"Yes, based on the recommendations of the safety committee, we have granted permission for fuel loading," Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) Chairman S S Bajaj told PTI from Mumbai.
With the AERB go-ahead, Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) will start loading 163 fuel assemblies into the first 1,000 MW unit of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project, which is being developed with Russian collaboration.
Shiv Abhilash Bhardwaj, Director (Technical) of NPCIL, said the fuel loading would commence in 10-15 days.
Experts said that NPCIL would take about a week's time to load the fuel assemblies, each 4.57 metres long, into the reactor core and conduct the first approach to criticality.
The 1,000 MW Russian reactor will use enriched uranium as fuel and light water as coolant and moderator.
The application of NPCIL and reports of the safety committees were reviewed at a meeting of the AERB yesterday.
The initial fuel loading and first approach to criticality will be carried out under the supervision of AERB officials who will ensure all safety measures to be in place and also verify the compliance to AERB approved procedures.
After the loading of fuel, the NPCIL will again come to AERB to seek clearance in phase-wise increase of reactor power level. (MORE)