Pressurised Heavy Water Reactor (PHWR) Technology: Its Relevance Today

[+] Author and Article Information
A.K. Nayak

Bhabha Atomic Research Centre Trombay, Mumbai 400085, India

S. Banerjee

Bhabha Atomic Research Centre Trombay, Mumbai 400085, India

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4035856 History: Received January 21, 2017; Revised January 23, 2017


The PHWR technology was conceived in Canada and has moved to several nations for commercial production of electricity. Currently, 49 power reactors operate with PHWR technology producing nearly 25 GWe. The technology is flexible for adopting different fuel cycle options which include natural uranium, different MOX fuel, thorium, etc.. The technology has made substantial improvement in materials, construction and safety since its inception. PHWRs have demonstrated excellent performance historically. Their safety statistics are excellent. Indian PHWRs also have shown economic competitiveness even in small sizes, thus providing an ideal design for new entrants. While the technology features of PHWRs are available even in text books, the objective of this paper is to highlight the historical development and salient features, and innovations for further improvement in operation, safety and economics. Thus, this paper shall serve as a curtain raiser for the special issue “Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs) Safety: Post Fukushima”.

Copyright (c) 2017 by ASME
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