Chennai: The loading of uranium-enriched fuel bundles in the first reactor at Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) is progressing at a steady pace and would take another 10 days to complete, a senior official said.
“The fuel loading is progressing at a steady pace. We are not in a hurry. It may take us another week or 10 days to complete the fuel loading process,” a senior official of the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) told IANS.
NPCIL is setting up KNPP at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu’s Tirunelveli district, around 650 km from here, with two Russia-made VVER 1,000 MW reactors.
The sectoral regulator Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) gave its nod to NPCIL to load 163 bundles of enriched uranium fuel in the first reactor at KNPP Sep 18 after the latter complied with all the conditions laid down by the former in its Aug 10 sanction order.
After the reactor is fuelled, activities to approach first criticality — starting fission chain reaction for the first time in a reactor — will be taken up.
Then the power generation will be gradually scaled up on AERB’s permission, based on the results of various studies.
Observers from International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are expected at KNPP after the fuel loading is completed as the reactors fall under the safeguard agreement, an official said.
KNPP is an outcome of the Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) signed between India and the erstwhile Soviet Union in 1988. However, the project construction only began in 2001.