Actual fuel loading will commence in December this year, says NPCIL chief Shreyans Kumar Jain

Tamil Nadu, which was hopeful of getting its share of 450 MWe from Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) from December this year to deal with power shortage to some extent, will have to wait till the first quarter of next year as commissioning of the first of the 2 X 1,000 MWe reactors being built with Russian assistance with an outlay of Rs.13,171 crore is likely to take place only in March 2011.

“As we've planned to go for ‘hot commissioning' of the reactor in November, actual fuel loading will take place in December. Hence, electricity from the first unit will start flowing in the first quarter of 2011,” Shreyans Kumar Jain, Chairman and Managing Director of the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL), told reporters at Kudankulam on Thursday.

The 220 KV electrical output systems and the internal distribution system of the first reactor of KKNPP had been commissioned and the 400 KV electrical output systems tested and ready for power evacuation. In addition, the seawater cooling system, diesel generators, auxiliary boiler, chlorination plant, fire water system, chilled water plant, compressed air system and other auxiliary systems had also been commissioned and were operational.

The turbo generator had been boxed up on barring gear and was ready for receiving the steam.

Condensate and feed water system erection had also been completed and commissioning was in progress.

The flushing of the reactor had been completed.

Subsequent to the loading of 163 dummy fuel assemblies into the reactor for conducting full-scale thermo-hydraulic tests of the reactor systems, all reactor components such as protective tube unit, reactor pressure vessel head, control rod drive housing etc. had been installed and the reactor boxed up.

The reactor was ready for conducting ‘hydraulic test' and the subsequent ‘hot circulation flushing' of the primary coolant circuit system.

“Following this exercise, the actual fuel loading will commence during December this year. The main control panels and workstations have been energised and operations have commenced from the control room,” Dr. Jain said. The second reactor of KKNPP would be ready for commissioning during September or October 2011 as internal assembly, fuelling machine erection etc. had been completed.

Pre-commissioning of systems required for spillage to open reactor was in progress.

Even as the NPCIL had opened techno-commercial negotiations with the Russians for the construction of the third and fourth reactors at Kudankulam, grading and levelling of the proposed site for this expansion programme had been completed.

Dr. Jain said the NPCIL, already operating 19 nuclear reactors across the country, was aiming to build 14 more during the 12th Five Year Plan.