Kudankulam nuclear power plant to be commissioned in May

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New Delhi, Mar 20: The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) has made it clear that the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) cannot not be commissioned next month.

V Narayanasamy, Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office, had told the Lok Sabha that the reactors at the plant would be commercially operated in April. However, NPCIL said that Unit-1 of KKNPP can be commissioned only by May. As for the second unit, NPCIL indicated that it may be commissioned by the year end.

This is not the first time that Narayanasamy had given a specific time frame for the commissioning. In Dec 2012, he informed the Lower House of Parliament that commercial operation of one of the two 1000 megawatt reactors would be possible within days. "There is no confusion or delay in commencing generation of power," he averred.

Despite this, NPCIL clarified that although preparatory works at Unit-1 had been completed, it is not likely to be commissioned till Jan 2013. Later, the deadline was extended due to several reasons.

At the beginning of this year, the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) gave permission for the 'second heat up' at KKNPP. Accordingly, all systems at the plant were tested one by one.

Activists have repeatedly urged the government to scrap the project. The People's Movement Against Nuclear Energy has been at the forefront of most protests staged in Tamil Nadu.

Incidentally, the state has demanded that the entire power produced at Unit-1 be given to it. The AIADMK government cited the acute power crisis in TN. Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa wrote more than once to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, appealing for allocation of 1000 megawatts to her state. However, the Centre rejected the demand.

Narayanasamy said that Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are jointly entitled to the 700-odd megawatts expected to be generated at KKNPP. The remaining quantum of power will be shared by other states, he added.

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