First Kudankulam reactor in commercial operation

31 December 2014

Unit 1 of the Kudankulam nuclear power plant in India's southern state of Tamil Nadu has entered commercial operation today.

Kudankulam 460 (AtomStroyExport)
Units 1 and 2 of the Kudankulam plant (Image: AtomStroyExport)

Plant owner Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) started up the unit on 7 December following repairs to its turbine. The company said the reactor has been operating at its full capacity of 1000 MWe since 10 December and today declared it as being in commercial operation. The unit's turbine generator has operated for a total of 5266 hours, it noted.

Output from Kudankulam 1 is being supplied to India's southern grid and divided between five states: Tamil Nadu (56%), Karnataka (22%), Kerala (13%), Andhra Pradesh (5%) and Puducherry (3%).

Although the Russian-supplied VVER-1000 pressurized water reactor was completed in March 2011, its commissioning was delayed due to protests and legal action following the accident at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi plant. The unit eventually achieved first criticality in July 2013 and was connected to the grid in October that year. Since then, output from the plant has been increased in stages, with regulatory approval required for each increase in power. NPCIL announced in June that the reactor had reached full power for the first time.

However, in October NPCIL announced that Kudankulam 1 was being taken offline for an inspection of its turbine and associated components. At that time it said the unit would remain out of service for six to eight weeks while some components are replaced before the reactor would enter commercial operation.

Two VVER-1000 pressurized water reactors are being built at Kudankulam as part of a bilateral agreement between India and Russia signed back in 1988. First concrete for unit 1 was poured in March 2002, with that for unit 2 following in four months later. The units were originally scheduled to begin commercial operation in December 2007 and December 2008 respectively.

The second Kudankulam unit, which has entered the commissioning phase, is expected to achieve first criticality in April 2015.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News