An unforeseen "mechanical malfunction and consequent damage" to a vital component has crippled the turbine of the first reactor of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project, delaying the resumption of power generation. The reactor was stopped for mandatory tests prior to the start of commercial power generation.
Though KKNPP Site Director R.S. Sundar said in a statement that the reactor was expected to be back in service in eight weeks, sources in the KKNPP said of power generation might take four more weeks to resume.
After the turbine generator operated for 4,701 hours, yielding 282.50 crore units of electricity, it was stopped on July 30 for the "annual maintenance and mandatory tests" usually done on the 1,000-MWe Russian VVER reactors.
After the reactor attained criticality on September 13, the KKNPP management said it was inching towards commercial power generation. However, the turbine was stopped within the next few hours owing to the "malfunction of a vital component" in the rotary engine.
"Since the malfunction damaged a vital component, we're rectifying or replacing it," the sources said. Though this component was supplied by a foreign company, the KKNPP administration was planning to fabricate it at BHEL.
Demanding the resignation of Mr. Sundar for the "mess-up," People's Movement Against Nuclear Energy coordinator S.P. Udayakumar said in his Facebook post on Monday that the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) that had tested the reactor "repeatedly" and certified each step should answer serious questions arising at this juncture.
"How come they [AERB experts] did not detect any problem in the turbine? What kind of tests did they do? How did they give all-clear certification? Who is the responsible officer there for the current mess?" he said.
Source- The Hindu