Chennai, Feb 28 IANS | 8 months ago

The Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) is hoping to carry out a full systems check, technically called hydro test, of its second 1,000 MW atomic power reactor at Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP), said a senior official.

The company is also hoping to approach the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB), the sectoral regulator to increase the power levels of its first unit at KNPP.

"We are planning to do test in a week's time. This is a preparatory step for the reactor's hot run," R.S. Sundar, KNPP site director, told IANS.

Hot run is a trial run of the reactor with dummy fuel assemblies. The dummy fuel assemblies, made of lead instead of uranium are the exact replica of the actual nuclear fuel assemblies, both in dimension and weight.

The unit has achieved a physical progress of 96.74 percent as in January.

When asked about the functioning of the first unit, Sundar said it is running at 73 percent power levels and various tests are being carried out.

"We hope to complete all the tests in one week's time and approach AERB with an application to increase the reactor power levels beyond 75 percent," Sundar said.

India's atomic power plant operator NPCIL is setting up two 1,000 MW Russian reactors at Kudankulam in Tirunelveli district, 650 km from here. The total outlay for the project is over Rs.17,000 crore.

KNPP is India's first pressurised water reactor belonging to the light water reactor category.

The first unit attained criticality July 2013, which is the beginning of the fission process.

In August 2013, the AERB gave its permission to generate power up to 50 percent (500 MW) of the rated capacity.

Last month AERB allowed the unit to generate power up to 75 percent capacity.

According to Sundar, it normally takes around nine months for a similar reactor to be commercially operational from the time it begins the nuclear fission process for the first time.

The NPCIL is hoping to operate the first unit on a commercial basis this April.

(Posted on 28-02-2014)

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