Kudankulam plant: Commissioning of Unit-1 only in Jan 2013

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Kudankulam
Chennai, Dec 13: The first unit of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) will be commissioned in Jan 2013, despite the Centre claiming repeatedly that the commissioning would be done this year itself. Just days ago V Narayanasamy, Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office, said in the Lok Sabha that commercial operation of Unit-1 will take place by the month-end. On Dec 9, he again asserted that "there is no confusion or delay in commencing generation of power" at KKNPP.

However, the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited has clarified that though most of the preparatory works at Unit-1 have been completed, its commercial operation can only take place early next year. Activists who have urged the government to scrap the project confirmed more or less the same thing. M Pushparayan of the People's Movement Against Nuclear Energy said, "Now we heard that they have given a date on Jan 15."

According to sources, Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) officials are watching closely the preparatory works and efforts are on to ensure that the 1000 megawatt unit is commissioned without further delay. Last week, the AERB permitted the 'second heat up' under which systems at the entire plant are to be tested one by one. If results of the tests are satisfactory, the board will give the nod for the reactor to go critical. After criticality is achieved, electricity will be generated in a phased manner. When a certain quantum of power is produced, KKNPP will be connected to the national grid.

The Tamil Nadu government has demanded that the 1000 megawatts produced at the plant's first unit be allocated to the state as it is facing an acute power crisis but the Centre may not heed the plea. On Dec 9, Narayanasamy told newspersons in Tirunelveli that as per the schedule Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh are entitled to altogether 700 megawatts of the power generated at KKNPP. The remaining is supposed to be shared by other states.

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