Removal of dummy fuel to be completed in four to five days

Even as the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) is gearing up for opening the Reactor Pressure Vessel to remove the dummy fuel assemblies loaded during the ‘hot run,' a team of experts from Croatia is expected to arrive here by May 26 to inspect the fitness of the equipment after the successful trial.

The KKNPP administration has decided to bring the Croatian experts here for the inspection as determination of the healthiness of all equipment in the reactor building after the ‘hot run' was conducted is paramount for getting the nod from the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) prior to the loading of enriched uranium fuel assemblies for criticality, R.S. Sundar, Site Director of the KKNPP Reactors I and II, told The Hindu on Thursday.

A total of 163 dummy fuel assemblies, each 4.57 meters long and weighing about 705 kg, were loaded into the reactor in April 2010 for full-scale thermo-hydraulic tests of the reactor systems to assess the design performance of the systems.

The data obtained during these tests were submitted to the AERB for valuation by its experts. Since the AERB has given nod for removing the dummy fuel, the KKNPP would open the Reactor Pressure Vessel within a day or two and complete the removal of dummy fuel within four to five days.

Once the removal is completed, the reactor will be cleaned again for inspection and the Croatian experts will use state-of-the-art non-destructive technology to check the material quality.

“The Croatian team, comprising not more than ten experts, will arrive here before the end of next week. Once their inspection is over, we will submit the inspection reports to the AERB again to get its mandatory permission for loading enriched uranium fuel assemblies,” Mr. Sundar adds.