The physical start-up of the second unit of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP) in Tamil Nadu that went critical last week has been conducted successfully, a source at the plant said on Thursday. “Physical start-up phase of Unit 2 and required tests were conducted successfully. Works have started to prepare the Unit 2 for commencement of the power start-up stage. “Increasing of Unit 2 power capacity and synchronization with the grid will be done according to AERB (Atomic Energy Regulatory Board) clearance and under its supervision,” the source told IANS over telephone.
“The unit will start commercial generation in four to six months time. Prior to that tests have to be conducted and then the unit will be connected to the Southern power grid,” the source added. As part of the process, loading of 163 enriched uranium fuel assemblies into the reactor of Unit 2 of the KNPP began on May 11 and was completed on May 19. The unit attained criticality, or began the nuclear fission process, last week. Russia’s state-run nuclear power corporation Rosatom are the builders of the KNPP, being operated by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL). The first 1,000 MW unit at Kudankulam has already been commissioned.
“This is the world’s first nuclear power plant which has implemented and successfully operated the tightened security measures post-Fukushima,” the source said. In an interview to IANS earlier, Vladimir A. Angelov, the Director for Projects in India for ASE, the Engineering and Construction Division of Rosatom, had said that KNPP has been equipped with enhanced safety features. The reactors of the Kudankulam plant are protected from the impact of earthquake, tsunami, tornado and hurricanes, he said.