Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) is hoping to get the regulator's sanction next week to start heating up the first unit at Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP), said an official Saturday.
The country's atomic power plant operator is setting up the project in Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu's Tirunelveli district, around 650 km from here, with two Russian-made VVER 1,000-MW reactors.
"We hope to get AERB's (Atomic Energy Regulatory Board) clearance to proceed with the next step coming week. We have submitted various reports about the reactor to the regulator," a senior NPCIL official, preferring anonymity, told IANS.
Earlier this month, two German technicians completed the process of sealing the reactor pressure vessel, a major milestone prior to the commissioning of the unit.
Subsequently, NPCIL submitted several technical reports to AERB to get the nod to begin the heating up process of the systems.
According to the official, after starting the heating up process, several tests have to be conducted and reports submitted to AERB.
On satisfaction with the results, AERB would give its permission for the reactor achieving criticality or starting the fission process.
The company wants to be doubly sure about the reactor's safe functioning and is not in a hurry, said the official.
AERB gave its nod to NPCIL to load 163 bundles of enriched uranium fuel in the first reactor in KNPP Sep 18 after the operator complied with all the conditions laid down by the regulator in its Aug 10 sanction order.
NPCIL completed the fuel loading process Oct 2.
The nuclear power project is an outcome of an Inter-Governmental Agreement between India and the erstwhile Soviet Union in 1988.
However, the construction began only in 2001.