Dummy fuel for Kudankulam nuclear power project received

Chennai, Aug 31 (Inditop.com) With the receipt of dummy fuel from Russia, India has moved a step forward towards commissioning the first unit of 2×1,000 MW Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project in Tamil Nadu.

Inditop reliably learns that the dummy fuel landed in Tuticorin port Saturday and has reached Kudankulam where the Nuclear Power Corp of India Ltd (NPCIL) is putting up the project with Russian equipment. Kudankulam is in Tirunelveli district, about 600 km from Chennai.

Dummy fuel is similar to real fuel in terms of weight and other features, but without uranium.

It will be inserted into the reactor core to test the functioning of all systems, a process technically called status of hot operation.

If the systems function as per norms, the real fuel will be loaded so that the reactor attains criticality.

However, power will flow to the grid after the nuclear scientists perform some experiments and increase gradually the power generation.

Two weeks ago, India received the first consignment of uranium from Russia for the second 1,000 MW unit at Kudankulam. The rest is expected soon.

The fuel consignment for the first unit came in early 2008.

Speaking to Inditop earlier, NPCIL chief S.K. Jain had said the first unit was 94 percent complete and nearly 99 percent of the components were at the site.

He said the loading of fuel for the first unit would be completed by year-end and the dummy would be loaded.

The first unit would go on stream sometime early next year and the second would follow some eight months later.

NPCIL is building the Kudankulam project, with Russia supplying plant and fuel for the reactor’s life time.

Four more Russian generators would be set up in Kudankulam for which site levelling and laying of road has started.

NPCIL has decided not to house any more new nuclear power projects in Tamil Nadu, also known as the atomic power state housing nuclear power generation capacity of around 6,000 MW – existing and proposed.

The state’s two existing nuclear islands – Kalpakkam, around 80 km from here, and Kudankulam – have attained their saturation levels.

“There will be no more new locations to house nuclear power reactor projects in Tamil Nadu other than the existing Kalpakkam and Kudankulam,” Jain had said.

“These locations have attained their saturation levels. The fourth and fifth fast breeder reactor projects that are being planned will be housed outside the state.”

Besides the 2�220 MW pressurised heavy water reactors operated by the Madras Atomic Power Station since the 1980s and a clutch of test reactors, Kalpakkam will house three units of 500 MW fast breeder reactors.

Designed by the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research at Kalpakkam, the country’s first fast reactor is under construction and the government has sanctioned two more such reactors to be located there.

More than two units at a single location will make it economical for NPCIL to locate other facilities like fuel reprocessing centres.