“Kudankulam reactor will attain criticality within 3 months”
A team of experts from Croatia will shortly visit the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) site to inspect the condition of equipment in the wake of the halt in major maintenance works for over five months owing to protests by anti-nuclear power groups.
“This is a routine affair and not a special effort taken in the wake of the protests… Using state-of-the-art non-destructive technology, the Croatian specialists will check the material quality. Some Indian agencies will also be assigned similar work. We expect the presence of all these specialists on our premises very shortly,” Site Director, KKNPP Reactors I and II, R.S. Sundar, told The Hindu here on Thursday.
The specialists will check the condition of metallic structures, vessels and welding done on major equipment, including the Reactor Pressure Vessel, to find if they are in good health.
He said the “water chemistry” of the water being used in the coolant was encouraging as proper maintenance had been carried out with skeletal staff during the protests.
Later talking to reporters, Mr. Sundar said that to make up for the loss of working days, the KKNPP administration planned to rope in around 150 engineers and skilled workers from nuclear installations at Kakrapara, Kaiga and other reactors.
To work on holidays
“Twenty-five engineers from other nuclear reactors have arrived. We're prepared to work even on holidays. Though tomorrow (Friday) is a holiday for us (in view of Telugu New Year Day), we have decided to work to speed up the process as much as possible.”
He thanked the Tamil Nadu Government and the media for having ensured the resumption of work. He also sought the support of the local community for the early commissioning of the plant and its unhindered and peaceful operation.
“Repose your faith in the scientific community here, who will strive always for your betterment and your generation's bright future.”
On reassembling the contract labourers, who were chased away by protesters from their rented houses, Mr. Sundar said that Larsen and Toubro, which had deployed over 1,200 contract labourers in electrical and mechanical sections prior to the agitation, had started working on reassembling its workforce.
The Electronic Corporation of India Limited (ECIL), Thermax and Voltech, which had also deployed skilled workers, are working overtime to reassemble them.
The first unit of the 2 X 1,000 MWe nuclear reactor is expected to attain criticality within three months.
He made it clear that the KKNPP would never draw water for its use from the Pechipaarai dam in neighbouring Kanyakumari district. The plant had installed a reverse osmosis plant with an operating capacity of 4 lakh litres per hour, fabricated in Israel.
Project Director (Third and Fourth Reactors) R. Banerjee said that excavation for the third and fourth reactors would be taken up once Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) gave clearance.