Dummy fuel loading in Koodankulam unit to be completed soon

Published: 14th July 2013 01:22 PM  |   Last Updated: 14th July 2013 01:32 PM   |  A+A-


In this file photo, A view of the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project. (PTI)


India's atomic power plant operator Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL) is hoping to complete the loading of dummy fuel into the second 1,000 MW reactor at Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) soon, a senior official said.

He said the first reactor that began nuclear fission process Saturday night is functioning well.

"We hope to complete the dummy fuel loading in a week or 10 days. The dummy fuel loading began around a week back," R S Sundar, site director of KKNPP, told IANS over telephone from Koodankulam Sunday.

After several trials and tribulations, KKNPP's first unit attained criticality, beginning the nuclear fission process for the first time in a reactor, Saturday night.

"The first unit is functioning well as per expectations. If everything goes well, we will be able to connect the plant to the southern grid in around 30-40 days' time," Sundar said.

NPCIL is hoping to commission the second unit in eight months time after necessary tests with dummy fuel and loading of the real fuel after that.

The dummy fuel assemblies are loaded into the reactor for conducting full-scale thermo-hydraulic tests of the reactor systems, prior to the loading of the actual fuel, so as to assess the design performance of the systems.

A total of 163 dummy fuel assemblies will be loaded into the core.

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.

Following the dummy fuel loading, the major activities to be carried are the reactor box-up for conducting "hydro-test" and the "hot circulation flushing" of the primary coolant systems.

During this process, the nominal parameters of the plant are achieved and tests are conducted for design evaluation of the plant. After this, the nuclear fuel is loaded and the reactor is made critical - the time when it starts generating power.

Meanwhile, it has been learnt that construction work for the administrative building for the next two units is progressing at the KKNPP site and first pour of concrete is expected to happen soon.

According to R K Sinha, chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) and secretary of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), it is a matter of time before the general framework agreement is signed with the Russian suppliers for the third and fourth units.

According to him, the total outlay for the third and fourth units would be Rs.40,000 crore.

"The issue of liability of the suppliers in the case of an accident is one of the reasons for the signing of the agreement getting delayed," Sinha said.


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