NEW DELHI: The Kakrapar Atomic Power Station (KAPS) unit 1 in Gujarat, which has been shutdown since March due to radioactive leak, may still take nearly 3-8 months for full recovery.
Sources said that Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB), the watchdog of the Indian nuclear sector, is investigating the matter. But a senior Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) official said the plant, which is near Surat, may take around 7-8 months to become fully operational.
Kakrapar Atomic Power station (KAPS) unit 1, an indigenously built Pressurised Heavy Water Reactor (PHWR), was commissioned on May 6 1993 with a capacity of 220 MW. Of the total nuclear power generated in India, which is around 5,780 MW, it roughly contributes around 4.5 per cent.
On March 11, there was leak detected from its coolant system, following which it was shut down. Presently KAPS Unit 1 is in "cold shut-down" state and all the systems are functioning normally.
S Harikumar, Secretary Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB), said the leak has already been arrested and "all systems are normalised".
"We are now looking at Phase II, which involves investigation behind the leak," Harikumar said.
"The procedure of isolating the leak has been successfully implemented and the leaky channel has now been isolated. Following this, the plant emergency has been terminated at KAPS. There has not been any report of abnormal radioactivity releases/radiation exposures to any personnel during this incident, since March 11, 2016," the AERB said.
The NPCIL has said that it may still take two months for investigations to get over.
"We are currently doing Non-Destructive Testing, which involves going into the details. We cut the channels that have seen the leak and send it to the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) for testing. At every stage we have to secure permission from the AERB.
"However, we are also using this as an opportunity to do plant maintenance which was also due. This requires shutting down of the plant. After this incident we are anyways doing this.
"So we don't have to shut it down for maintenance separately," N Nagaich, Director-Human Resources of the NPCIL, said, adding that it may take a couple of months for the entire testing to get over after which plant could again be restarted.