Chennai: India`s atomic power plant operator, Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL), is expecting the sector regulator`s clearance to close the pressure vessel of the first 1,000 MW reactor at Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) next week, a senior official said on Saturday.
"The KNPP is moving forward smoothly. We have filed our reports with AERB (Atomic Energy Regulatory Board). Sometime next week AERB will be reviewing our reports. We do not expect any problems in getting the clearance to close the pressure vessel," the official, who did not want to be named, told a news agency.
NPCIL is setting up the KNPP at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu`s Tirunelveli district, around 650 km from here with two Russian-made VVER 1,000 MW reactors.
AERB gave its nod to NPCIL to load 163 bundles of enriched uranium fuel in the first reactor at KNPP on September 18 after the latter complied with all the conditions laid down by the former in its on August 10 sanction order.
NPCIL completed the fuel loading process on October 02. After the reactor is fuelled, activities to approach first criticality-starting fission chain reaction, for the first time in a reactor, will be taken up.
Closure of the reactor pressure vessel is the first step. The power generation will then be gradually scaled up on AERB`s permission, based on the results of various studies.
The KNPP is an outcome of the Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) signed between India and the erstwhile Soviet Union in 1988. However, the project construction only began in 2001.