Chennai: India`s atomic power plant operator Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) continues to wait for the sectoral regulator`s nod to start the heating up process at the first unit of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP), said an official on Monday.
NPCIL officials earlier exuded confidence of getting the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board`s (AERB) nod by the third week of last month so that the reactor can go `critical` (start the fission process).
An official, however, said the process would take some time.
"There is no hitch nor the AERB have raised any major issue. Several test reports have been submitted and different groups at AERB are going through them in detail," a senior official in the know told a news agency preferring anonymity.
According to him, it may take around 10 days for the reactor to go critical once AERB gives its nod for the reactor heat up process.
Prior to the reactor turning critical, another batch of tests have to be done and sanction to be obtained from AERB, he added.
AERB gave its nod to NPCIL to load 163 bundles of enriched uranium fuel in the first reactor in KNPP Sep 18 after the operator complied with all the conditions laid down by the regulator in its Aug 10 sanction order.
NPCIL completed the fuel loading process Oct 2.
NPCIL is setting up the project in Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu`s Tirunelveli district, around 650 km from here, with two Russian-made VVER 1,000-MW reactors.
The nuclear power project is an outcome of an Inter-Governmental Agreement between India and the erstwhile Soviet Union in 1988. However, the construction began only in 2001.