"The work on the construction of the first of the two 1000 MW Light Water Reactors (LWRs) at Kudankulam is complete," Sinha said addressing a function in Mumbai to commemorate the 103rd birth anniversary of Homi Jehangir Bhabha, the founder of India's nuclear programme.
"The operation of unit-1 is expected to commence shortly and the commissioning of the second unit is expected to follow early next year," he said.
Officials in the know said the first unit on the Kudankulam nuclear power project may go critical as early as next week.
Loading of 163 bundles of enriched uranium fuel into the reactor began on September 19 and was completed on October 2.
Engineers of the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited and experts from the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board and the International Atomic Energy Agency carried out in depth review of the reactor.
Last week, the reactor pressure vessel of the 1,000 MW was closed after getting the go ahead from the AERB and IAEA.
A series of pressure tests would be carried out on the reactors in the presence of the AERB and IAEA experts.
Pressure and temperature inside the reactor would be increased artificially in a gradual manner to rule out any discrepancies.
Commissioning of the first unit of the Indo-Russian project was originally scheduled for December last year, but has been delayed due to protests.
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