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Nuclear Power Corporation (NPC), which completed initial fuel loading at the Kudankulam plant, would soon seek the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) nod to close the reactor vessel before starting the process for the reactor to attain criticality.
Meanwhile, NPC and the Depart-ment of Atomic Energy are preparation its arguments on safety measures at the Kudankulam project for Thursday’s hearing in the Supreme Court. NPC has finished initial fuel loading in phase-I of the project on October 2.
AERB’s approval for criticality and commissioning of commercial production would come after a team, which would also have International Atomic Energy Agency members, inspect the site.
An NPC official, who did not want to be identified, told Business Standard: “Initial fuel loading is complete. We will once again approach AERB seeking its clearance to proceed further. This is a regulatory process being followed by NPC during the completion of every nuclear power project.” The official said that the AERB team, which was present during the initial fuel loading, would go through the documents in this regard and also see if the parameters envisaged were fulfilled.
About 90 tonnes of enriched uranium has been loaded into 163 assemblies of the VVER-1000 reactor to generate 1,000 Mw in a year. After one year, some of the assemblies would be reloaded with 30 tonnes of enriched uranium.
AERB had said that safety aspects of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant have been thoroughly reviewed before giving clearance for fuel loading. Safety provisions for various commissioning activities were assessed against the AERB regulatory requirements, R Bhattacharya, AERB secretary, noted.