Atomic power plant operator Nuclear Power Corp of India (NPCIL) is hopeful of getting the sectoral regulator's sanction to load fuel in the first 1,000 MW reactor Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) by the end of this month, said a senior official.
A NPCIL official told IANS: "The pre-service inspection of the reactor pressure vessel is progressing smoothly. A team of around 40 officials are on the job working round the clock."
According to him, officials from the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) are also reviewing the reports submitted by NPCIL about the KNPP's first unit simultaneously.
"The pre-service inspection is expected to get over by this month-end and AERB's sanction to load the fuel is expected around that time," he said.
AERB gives its sanctions in stages. After its permission to load the fuel, the regulator's permission has to be sought to increase the power generation in stages till the full capacity can be reached.
According to officials, the transmission lines to carry power from KNPP has already been charged. The lines are ready to carry power from KNPP.
On June 30, NPCIL had commenced the pre-service inspection of the reactor pressure vessel of the first unit of KNPP.
At that time it was said the inspection would take 10-12 days to end and it would provide the baseline date for future inspections, apart from providing data on the status of the reactor pressure vessel.
"We need some more time to finish the inspection," a NPCIL official said.
The inspection is an automated one and the equipment is under the water in the pressure vessel. NPCIL is building two 1,000 MW reactors supplied by Russia in Kudankulam in Tirunelveli, around 650 km from Chennai.
Queried about the status of work on the second unit, the official said that the systems connected with sea water was getting commissioned. While unit one is 99.36 percent complete, the second was 94.75 percent complete in May.
The NPCIL has announced that the first unit will be commercially operational next month and the second unit in March 2013.