CHENNAI: The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL) Friday announced that the first of the two 1,000 MW units of Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) is expected to start commercial operations this August and the second unit in March 2013.
The announcement on NPCIL's website as to the expected month of commercial operation of the first unit has now eased the mental pressure on people at KKNPP as the government has been saying that the first reactor would start operations in 20 days' time.
For a long time, NPCIL officials had been telling IANS that they could not give any tentative month for the commissioning of the first unit as it would be like pressurising the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) in giving various permissions.
Meanwhile, work on the opening of the first reactor's pressure vessel is progressing at good pace and the dummy fuel is expected to be taken out in a week's time, a senior NPCIL official, who did not want to be identified, told IANS.
Dummy fuel is similar to the real fuel in terms of specifications but without the enriched uranium.
A team of nuclear experts from HRID Ltd, Croatia, will then inspect the reactor pressure vessel and other systems.
According to the NCPIL official, the AERB gives its clearances in stages. After studying the data submitted post removal of the dummy fuel, the AERB would decide on giving its consent for loading the real fuel.
Following that, permission has to be sought to increase the power generation in stages till the full capacity can be reached.
According to officials, while the focus is on commissioning the first reactor, some work is being carried out for completing the second unit construction.