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India: Heavy water for South-Korea N-Plants

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(May 20, 1994) India will ship 100 metric tons of heavy water for use in nuclear power plant in South Korea. Kepco, the Korean Electricity Power Co. op South Korea, is planning to use the heavy water for the tree 600-MW Candus being built by AECL (Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd) at Wolsung. The bulk of the heavy water required for the plant is bought from AECL, with China and India selling each 100 metric tons.

(412.4087) WISE Amsterdam - The US$23 million pact for the supply from India was signed in Seoul by representatives of India'a Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and Kepco. DAE officials say the heavy water is scheduled to be shipped in 1997-98, and its movement and usage will be subject to IAEA safeguards.

India has 8 heavy water production plants with a total capacity of 655 metric tons a year. Three were built with help from German and French companies, and five indigenously. Therefore it's the only country where three different technologies are used in heavy water production.

The supply of heavy water to South Korea is India's first commercial export of the strategic nuclear material. India would like to become a leading world producer of heavy water, partly to make up recent budget shortfalls and partly because delays in India's indigenous nuclear power program. This delay has led to unexpected heavy water surplus. Current installed nuclear generating capacity is only 1,720 MW from nine reactors, just 2.5% of the total installed power capacity. And the country's nuclear establishment has had to prune its plans for 10,000 MW of installed nuclear capacity by 2000 to just 3,820 MW in recent years because of money difficulties.

Long delays in completing new nuclear reactors have led to cost overruns exceeding 300%. The Kakrapar Atomic Power Project -- two 220 MW pressurized heavy water reactors using natural uranium fuel -- was originally estimated to cost Rs 3.8252 billion but the cost has been revised to Rs 13.35 billion. The first unit began operating in May 1993 and the second is expected to go critical later this year. The third and fourth 220 MW PHWR at the Rajasthan Atomic Power Project were estimated to cost Rs 7.1157 billion, but now the estimate has shot up to Rs 21.07 billion. The Kaiga Atomic Power Project's two units, also 220 MW PHWRs, was approved (in 1987) at a cost of Rs 7.3072 billion but is now to expect to run over Rs 22.75 billion. (Exchange rates, May 1994: Rs 100 = ± US$ 3.2)

Sources:Nucleonics Week, 14 & 28 April, 1994
India: Anumukti, Sampoorna Kranti Vidyalay-a, Vedch-hi, 294 641 India.
South Korea: KAPE (Korean Action Federation for Environ-ment), Ducksoo B/D 4th Fl., Sinmunro 1-ga, 31 Jongro-gu, Seoul 110-061.
Tel: +82 2 735 7000; Fax: +82 2 741 1240