Power output from K'kulam likely in a few weeks

Power output from K'kulam likely in a few weeks

Two routine steps remain before it receives sanction

The controversy-ridden 1000 MWe unit of Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu may be weeks away from producing commercial power as only two routine technical steps remain before it receives nuclear regulator's sanction to start operations.

The launching of the commercial operation of the plant will not be timed with the visit of  Russian president Vladimir Putin this month.

Recognising the fact that a decision from the Supreme Court, which is hearing a public interest litigation against the Russian-origin nuclear plants, might go against any deadline set by the government, the officials are reluctant to publicly come up with an inaugural date as yet.

Between September 19 and October 2, as many as 163 bundles of enriched uranium fuel were loaded into the reactor.

Kudankulam plant

The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) is awaiting permission from the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) to close the reactor.

Last step

 The last step would be to check the reactor's internal pressure before AERB is approached for final approval.

These two steps may happen ‘very shortly’ according to a senior NPCIL official.
 Regarding Putin’s visit, NPCIL chairman and managing director K C Purohit told Deccan Herald that “we have not been informed by the Ministry of External Affairs on any plan of the Russian President visiting Kudankulam." 

Utmost care was being taken at every step as it is for the first time a 1000 MW reactor built with foreign collaboration saw being commissioned in the country, said S A Bhardwaj, director, technical, at NPCIL. Both units of the Kudankulam nuclear power project may be commissioned during the current financial year, officials said.  Currently, NPCIL operates 19 nuclear reactors across the country that generate about 4,680 MW electricity.

One nuclear reactor at Rawat Bhata in Rajasthan -- RAPS 1 -- is under extended shutdown.

The government plans to have an installed capacity of close to 10,000 MW of nuclear energy by 2020.

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