The first of the 163 dummy fuel assemblies in the first reactor of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) for the ‘hot run' was removed on Friday evening following extensive inspections done on the internal components of the Reactor Pressure Vessel (RPV).
Though the RPV was opened last Monday, after the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) allowed the KKNPP to do so based on the data submitted by it, the dummy fuel assemblies were not removed immediately. Instead, scientists of Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL), its Russian technical partner Atomstroyexports and experts from Croatia and Germany inspected the health of the internal components of the RPV for a few days.
“Since all internal components are functioning really well after the ‘hot run' and are found to be in extremely good condition, we started removing the dummy fuel assemblies. The first assembly was removed around 4.30 p.m. on Friday,” Site Director, KKNPP, R.S. Sundar told The Hindu over the phone.
The removal of dummy fuel assemblies is expected to last the next five to six days. Once it is completed, mandatory inspection by the Croatian and the German experts will continue using non-destructive techniques to collect some more data.
All the data collected during this phase will be submitted to the AERB again so that the reactor will be ready for enriched uranium fuel loading.
Even as the AERB is scrutinising the post hot-run data, the KKNPP will clean the reactor and keep it ready for fuel loading. Once it gets the green signal from the AERB, the fuel loading will be taken up, Mr. Sundar said.