Chennai: The stalled Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) in Tamil Nadu on Thursday got the clearance for commencing the controlled nuclear fission process from the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB), moving a step closer towards power production.
Following the clearance for `First Approach to Criticality` (FAC), some internal formalities are due to be done at the controversy-hit Indo-Russian joint project and power production was likely to start in a month-and-a-half, a senior KNPP official said.
"We are happy about the clearance. We need to do some internal procedures. Power production is likely in 45 days," KNPP Site Director R S Sundar said here.
In a statement, AERB Secretary Bhattacharya said that FAC is the commencement of the controlled nuclear fission process for the "first time" and is a step towards the subsequent beginning of power production in a nuclear reactor.
"Several number of low power tests will be carried out in order to verify the conformance of reactor characteristics to the design objectives before granting clearance for the next commissioning stage which is the phase-wise increase in reactor power level," it said.
Unit-1 of KNPP is a VVER (Russian) reactors located at Kudankulam with an installed power generating capacity of 1,000 MW and is the first commercial Pressurized Water Reactor-based nuclear power plant in the country, it said.
AERB had earlier granted the final permission for `Initial Fuel Loading`(IFL) for Unit-1 in September last year.
Reviews were carried out by the specialist groups and the Advisory Committee for Project Safety Review of AERB at the facility in Kudankulam.
The KNPP project in Tirunelveli district has been hit by protests by locals and missed several deadlines.