Kudankulam unit-1 to be commissioned in 2 weeks

Kolkata: The much-delayed Kudankulam project is set to be commissioned within the next two weeks as nuclear scientists have entered the final lap of a series of tests on its safety and efficacy.

"Within this month 100 per cent.It will take about two weeks," Ratan Kumar Sinha, Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission told PTI here on the sidelines of the 100th Indian Science Congress when asked about the commissioning of the first 1,000 MW unit of the project.

Sinha said all possible care was being taken to see that all the processes are followed precisely.

"They (engineers at Kudankulam) have done the hot pressurisation based on certain observations. They want to be very sure that all the processes are perfect," Sinha said.

India is building two 1,000 MW nuclear power plants at Kudankulam with Russian collaboration.

Talks are on with Russia for building more reactors at the site which can accommodate six units.

Last month, the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) had granted permission for the second heat up, under which all systems of the entire nuclear power plant will be put to test to demonstrate its operability and safety.

Under the second heat up, various systems of the nuclear reactor are being put through performance tests.

Following these tests, AERB would evaluate the reports of the tests and then give the go-ahead to first approach to criticality, AERB Chairman S S Bajaj had said.

After the reactor goes critical, power generation would be stepped up gradually and after it reaches a certain level, the plant would be connected to the grid.

Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) is developing two 1,000 MW nuclear power units at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu.

AERB had granted permission to load fuel in the first unit of the nuclear power project on August 10 after NPCIL complied with all the conditions laid by it.

A specially-designed robotic arm then began loading 163 bundles of enriched uranium fuel on September 18 and the process was completed on October 2.

Commissioning of the first unit of the Indo-Russian project was originally scheduled for December 2011 but had to be put off due to protests.