Kudankulam 2 update

Unit 2 of the Kudankulam nuclear power project is just one step away from attaining criticality , which would mean the plant can start producing power. On Wednesday , the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) gave its approval for the unit to start the fission reaction. Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) officials are now awaiting the nod from the department of atomic energy as well as clearances from the Union environment ministry and Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board as per Su preme Court guidelines.
Unit 2 which was to be commissioned in 2008 has been delayed as Unit 1 faced several hurdles and the entire NPCIL and Russian teams were involved in commissioning Unit 1. “We wanted Unit 1 to be commissioned as it faced problems several times. Only since April this year it has been functioning to full capacity and continuously , said the official. Unlike Unit 1, which faced problems from anti-nuclear activists in 2011, the commissioning process of Unit 2 has been smooth. Changes made in Unit 1 were made in Unit 2 also. Fuel loading in Unit 2 began in May and it was completed within a month. The reactor was boxed up a few days ago. Mandatory tests were conducted for the unit to start fissile reaction.
Once the unit attains criticality, power production can start although it will be infirm (irregular).“The power produced will be less, but slowly the unit will be tuned to attain full capacity. Whatever electricity is generated after the unit attained criticality will be fed into the grid. In between we would stop the process to conduct mandatory tests and the entire process of criticality will take a month,“ said the official.
Once the unit is functioning to full capacity , the state will get 563 MW from the unit. From Kudankulam 1 and 2, a total of 1,126 MW will be for Tamil Nadu's use.
Other states which will get power from the unit are Karnataka, Kerala and Puducherry . Allocated only 463 MW initially , TN sought for more power from the Centre, which increased the allocation to 563 MW.

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