New Delhi: The first 1,000 MW unit of the much-delayed Kudankulam nuclear power project (KNPP) could be commissioned in the next few days and every step is being taken to ensure safety, a senior official said.
"We are reaching there. It is a matter of days now," Ravi Bhushan Grover, Principal Adviser, Department of Atomic Energy, told reporters on the sidelines of the India Energy Congress when asked about the commissioning of KNPP.
He said nuclear engineers were carrying out a thorough check of the first unit of the project, being built with Russian collaboration.
"We have to check at every stage. Whenever we find something, we correct it and move forward. We cannot take any chances. Safety has to be guaranteed," said Grover, who played a crucial role in negotiating the Indo-US civil nuclear cooperation agreement.
He said the engineers were now gradually heating up the reactor systems to the maximum after which the plant would again be put through a series of tests. In January, the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) had granted permission to the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited to repeat the 'hydro-tests' on the first unit.
In December, AERB had given its nod for the 'second heat up', under which all systems of the entire nuclear power plant will be put to test to demonstrate its operability and safety.
It was during these tests that engineers found certain deviations in some plant equipment and it was felt that some maintenance operations needed to be carried out.
AERB had granted permission to load fuel in the first unit of the nuclear power project on August 10 after NPCIL complied with all the conditions laid by it.
A specially-designed robotic arm then began loading 163 bundles of enriched uranium fuel on September 18 and the process was completed on October 2. Commissioning of the first unit was originally scheduled for December 2011 but had to be put off due to protests.