The Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project's (KNPP) first 1,000 MW unit will be ready for the atomic energy regulator's clearance for fuel loading in two months' time and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) is gearing up for it, said a top official.
NPCIL chairman and managing director SK Jain also heartily welcomed the Tamil Nadu Cabinet's decision on Monday to take all steps in support of the two 1,000 MW reactors being set up at Kudankulam in Tirunelveli, around 650 km from Chennai.
"We are very happy at the Tamil Nadu government's decision. We want to thank the honourable chief minister (J. Jayalalithaa) for guiding us," Jain told IANS over phone from Mumbai.
Queried about the time that NPCIL would need to start the plant, he said: "It is expected to take around two months to complete the works so that the reactor is ready for the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) to consider and decide on loading of the fuel."
According to Jain, all the reports needed by AERB relating to the first unit and the fuel loading are ready.
"When the work at the plant got stopped due to the protests, only two/three weeks' work was remaining for the fuel to be loaded into the reactor," he said.
Jain said NPCIL would also move people from its other stations to restart the work at the KNPP's first unit.
"In three to four days additional workforce would reach Kudankulam. It will take sometime for the contractors to mobilise their workforce. Due to the protests, the workforce of the contractors had left Kudankulam," he said.
Meanwhile, employees of KNPP numbering around 500 have entered the project site after a gap of nearly six months.
"We are going to office now," an official told IANS with enthusiasm bubbling in his voice.
Last year the state government had asked the central government to stop all work at KNPP till the fears of the local people about the nuclear plant are allayed.
Villagers feared for their lives and safety in case of any nuclear accident and the long-term impact the nuclear plant would have on the population.
Their agitation had put a stop to the project work, thereby delaying the commissioning of the first unit by several months.