Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Dr. Anil Kakodkar has said India’s 1998 nuclear test was a ‘hundred per cent success’.

“I assure (you) that the nuclear test conducted in 1998 was hundred per cent success. The yield of the test was verified using various alternative methods and it was perfect,” he told reporters after inaugurating the Zirconium complex at Pazhayakal near here on Friday.

Dr. Kakodakar’s remarks came in response to a question about the controversy surrounding the 1998 Pokhran nuclear test after some top nuclear scientists raised doubts about the success of the explosion.

He also expressed satisfaction over the progress made in the Indo—US nuclear agreement.

The country’s second Zirconium plant here, the first being at Hyderabad, has a capacity to produce 500 tonnes of Zirconium Oxide and 250 tonnes of Zirconium Sponge per annum, which are used for manufacturing Zirconium alloy components required for nuclear power reactors.

The Rs 304 crore ‘critical facility’ plant had been built with a capacity to increase its production to 1000 tonnes of Zirconium Oxide. It was originally conceived to accommodate Titanium Sponge plant also, but it was shifted to Kerala.

Dr. Kakodar said only a few countries had the capacity to produce Zirconium sponge and export potential for the product was immense.

The plant has state-of-the-art material handling facility and automation at various intricate process system was the major advantage, he said.

Dr. Kakodkar said the new complex would augment production facility to 650 tonnes of Zirconium sponge wih 400 tonnes already produced in Hyderabad. Production was a little more than the required level and it could be used for expanding power generation also, he said.

Regarding Koodankulam nuclear power project, Dr. Kakodkar, also Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy, said the loading of fuel for the production of power would be done in another six months.

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