KNPP inspections on after removal of dummy fuel

NPCIL is setting up two 1,000 MW light water reactors at Kudankulam in Tirunelveli district.

Last Updated: Jun 04, 2012, 15:25 PM IST

Chennai: The first reactor of the two 1,000 MW protest-hit Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) is undergoing inspection by atomic experts after allowing the removal of all the dummy fuel assemblies, an official said on Monday.

"All the dummy fuel assemblies were removed Saturday. Now the inspection of the reactor systems are on by experts from India and overseas," a senior official of the Nuclear Power Corp of India Ltd (NPCIL) told a news agency.

Dummy fuel is similar to the real fuel in terms of specifications but without enriched uranium.

All the 163 dummy fuel assemblies were removed from the reactor vessel using underwater (coolant water inside the reactor) equipment as well as with overhead crane after draining the coolant water a little.

He said the inspection reports will be submitted to the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB).

The sanction to load the real fuel will be given by the board or a committee constituted by AERB.

NPCIL officials told a news agency that the process of getting AERB`s sanction may take around 15 days if everything is fine, and by this month end power from the first Russian made reactor is expected to be generated and fed into the grid.

However commercial production is expected to happen in August and the power is expected to be sold at Rs 2.64 per unit.

NPCIL is setting up two 1,000 MW light water reactors at Kudankulam in Tirunelveli district, around 650 km from here.

The first unit was to become operational in December but hit a hurdle when residents of surrounding villages opposed the project fearing for their lives and the Tamil Nadu government passed a resolution urging the central government to stop all project related works.

To resolve the issue, the central and state governments set up two panels.

The central panel submitted its final report Jan 31. The Tamil Nadu government set up expert committee too favoured the project.

In March, the state government gave its green signal to the project and also announced Rs 500 crore for local area and infrastructure development. Following that, work at KNPP was restarted.