The first unit of the Kudankulam nuclear power plant in India's southern state of Tamil Nadu was connected to the electricity grid today. It becomes India's 21st operating power reactor.
|Kudankulam units 1 and 2 (Image: AtomStroyExport)
Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) said that the unit was synchronized to the grid at 2.45am today and is now generating 160 MWe. The company noted that output from the reactor would be raised in stages - to 500 MWe, then 750 MWe before reaching full capacity of 1000 MWe. NPCIL said that at each stage various tests would be conducted and technical parameters verified. Approval would be required from the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board between each increase in output.
The unit is one of two VVER-1000 pressurized water reactors built as part of a bilateral agreement between India and Russia signed back in 1988. Construction began in 2002 and the unit was completed in March 2011. However, its commissioning has been delayed by over two years due to protests and legal action following the accident at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi plant.
Some performance issues were identified with a number of pumps in the passive core cooling system in April, but these have since been replaced. The unit achieved first criticality in July.
Kudankulam 1 is scheduled to reach full capacity next month, when Russian supplier AtomStroyExport will hand over the reactor to NPCIL for commercial operation. The second 1000 MWe Kudankulam unit is expected to begin commercial operation in June 2014.
Negotiations continue between India and Russia on the construction of a third and fourth unit at Kudankulam.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News