The Koodankulam nuclear power project will be commissioned by September with one of the reactors attaining criticality, Srikumar Banerjee, Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission, said on Saturday.

Talking to reporters after delivering the convocation address at Sathyabama University near here, Dr. Banerjee said six months from September, another unit would attain criticality at Koodankulam.

On the delayed arrival of reactors from Russia, Dr. Banerjee said several equipment had to come and they came in 49 shiploads. The project was being implemented in stages.

Radioactive material

On the radioactive material found in a scrap shop in New Delhi, Dr. Banerjee said whatever happened in the Capital had nothing to do with the activities of his department. The scrap materials come from other countries and it was not possible for the department to check entry points if there were any radioactive material. Moreover, the scrap was found in a small area.

Checking all the containers laden with scrap was not possible. Instead, scanning could be done.

While a decision to install scanners had been taken, implementation was taking time, Dr. Banerjee said.

In his convocation address, Dr. Banerjee said nuclear energy was a primary source of energy with large growth potential.

Therefore, any India-specific energy strategy must consider nuclear energy as a major alternative.

While uranium resources in the country were low, India had extremely rich reserves of thorium, which could be converted into the fissile form of U-233 for generating nuclear energy.

Nuclear power

The current share of nuclear power in the country was about three per cent. It had received a fillip in the recent years and was poised to grow steadily.

The key to capacity building in the nuclear power sector critically depended on the development of reliable nuclear power stations and an integrated system encompassing the complete fuel cycle, waste management and fissile fuel breeding.

On the occasion, Sathyabama University conferred honorary doctorate degree on Dr. Srikumar Banerjee and art director Thotta Tharani.

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