Kudankulam nuclear plant in final stage

Published 20 October 2012  |  
The two units of the 1,000 MW Kudankulam nuclear project is just two steps away from going critical, a top official said today.

"We are on a very smooth path now. We have completed fuel loading and the nuclear regulator is carrying out a review," Shiv Abhilash Bhardwaj, Director (Technical), Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL), said.

He was talking to reporters on the sidelines of the India Energy Forum meet in New Delhi.

A PTI report quoted Bhardwaj saying that after the review by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB), the NPCIL will be granted permission to close the reactor pressure vessel.

Loading of 163 bundles of enriched uranium fuel into the reactor began on September 19 and was completed on October 2.

"We have two more steps to attain first criticality. First the reactor will be closed after clearance from the AERB which will be followed by pressure tests," Bhardwaj reportedly said.

Bhardwaj said utmost care is taken at every step as it is for the first time a 1000 MW reactor built with foreign collaboration is being commissioned in the country.

V Narayanasamy, Minister of State at Prime Minister's Office, has reiterated the same.

Speaking at the 4th Nuclear Conclave organised by India Energy Forum, he said the two units of the 1,000 MW Kudankulam nuclear project will be completed this financial year after reviewing all safety concerns.

Narayanasamy said vested interests were spreading false information to bring the project to a halt.

"The issues raised by them have been addressed comprehensively. The Tamil Nadu State expert committee concluded that the plant is safe. Work is now in full swing and all efforts are being made to commission the first unit at earliest," he said.

He said that after completion of seven new projects under construction, the country will have 10,080 MW of nuclear capacity by 2017.

The cost of the Kudankulam project has shot up by nearly Rs 2,700 crore on account of various kinds of delays.

The first unit of the Indo-Russian project was scheduled to be commissioned in December last year but had been delayed due to protests by locals on safety concerns.

Coming in support of the activists and protesters, the Supreme Court recently said it would not hesitate to stop the project irrespective of the money spent.

"Everyone is concerned about the safety and lives of people living around the Kudankulam nuclear power plant. The entire country is concerned. Spending of huge money is not a constraint for the court to stop the project if it finds that the installation posed threat to the lives of people," a bench of Justices K S Radhakrishnan and Dipak Misra said while hearing a petition.

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