Commercial operations of the first 1,000 MW unit of Kudankulam nuclear power project is now expected to start by January 22, 2015, as an earlier deadline could not be met due to technical problems.
The Nuclear Power Corporation, which is implementing the 2,000 MW plant, has received permission from the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) for extending the deadline for commercial operation.
The plant, having two units of 1,000 MW capacity each, is being set up with technical cooperation of Russia. The first unit could not start commercial operations by the earlier specified date of October 22 on account of certain technical problems.
Nuclear Power Corp submitted before the CERC that technical problem relating to the turbine would be resolved by December 22, 2014 and sought one month time “for eventualities” during the rectification work.
Taking into consideration the technical problem, the regulator in an order dated November 10 has allowed Nuclear Power Corp to inject infirm power into the grid for the commissioning tests including full load test of the first unit till January 22, 2015.
Infirm power refers to supply that is not committed and mainly fed into the grid as part of testing purposes.
At Unit-I, the first and second stage turbine blades and diaphragm have been damaged which are being replaced by taking from Unit-II, according to Nuclear Power Corp.
“The replacement of blades and diaphragm would take about from 7 to 8 weeks time. Therefore, the COD is expected to be achieved by January 22, 2015,” the company had told the CERC.
Successful testing of reactor, turbine-generator, feed water pump system and the control and protection system of different transients are mandatory as per Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, before declaring Commercial Operation Date (COD) of the project.
COD refers to the day from which the unit starts full commercial generation of electricity.
CERC has also asked the company to file a status report on rectification work carried out at the unit by December 30.
Nuclear Power Corp, after synchronised the unit into the grid on July 15, had earlier planned to start commercial operations in September.
“However, while raising power, an increase in turbine thrust bearing temperature was observed and the temperature touched operational limit on reaching power level of 850 MW.
“For attending to the technical problem, Turbine-Generator was taken off the bar and reactor was shut down on September 26, 2014,” the company has informed CERC.
The turbine high pressure casing is being dismantled for carrying out inspection of the turbine and identify the problem along with specialists of the turbine manufacturer from Russia.