Kudankulam n-power plant starts feeding power to grid

Chennai, Jan 30 (IANS) India’s atomic power generator Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd started feeding power on Saturday from its 1,000 MW unit at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu, said a senior official.

“The first unit started feeding power on Saturday morning at 7.12 a.m. The power generation now is 300 MW,” R.S.Sundar, station director, told IANS.

“We will have a brief interruption as per our previous plan as part of check. Then again we will connect back,” Sundar said.

The unit which was under annual maintenance shutdown for nearly seven months restarted fission on January 21.

NPCIL is setting up two 1,000 MW atomic power plants at Kudankulam in Tirunelvelli district, around 650 km from here, at an outlay of over Rs.17,000 crore.

The first unit attained criticality, which is the beginning of the fission process, in July 2013.

Subsequently it was connected to the southern grid in October 2013.

However, commercial power generation began only on December 31, 2014.

The unit also experienced breakdowns after commercial production started.

The unit was shut down in June 2015 for 60 days for refuelling and annual maintenance in June 2015.

Operating at full capacity, the unit supplies power to Tamil Nadu (562.5 MW), Puducherry (33.5 MW), Kerala (133 MW), Karnataka (221 MW) and Andhra Pradesh (50 MW).

The NPCIL skipped several deadlines in restarting the first unit and finally on January 21 the reactor restarted the fission process.

According to the official position, the second 1,000 MW unit at Kudankulam is expected to go critical, or start the fission process, for the first time sometime this year.

However, sources in the know told IANS that the unit may go critical early next year.

The second unit has to get some parts from Russia as some of its components have been used in the first unit so that the latter could start operating fast.

The fuel has to be loaded into the second reactor.

A senior official in the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) recently told IANS that the results of the second unit’s commissioning and inspection reports are being studied.

“After the reports are studied AERB might lay down some conditions which have to be completed before NPCIL applies for the permission to load the fuel,” he had said.

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