They are working overtime to combat delay caused by protests

Ajit Thakur, 49, Additional Chief Engineer (Technical), Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project, proudly shows off the wrist watch presented to him by his employer for having put in 25 years of service.

Even after serving the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) for over a quarter of a century — he was involved in operations at 20 nuclear reactors across the country and in the construction of six more units — he was working at the KKNPP's turbine building on the Telugu New Year Day on Friday, which is supposed to be a holiday.

“I am prepared to work even round-the-clock to see the early commissioning of this prestigious nuclear power project, where construction work has been resumed after a gap of over five-and-a-half months. We will ensure early evacuation of power from this nuclear park,” he says. Like Mr. Thakur, who witnessed the flawless functioning of the ultra mega turbine at St. Petersburg, where it was fabricated for KKNPP, the entire workforce of this project is fully geared to meet the early deadline for power generation. They are working overtime, though the casual labourers are yet to arrive here from north India.

A similar scene is witnessed in compressor and pump house sections, where the workforce is checking the vibration levels of the high capacity vertical centrifugal pumps (45,000 cubic metres per hour) installed for pumping in seawater.

“We have operated all the pumps to measure the vibration level, which is less than the desirable baseline data and it shows the quality of our skilled workforce. Though this section could not be given complete attention during the past five-and-a-half months, the equipment are functioning in an amazing fashion,” says S.T. Arasu, Senior Maintenance Engineer.

It is evident that the ongoing protest in a village close to the project site has not dampened their enthusiasm. Instead, the delay has motivated the KKNPP employees to give their best for the early commissioning of the plant. Around 800 workers turned up for duty on Friday. Like the KKNPP staff, the contract workforce too is showing keen interest in resuming work with 120 workers reporting for duty.

“Once all contract labourers arrive next week, our premises will be bustling with activity,” says a visibly relieved R. Banerjee, Project Director (Third and Fourth Reactors), KKNPP. “Maintenance activities are now proceeding in full swing. People are committed, devoted and determined to work round-the-clock to bring the plant to operational stage as early as possible,” he adds.

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