A day after the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board gave the green signal for the commissioning of Unit 1 of the controversial Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant, authorities today set in motion work on taking it to First Approach to Criticality (FAC).

“Work on taking the first reactor to criticality stage commenced today and it will be completed in 72 hours,” R S. Sundar, site director of KKNP, told reporters.

He expressed happiness over AERB’s clearance yesterday for the Rs 14,000-crore Indo-Russian joint venture project.

Officials said controlled nuclear fission process began today at the 1,000 MW unit. This was the first step towards power production, they said

As part of precautionary measures, a large contingent of police has been deployed in and around the plant, which has witnessed a series of protests, citing safety concerns.

People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy, spearheading the protests against the plant, in a statement termed AERB’s clearance for FAC as “authoritarian” and “anti-democratic’’.

AERB had earlier granted the final permission for ‘Initial Fuel Loading’ for Unit 1 in September last year.

Reviews were carried out by specialist groups and the Advisory Committee for Project Safety Review of AERB at the facility.

(This article was published on July 12, 2013)
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