 6-7 months after unit 3. The project cost for the two units is around  INR115bn ($1.68bn), Kumar said. First concrete was  poured in November 2010 for unit 3 and in March 2011 for unit 4. Pathak said work at  units  7 and 8 (700MWe) at RAPS is also progressing well with the erection of major components.