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Kudankulam (NPCIL) reactor attains full capacity

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The Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project crossed the much-awaited milestone on Saturday afternoon as the first reactor of the upcoming nuclear park attained its maximum capacity of 1,000 MWe at 1.20 p.m.

The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) engineers were operating 1,000 MWe reactors built with VVER technology, supplied by Atomstroyexports, Russia.

When the reactor reached 90 per cent of its capacity on May 5 last, it was expected that the first unit would attain the maximum power generation capacity within a week or so. However, the mandatory tests to be carried out after the reactor generated 900 MWe, submission of results to Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) and getting clearance from the controlling body took some more time to reach the ultimate milestone in the troublesome travel of the KKNPP, for which the ‘first pouring of concrete’ was conducted on March 31, 2002.

“It’s really an emotional experience for us as the reactor’s power generation gradually ascended from three digits to four digits at 1.20 p.m. today…. The KKNPP is really grateful to everyone who supported us all these years,” reacted an excited R.S. Sundar, Site Director, KKNPP.

After attaining criticality on July 13 last, the KKNPP’s first reactor had to undergo a series of tests stipulated by the AERB and also by Atomstroyexports, the technology provider, and had to be shutdown manually on a few occasions as planned.

Though the NPCIL had originally planned to commission the first of the 2 X 1,000 MWe reactor within five years from the date of ‘first pouring of concrete’, the completely new technology for the NPCIL technocrats, a range of technical issues, delayed supply of components, incorporation of additional safety measures, anti-KKNPP struggle and other reasons delayed its completion. Finally, the reactor is now ready for commercial power generatio,n 11 months after it attained criticality last year.

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