Even as uncertainty looms large on the date of the commissioning of the first reactor of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Projects, the top official of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) has confirmed that the preparations for the reactor's commissioning is in an advanced stage and it will be done anytime soon.
Atomic energy commission chairman RK Sinha told HT said since it was the first reactor of its kind to be set up in India, the authorities wanted the tests to be done in a "textbook manner'.
"All efforts are being made to commission the Unit-1 in the next couple of weeks, subject to regulatory concurrences at interim stages. As a part of the commissioning procedure, all components had to be tested and calibrated, both under cold and hot conditions. All such jobs are better done before criticality, rather than doing some of these later after the plant goes commercial. In the initial commissioning of complex engineering systems, both vigour and rigour are important, and optimism must co-exist with caution. Once commissioned, the reactor will be formally dedicated to the nation," he said .
The testing, he said, was done in an extremely rigorous manner and was in the final stages. "Once this is done, the commissioning of the second unit, now under advanced stage of construction, will not take time."
The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) on January 24, 2013, had accorded clearance for the second heat-up and full-system tests of the Unit-1 of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant.
The indigenous light water reactor initiative, he said, was one of the major initiatives that the Department of Atomic Energy had planned to increase the rate of deployment of nuclear energy at inland sites. "We have launched a project for designing and developing a light water reactor. This would be a 700-MW reactor using several advanced passive safety features developed for the mainly thorium-fuelled Advanced Heavy Water Reactor developed at BARC."
Yukiya Amano, director general, International Atomic Energy Agency, is visiting India from March 11 - 15. During Amano's visit, bilateral discussions will be held in Mumbai and New Delhi.