Second Kudankulam unit connected to grid

30 August 2016

Unit 2 of the Kudankulam nuclear power plant in India's southern state of Tamil Nadu has been connected to the electricity grid. It becomes India's 22nd operating power reactor.

Kudankulam 1 and 2 - 460 (Rosatom)
Kudankulam units 1 and 2 (Image: Rosatom)

The Russian-designed VVER-1000 reactor was synchronized with the southern grid at 11.17am yesterday and is now generating 245 MWe, Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) announced.

Output from Kudankulam 2 is being divided between four states: Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Puducherry.

Plant supplier Atomstroyexport said, "Next comes the stage of unit tests for dynamic stability at different levels of the electrical load and then exit at 100% load. After their completion will take place a 72-hour test at rated power, the results of which will be signed by the act of the provisional acceptance of Kudankulam unit 2 by the Indian customer."

Construction of Kudankulam 2 was completed in July 2015, and it was loaded with its first fuel in May 2016. Following the completion of safety tests, NPCIL began the process of approaching criticality on 8 July by diluting neutron-absorbing boric acid in the primary coolant water. A controlled self-sustaining nuclear fission chain reaction - or criticality - was attained on 10 July.

The grid connection of Kudankulam 2 - making it India's 22nd operating power reactor - brings India's installed nuclear generating capacity to 6780 MWe.

Kudankulam 2 is the second of two AES-92 VVER-1000 reactors supplied by Russia's Atomstroyexport under a Russian-financed contract. The two Kudankulam units have been built by NPCIL and also commissioned and operated by NPCIL under IAEA safeguards, with supervision from Russian specialists. Enriched uranium fuel for the entire life of the plant is to be supplied by Russia.

Construction of the Kudankulam units began in 2002. Kudankulam 1 achieved first criticality in mid-2013, was connected to the grid in October 2013 and entered commercial operation in December 2014.

In its 29 August statement, NPCIL said unit 1 had been running continuously for 189 days and had generated almost 11.3 GWh of electricity since being grid connected. The unit's load factor in the current financial year (2016-2017) has been "close to 100%", it noted.

The Kudankulam units are India's first pressurized water reactors to enter operation and are the largest reactors in the country. With the exception of two boiling water reactors at Tarapur, the rest of India's operating nuclear fleet are pressurized heavy water reactors.

Two further AES-92 VVER-1000s are planned for construction at Kudankulam. Excavation works for Kudankulam units 3 and 4 is in progress, NPCIL said. According to Atomstroyexport, first concrete for the new units will be poured in March 2017.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News