Chennai: The first unit of the controversy- hit Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant, with a capacity to produce 1,000 MW, is expected to start commercial operations in August.
The first unit has attained 99.3 per cent of physical progress as on April and commercial operation is likely by August, the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited said.
NPCIL said on its website it has fixed a target of March next year for the commercial operation of the second unit, where 94.7 per cent of the physical work has been completed.
The KNPP moved one step closer to its commissioning with Atomic Energy Regulatory Board last week giving clearances required ahead of filling of the real fuel in the reactor.
AERB on May 10 permitted KNPP to open the Reactor Pressure Vessel (RPV) Top Head, Dummy Fuel Assembly removal and the RPV inspection for unit 1, one step short of filling enriched uranium.
Commissioning work at the Indo-Russian project in Tamil Nadu`s Tirunelveli district, which had remained stalled following protests by anti-nuclear activists citing safety concerns, resumed in full swing after the Tamil Nadu Government gave its green signal in March last.
Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had recently written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking allotment of the entire 2,000 MW to be generated by two units of the KNPP to the state, in view of the "severe power shortage".
Kerala too has staked claim for 500 MW from the project, with its Chief Minister Oommen Chandy wanting the Centre to supply power from KNPP under `unallocated` option, earmarked for states facing power crisis.
Activists of the People`s Movement Against Nuclear Energy, spearheading the stir against KNPP, revived their agitation since May 1, demanding that the government resume talks with them.