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Monday, 05 Aug 2013
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Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant nearing completion


Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant’s Unit-I will reach its maximum capacity of 1,000 MW in November 2013. Kundankulam Nuclear Power Project is likely to start generation in August 2013 and will generate 400 MW in the first stage. Though it is good news, there is no cause for celebration. The project should have been completed long back as it was initiated nearly a quarter century ago!


Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant nearing completion_ProjectsToday


Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project is being developed by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL), at an estimated cost of Rs 17,270 crore at the Kudankulam region of Tamil Nadu. The Nuclear Power project was first envisaged in the 1980s as an inter-governmental agreement between India and the erstwhile Soviet Union. However, construction at the site level could begin only in 2001.


The pace of execution was very slow and in 2007 the project was halted once again due to stiff resistance from the local population. Thereafter, the progress was a lame one. Amidst strong protest from environmentalists and locals, the project progressed at a snail’s pace.


Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project achieved a major milestone in July 2013 when the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB), gave its nod for the “first approach to criticality” for Unit-I of the plant. Soon after receiving the penultimate clearance, the process of criticality was started. Unit-I of the nuclear plant soon attained criticality and began the nuclear fission process.


A Nuclear Power unit attaining the first criticality means the unit is operational. Since achieving criticality, Unit-I of the Nuclear Power plant was stopped and re-started five times, which is part of the standard low power tests that NPCIL has conducted to verify the conformance of the reactor characteristics to design objectives. NPCIL has submitted the results of these experiments to AERB and now awaits their permission to restart the chain reaction.


After receiving AERB’s clearance there will be a phase-wise increase in the reactor’s power level. At the first stage, the plant will be synchronised with the southern grid when power generation touches 400 MW, which is expected to happen in 30-45 days. After the necessary regulatory clearances are achieved, the power generation will be increased gradually to 50 per cent, 75 per cent, 90 per cent and finally to 100 per cent.


Top-5 Nuclear Power Projects - India
Project Name
Cost (Rs.Crore)
Nuclear Power Corpn. of India  Jaitapur Nuclear Power
Nuclear Power Corpn. of India  Nuclear Based Power (Kudankulam) - III & IV
Nuclear Power Corpn. of India  Kudankulam Atomic Power
NPCIL-NALCO Power Co.  Atomic Power (Kakrapara)
Nuclear Power Corpn. of India  Nuclear Based Power (Mithivirdi) - Phase I


Kudankulam Nuclear Power plant is India's first pressurised water reactor belonging to the light water reactor category. NPCIL is also planning to set up two more units of 1,000 MW each at the Nuclear Power plant. The Central Government is currently in negotiations with Russia for developing Units-III & IV of the project.


According to the data released by Central Electrical Authority (CEA), out of the total 225.793 GW installed capacity of India, Nuclear Power accounts for a meagre 4.78 GW. The commissioning of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project’s Unit-I, will take India’s nuclear installed capacity upto 5.78 GW. Besides the Kudankulam Nuclear Power project, the other nuclear projects which are currently under execution are the Rajasthan Nuclear Power project Unit-VII & Unit-VIII, and the Kakrapar Nuclear Power project Unit-III & IV, with a capacity of 700 MW each.


For the power-strapped southern states, the commissioning of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project will surely be a major relief. While the power from the nuclear plant will be shared by the southern states, Tamil Nadu, where the project is located, will receive 463 MW of the total capacity of 1,000 MW.


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Power Sector Developments




FDI Developments


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Quote of the week:


R S Sundar_Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant_Projectstoday

"Everything is progressing in a normal manner. The reactor is functioning well as per expectations. If everything goes well, we will be able to connect the plant to the southern grid in 30-45 days."


R S Sundar, Site Director,
Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant, NPCIL

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