The first reactor of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP), which attained criticality on Wednesday (February 15) afternoon after it was stopped for maintenance on November 26 last, was synchronised with the Southern grid at 7.41 a.m. on Thursday.
“Power generation in the first unit, which stood at 250 MWe around 4.30 p.m. on Thursday, is being increased gradually and is expected to attain its maximum capacity of 1,000 MWe within next 72 hours,” KKNPP sources said.
The first reactor, which had run continuously for 278 days since February 22 last after the first fuel outage, had generated 13,197 million units of electricity till January 26 last ever since it was synchronised with the grid. The first nuclear reactor had generated a gross profit of ₹1,000 crore during the first half-year of the current fiscal.
The second reactor has so far generated 1,874 million units after it attained criticality.
After the first reactor was stopped on November 26 last, the mandatory maintenance and tests as stipulated by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) were conducted before taking the reactor to the criticality stage. As this exercise was completed to the satisfaction of the AERB experts, it attained criticality at 3 p.m. on Wednesday (February 15).
The first unit will be stopped in the last week of March or first week of April for fuel outage, that is removal of used fuel bundles. Of the 163 enriched uranium fuel assemblies in the rector — each measuring 4.57 metres and weighing about 705 kg — 50 used fuel assemblies would be removed during this exercise and replaced with fresh bundles.
Since Tamil Nadu, the major beneficiary, would be getting over 1,000 MWe power from the two units of KKNPP during this summer, the TANGEDCO would be in a comfortable position to tide over the power crisis. (Courtesy The Hindu)