KKNPP Unit-I may attain criticality in 72 hours

A day after Atomic Energy Regulatory Board gave the green signal for commissioning of Unit 1 of the controversial Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant, authorities on Friday set in motion work on taking it to First Approach to Criticality.

Published: 13th July 2013 08:10 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th July 2013 09:07 AM   |  A+A-

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A day after Atomic Energy Regulatory Board gave the green signal for commissioning of Unit 1 of the controversial Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP), authorities on Friday set in motion work on taking it to First Approach to Criticality (FAC).

“Work on taking the first reactor to criticality stage commenced on Friday and it will be completed in 72 hours,” R S Sundar, Site Director of KKNPP told reporters.

He expressed happiness over AERB’s clearance on Thursday for the `14,000 crore Indo-Russian joint venture project.

Officials said the controlled nuclear fission process began on Friday at the 1,000 MW unit. This was the first step towards power production, they said

Already, an AERB team and senior officials of NPCIL are at the plant monitoring the process. AERB had earlier granted the final permission for ‘Initial Fuel Loading’ for unit-1 in September last year. Reviews were carried out by specialist groups and the Advisory Panel for Project Safety Review of AERB at the facility.

Meanwhile, additional police force has been deployed in and around the plant as a precautionary measure.

Tirunelveli SP Vijayendra S Bidari said that around 1,000 personnel had been deployed on security duty at Koodankulam.  If need arises, additional force, which has been kept in reserve, would be posted in the region, he added.

Reacting to the development, members of PMANE struggle committee and Idinthakarai village committee convened a meeting at the coastal village on Friday.

PMANE coordinator S P Udayakumar said that fishermen from Idinthakarai would not venture into the sea as a mark of  protest.

Besides, community leaders from coastal areas and other areas of Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi and Kanyakumari districts would meet on Sunday to discuss the next course of action.

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