Kundankulam first unit to be shut for refuelling

Chennai, Oct 4 (IANS) The first 1,000 MW atomic power reactor at the Kundankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) in Tamil Nadu is expected to be shut down for refuelling in December, an official at the Nuclear Power Corp of India Ltd (NPCIL) said.

Further, the unit, which stopped generation on October 2 and came into operations the next day, is expected to touch maximum generation on Tuesday.

The second 1,000 MW unit is likely to be reconnected to the southern grid on October 17 or 18, the official added.

India’s atomic power plant operator NPCIL has built two similar 1,000 MW nuclear power plants at Kudankulam in Tirunelvelli district, around 650 km from here with Russian equipment.

“The first unit will be shut down in December for around two months for refuelling. This will be the reactor’s second refuelling. Every year a part of the unit’s fuel will be changed,” H.N. Sahu, Station Director, KNPP, told IANS over telephone from Kudankulam.

The reactor has a total of 163 fuel assemblies and out of that 52-54 fuel assemblies will be replaced with new ones.

He said the unit was operating well after a brief shut down on October 2 this year.

“We expect to touch maximum generation today (Tuesday),” Sahu said.

On October 2 around 7.45 p.m., the first unit stopped functioning owing to a problem in its cooling water pump, said Power System Operation Corporation Ltd (POSCO).

However the issue was sorted out and the unit was revived the next day and generated an average power of 558 MW.

Queried about the status of the second 1,000 MW unit at KNPP, Sahu said the unit was expected to be reconnected to the southern grid on October 17 or 18 at 50 per cent power capacity.

After operating the unit for seven days, the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board’s (AERB) permission will be sought for further increase in power generation levels.

The Unit-II was connected to the southern grid on August 29, 2016. After operating it for some time, the unit was disconnected for testing the parameters.

The unit went critical or started nuclear fission on July 10, 2016.