The much-delayed Kudankulam project today moved a step towards commissioning with the nuclear regulator granting 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.

The Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP), being built with Russian collaboration, is expected to be commissioned by the month-end to coincide with the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“We have granted permission for the second heat up today,” S S Bajaj, Chairman of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) told PTI.

He said under the second heat up, various systems of the nuclear reactor would be put through performance tests and the process is expected to take around ten days.

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

(This article was published on December 6, 2012)
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