Kudankulam to comply with AERB stipulations

Kudankulam to comply with AERB stipulations

The Nuclear Power Corp of India Ltd (NPCIL) is still in the process of complying with the pre-conditions laid down by the atomic regulator for fuelling the first reactor at the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP), the sectoral regulator said.

Speaking to IANS on phone from Mumbai, Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) chairman S.S. Bajaj said: "We are waiting for NPCIL to comply with the stipulations that we had laid in our main clearance given in August for loading the fuel."

NPCIL officials had earlier told IANS that they were confident of complying with AERB stipulations and that between Sep 11-15 the 163 fuel bundles would start getting loaded in the first reactor.

The AERB gave its fuel loading clearance to NPCIL Aug 10 subject to certain stipulations.
NPCIL had completed a major AERB stipulation -- flushing the reactor with boric acid solution -- Sep 11.

Officials of NPCIL were not available for comments on the status of AERB stipulations.

"AERB is not waiting for the (anti-nuclear) agitation at Kudankulam to subside to give the final clearance for fuel loading. We are concerned with the safety aspects of the reactor and not with other issues," Bajaj added.

The anti-KNPP protests at Kudankulam turned violent Sep 10. One person was killed in a police firing when a mob attacked a police checkpost in Tuticorin district, around 600 km from here.

NPCIL is setting up the KNPP at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu's Tirunelveli district, around 650 km from here with two Russian-made VVER 1,000 MW reactors.

After the reactor is fuelled, activities to approach first criticality-starting fission chain reaction, for the first time in a reactor, will be taken up.

Then the power generation will be gradually scaled up on AERB's permission, based on the results of various studies.

The KNPP is an outcome of the Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) signed between India and the erstwhile Soviet Union in 1988. However, the project construction began in 2001.

According to NPCIL officials, the fuel-loading process would take around a week and observers from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) may arrive at the start or end as KNPP reactors fall under the safeguard agreement.