The first of India's Russian-designed nuclear power reactors has taken a step closer to start-up with the loading of dummy fuel assemblies into the core of Kudankulam 1.
|That was then: Kudankulam under construction (Image: AES)
According to Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL), the first of two VVERs currently under construction at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu is over 95% completed. Dummy fuel assemblies, made of lead, are now being loaded into the reactor core to enable full-scale testing of thermo-hydraulic systems prior to loading with the actual fuel. Dummy fuel loading is due to be completed by the end of May, followed by major testing of the primary coolant system before the real fuel is loaded. The dummy fuel will also be used to test the special containers that will be used to transport actual fuel assemblies from the fuel storage building, and to calibrate the refuelling machine, which has already been erected and commissioned.
The plant is one of two Russian-supplied 950 MWe VVER pressurised water reactors currently being built by NPCIL at Kudankulam and due to start up later this year. Construction is planned to begin on the next two Kudankulam VVERs by mid-2011.
Further Russian reactors figure in India's plans for 20,000 MWe nuclear capacity on line by 2020 and 63,000 MWe by 2032. Speaking to reporters at Kudankulam after the announcement of the dummy fuel loading, NPCIL chairman and managing director SK Jain said that ten more light water reactors would be built with overseas assistance during the country's 12th Five Year Plan. According to reports in The Hindu, four of these would be Russian-supplied (the fifth and sixth units at Kudankulam plus two at Haripur in west Bengal), with four reactors supplied by US companies and two supplied by France.
Jain was also quoted as saying that first concrete for the third and fourth Indian-designed pressurised heavy water reactors (PHWRs) to be built at the Kakrapar plant in Gujarat would take place within the next 6-8 weeks, with ground-breaking for two more PHWRs to take place at the Rajasthan plant by the end of May. In addition, the reports noted, two sites had been identified for the construction of four PHWRs at Hissar in Haranya and at Madhya Pradesh. The land for the Hissar site would be acquired within the next 6-8 weeks, Jain is quoted as saying.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News