Nuclear Power Corporation (NPC) says it is unable to provide a schedule for commissioning of the Kudankulam nuclear power plant’s first unit of 1,000 Mw, given the ongoing technical review by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) and the need to comply with the 15 conditions laid down by the Supreme Court.
After the apex court gave a green signal on May 6 for the project, in southern Tamil Nadu, the NPC had estimated the first unit might achieve “criticality”, the point at which a nuclear reaction is self-sustaining, by end-May, with power generation to begin 25 days afterwards.
However, Kudankulam site director R S Sundar told Business Standard , “All efforts are on to comply with the conditions laid down by the apex court. The AERB team is at the plant site. It is not possible to give any time schedule at this juncture for commissioning of the first unit.” He said NPC had established a group to meet all the SC conditions.
AERB secretary R Bhattacharya said their team was yet to give a final nod for the ‘first approach’ to criticality. Besides, the Advisory Committee on Project Safety Review for light water reactors reviewing the status.
The SC has said the plant is to be made operational only after AERB gives a final clearance, The Union ministry of environment and forests is to oversee whether NPC has complied with the conditions laid down at the time of granting clearance.
AERB will have to periodically review design safety, so that there will be no adverse impact on the environment.
More, NPC, AERB and the Tamil Nadu government will have to take adequate steps to implement the National Disaster Management Guidelines, 2009, and do periodic emergency exercises on and off the site, in coordination with the authorities concerned.