The first unit has a capacity of 1,000 MWe

The loading of low enriched uranium fuel bundles into the first unit of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) in Tamil Nadu will begin “in a matter of days,” according to S.S. Bajaj, Chairman, Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB).

The first unit has a capacity of 1,000 MWe. The AERB had on August 10 given the approval for initial fuel loading and the first approach to criticality of the first reactor.

“We gave the clearance [on August 10] for the fuel loading, subject to some prerequisites. Once they [the KKNPP personnel] meet those requisites with regard to equipment and last-minute things are done, we will review the outcome and we will give the [final] clearance based on that. After we review the prerequisites and there is a satisfactory resolution …, we will give the clearance. In-principle clearance has already been given but it was subject to final things to be done,” Mr. Bajaj said on Friday from Mumbai.

Asked when the fuel loading will begin, he said, “In a matter of days.”

Two Russian reactors have been built in Kudankulam by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited.

The 1,000 MWe reactors will use enriched uranium as fuel and light water as both moderator and coolant. Each reactor has 163 fuel assemblies which will be loaded into the core. Each fuel assembly weighs 705 kg and is 4.57 metres long.