India's Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) has given its consent for the pouring of first concrete for the first two 700 MWe pressurised heavy water reactors to be built at Gorakhpur Haryana Anu Vidyut Pariyojna (GHAVP) in the Fatehabad district of Haryana. The indigenously designed units are to be built by Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL).

The units are similar in design to the lead 700 MWe PHWRs that are being built as units 3 and 4 of the Kakrapar power plant in Gujarat state, AERB said. Kakrapar 3 reached first criticality in June of this year. Two further 700 MWe PHWRs are planned at GHAVP, and in total 12 - including the four GHAVP units - are currently planned for construction in India, according to the World Nuclear Association.

NPCIL has carried out detailed geotechnical investigations and seismic-tectonic studies at the GHAVP site because of the soft alluvial soil there, and ground improvement works have been completed, it added.

AERB issued siting consent for the four GHAVP units in 2015, and approved the start of excavation work for the first two units in January 2018.

AERB said it has completed an in-depth safety review to verify conformance with safety codes ahead of pouring the first concrete. This safety review focused on civil engineering aspects and changes in the design and layout of GHAVP units 1 and 2 with respect to nuclear and radiological safety aspects, it said.