18th nuclear power plant begins operation
India’s nuclear programme crossed a milestone at 12.51pm on Tuesday with fifth unit of the 220 megawatt Rajasthan Atomic Power Project (Raps-5) attaining criticality. With this, the number of operating nuclear power reactors in India has gone up from 17 to 18, increasing the total atomic power generating capacity from 4,120 mw to 4,330 mw. In simple terms, attaining criticality in the jargon of the atomic scientists means the start of self-sustaining nuclear fission chain. Nuclear Power Corporation chief engineer N Nagaich said after conducting some tests, Raps-5 will be sychronised with the state electricity grid in a month, and would be ready for commercial operations.