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A. Batra, P. Nelson, "Safety, Safeguards and Security in Indian Nuclear Power Plants (3S-INPP)," Proceedings of the INMM 52nd Annual Meeting, Palm Desert, CA, July 17-21, 2011.


There is much interest in small nuclear power plants (NPPs), not least because of the possibility to add increments of production capacity for more modest commitments of capital than required by traditional 1000+ MWe light-water reactors. However, there is a paucity of experience in either building or operating small NPPs. If size be denominated in capacity rather than physical dimension, as appropriate to the concern about capital investment, then India with its fleet of approximately 200-MWe pressurized heavy water reactors (PHWRs), is practically unique globally in its extent of such experience. Presumably recognition of this advantage underlies much of the indication from leaders in the Indian Department of Atomic Energy that consideration is being given to exporting small PHWRs to other countries. Along with such plans comes a requirement to hold costs in check, in order to compete favorably with alternative technologies, while at the same time meeting the expectations of the international community for enhanced attention to the requirements of safeguards and security in nuclear power plants. There is, of course, some tension between these differing objectives. It has recently been suggested that a comprehensive design-level approach to safety, safeguards and security (the three S's) offers much opportunity for cost savings and enhanced efficiency, thereby to a large extent resolving the tension noted above. The objective of this paper is to identify, at a very high-level, the opportunities that exist for India in this regard, especially in view of its apparent consideration to enter the nuclear export market, and the challenges that exist, particularly as due to the current administrative organization of the Indian nuclear enterprise. In that respect, India has a sterling record in nuclear safety, but its experience with safeguards is limited to cooperation with the IAEA for the limited number of Indian NPPs for which fuel or technology is internationally supplied. Further its key organization for nuclear security, the Global Centre for Nuclear Energy Partnership, is newly announced and as yet scarcely functioning. Availability of IAEA assistance and guidelines to assist in meeting the challenge of coordinating these 3S's at the plant design level is reviewed.

Associated Project(s):

  • Technical Analyses of the U.S.-India Nuclear Accord

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