Will the commissioning of the first unit of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNNPP) lead to less load shedding in the State?

There may not be much change in the situation in the immediate future, says a section of power experts. However, a former Member (Generation) [MG] of the erstwhile Tamil Nadu Electricity Board points out that definitely, there will be some impact on the grid, once generation from the first unit stabilises.

A few days ago, Union Minister of State for Prime Minister’s Office V. Narayanasamy told reporters in Puducherry that the project was likely to be commissioned by December 15.

To substantiate their point that the Kudankulam power may not make a huge difference to the State, the experts say contrast the quantum of shortage – 4,000 megawatt (MW) – with what is expected from the first unit – about 463 MW.

As the unit is expected to take months before achieving the rated capacity of 1,000 MW, the State has to wait longer to get its quota fully. Even by the most optimistic estimate, an official said the allotted quantum is likely to reduce load shedding only by about an hour or so. At present, 14 to 16 hours of load shedding is being effected in Tamil Nadu with the exception of Chennai which faces only two hours’ load shedding.

But, the former MG points out that it is inherent in the nature of nuclear power plants that the pace of generation can only be gradual, unlike in the case of thermal power plants. So, there should not be any attempt to create the impression that the Kudankulam power will address the present problem of power shortage.

One has to keep in mind how much the State is going to get from the plant, as the State has been demanding the supply of power fully from the KKNNP, he adds.

Disappointment

Responding to Mr Narayanasamy’s observation that the State would get power only as per an original agreement among the southern States, Madurai District Tiny and Small Scale Industries Association (MADITSSIA) president V.S. Manimaran expressed disappointment and recalled the Union Minister’s assurance to Madurai-based industrialists in February that he would push for Tamil Nadu to get a major share of the power generated from the nuclear plant. (EOM)

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