Even as India and Russia stumbled on clinching an agreement on purchasing two more reactors for Kudankulam, there were celebrations at the Tamil Nadu-based plant as the 1000 MW nuclear reactor was, for the first time, connected to the southern grid.The much-awaited synchronisation of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project's first reactor with the power grid completed on Tuesday morning as the last-phase work on electricity generation began on 21-10-2013 midnight. As of now, only one-tenth of the installed capacity of power is being given to the southern grid. As the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board gives its go-ahead after more testing, more power could be supplied from plant, built in collaboration with Russia.
According to the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd, at around 2.45 am on Tuesday, the first electricity flowed into the grid from the nuclear plant, established in collaboration with Russia.
After the reactor's behaviour following power generation is studied by the operational group, the readings would be submitted to the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, the controlling body, for its 'super check'. If the AERB is satisfied with the reactor's performance, it would allow the KKNPP administration to increase the reactor's power generation capacity to 500 MWe, 750 MWe, 900 MWe and 1,000 MWe in several phases.
"At every stage, we should get the AERB's nod to take the quantum of power generation to the next level," a senior official of the KKNPP, who was present at the site during synchronisation,said.
Though the first reactor attained criticality on July 13 last after a prolonged delay owing to a range of reasons, the fine-tuning of hundreds of thousands of highly intricate systems including valves in the reactor, turbine and generator sections consumed enormous time for the Indian engineers and scientists as the 1,000 MWe VVER (Pressurised Water Reactor) technology, supplied by Russia, was quite new to the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited, the proponent of the Rs. 17,000-crore project.
After removing the anticipated and unforeseen problems with the help of engineers and scientists from Atomstroyexport, the Russian supplier of the reactor, in a phased manner, the KKNPP had to obtain permission from the AERB, the controlling body, to move the next step, which also took considerable time.