Koodankulam nuclear power project set to start in August

Koodankulam nuclear power project set to start in August


After a six year delay, the 6000 megawatt (MW) Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP) in Tamil Nadu will finally commence operations by the end of August. The plant will be fully functional once construction of all six reactors is completed. While the industry in general may be happy with the news, the wind sector has raised its concerns, reports CNBC-TV18 Poornima Murali.

But intense protests by local villagers delayed the completion of the first two reactors at the plant by over 2 years. It pushed the project cost up from the original Rs 13,171 crore, to Rs 17,270 crore.

After receiving clearance from the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) and compliance with the Supreme Court directive, unit 1 is fully operational, and should begin feeding into the power grids by the end of August.

RS Sundar, site director, Koodankulam n-power project said, “Exactly as per copybook style, we went as achieved criticality on the July 13 at 23:05 hrs.”

The second unit is slated to start functioning within the next six months.

From the 2,000 MW of power that these two units will produce, 925 megawatts will go to Tamil Nadu. Meanwhile, 266 MW will be given to Kerala; 442 MWs to Karnataka; and 67 MW to Puducherry. The share of Andhra Pradesh is still under negotiation.

Authorities now hope that work on the next 2 reactors will start in a year’s time.

“Unit 3 and 4 are in the advanced negotiation stages with Russian Federation. We hope to start this soon and we also hope to start the construction soon”, adds Sundar.

Initial estimates suggest that setting up these two reactors could cost the government around Rs 16,000 crore.

The project is six years behind schedule. But once commissioned, it will feed power into grids of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. This will be welcome relief for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in TN, which have been facing crippling losses and even shutdowns due to lack of power.

But wind energy companies in the region, which feed 2,500 MW to the grids, have been worried for a while.

“We are utilizing the transmission system, which was put up for KKNPP in a very surrogate manner. Once Koodankulam comes, those transmission systems will not be available for wind and there is no alternate plan”, says Ramesh Kyma, CMD, Gamesa.

The TN government is working on setting up additional transmission lines, and hopes these will be operational before the next wind season kicks in. It may be the only ray of hope for them. After this, the state should be able to boast both nuclear and wind power.

File:Kudankulam NPP.jpg

Source: Your Industry News



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