Process to start n-fission at Kudankulam to be over Sat-Sun

Process to start n-fission at Kudankulam to be over Sat-Sun

Work towards taking the 1,000 MW first unit at the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) is in progress from Thursday evening and is expected to get over in 48-72 hours time (Saturday-Sunday evening), the top official of the country's atomic energy establishment has said.

All legal clearances required have been obtained and the necessary reports have been filed in the Supreme Court by the relevant agencies as directed in the May 6 judgment of the court, R.K. Sinha, secretary, department of atomic energy (DAE) and chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), said.

"The process to take the first reactor to criticality commenced Thursday evening. It will take 48-72 hours from that time to attain criticality," Sinha told IANS.

He said if everything is satisfactory then the reactor will go critical (beginning of the nuclear fission process for the first time).

Sinha said commissioning in respect of a nuclear reactor is a continuous process and in the case of KNPP unit one, it began a year ago.

"There was a hot run (trial run of the reactor) and the reactor building was pressurised," he said.

Sinha said the start of nuclear fission cannot be termed as the unit getting commissioned as several processes have to be carried out after that.

He said several physics experiments have to be carried out at KNPP first unit after it attains criticality and if the results are satisfactory, the AERB (Atomic Energy Regulatory Board) would give its clearance for the next phase.

Queried about when the unit would start generating power he said: "The gap between the reactor going critical and start generating power is not big."

According to Sinha, all the reports that need to be filed with the apex court as per its directions have been filed and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) has all the formal regulatory clearances, including the clearance from the union ministry of environment and forests (MoEF).

As for the second unit at KNPP, he said there will be time lag of around six/eight months.

Queried about the status of the third and fourth units at KNPP Sinha said it was a matter of time before the general framework agreement is signed with the Russian suppliers.

According to him, the total outlay for the third and fourth units would be Rs.40,000 crore.

"The issue of liability of the suppliers in the case of an accident is one of the reasons for the signing of the agreement getting delayed," Sinha said.

On the level of local content in the proposed two units Sinha said it is for NPCIL and the Russian parties to decide and it would be covered in the general framework agreement.

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