CHENNAI: After getting caught in the eye of one of the longest running protests, being embroiled in controversies over the quality of work and repeated delays, the first unit of the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project has finally attained criticality on Thursday evening.
Officials from the power plant in Tirunelveli the 1,000 MW Unit 1 attained criticality – beginning of the chain reaction – at 4.19 pm on Thursday. This came after the planned refuelling shutdown and maintenance activities, said officials.
The process is being overseen by officials from Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, Nuclear Power Corporation of India and experts from Russia, who are assisting India in setting up the nuclear power plant.
“The process of criticality started at 11.49 on Thursday. As the next step, reactor power will be increased in stages to generate 1,000 MW electricity as per laid down procedures and regulatory clearances,” said station director of KKNPP HN Sahu in a statement this evening.
The project was caught in a big controversy after the people in Idinthakarai, the fishing village near Kudankulam village, went on a protest against the plant being set up in their neighbourhood. The protests that went on for months together had attracted international attention.