Kudankulam plant crosses big milestone: The second unit of Kudankulam atomic power project in Tamil Nadu went critical or started nuclear fission on Sunday at 8.56 p.m., said officials of Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL).
After a more than 48-hour countdown, at 8:56 pm on Sunday, enough nuclear poison had been removed from the Kudankulam atomic reactor in Tamil Nadu for a sustained nuclear chain reaction to be initiated.
The event was greeted with thunderous applause from the employees, technocrats and members of the Russian specialist group, exchange of greetings and warm hugs.
As the top brass of the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited including its Chairman and Managing Director S.K. Sharma witnessed the milestone event from the control room, the nuclear fission started in the second reactor at the scheduled time.
This is the second 1,000 MW pressurised water reactor to go critical in the country. The first unit at Kudankulam went critical in July 2013. The unit will start commercial generation in four to six months time.
For the much-delayed nuclear unit, it was a big milestone to achieve “criticality” or the setting off of a sustained nuclear fission reaction within the 1,000 MW Russian-made atomic reactor.
Once the reactor starts generating 400 MWe of power, possibly within 45 days from the date of criticality, it is likely to be connected to the grid. Generation of power will be raised to 500 MWe, 750 MWe, 900 MWe and 1,000 MWe in stages. At every stage, various tests will be conducted and the technical parameters verified as mandated by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB).