India is building its first indigenously designed 500 MWe nuclear reactor at Tarapur near Mumbai, the site of the country’s first nuclear power station, which opened in 1969.

Until now, India has built reactors of up to 220 MWe. It has eight of these in operation, and another four that are currently under construction. Development of the technology that was used in the 220 MWe design has led to the 500 MWe project.

The new Tarapur project will involve the construction of two 500 MWe pressurized heavy water units. Commercial operation of the first unit is due to start in April 2006. The second will enter service in January 2007.