Unit 1 of India's India's Kudankulam NPP in Tamil Nadu began supplying power to the grid on 30 January, according to the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL). The 1000MWe unit, build with Russian assistance, had been closed for annual maintenance for some seven months.
Kudankulam 1 achieved first criticality in July 2013 and was connected to the southern grid in October 2013 but commercial power generation did not begin until December 2014. The unit was shut down in June 2015 for 60 days, for refuelling and annual maintenance and was restarted on 21 January after some delay. NPCIL is building two 1000MWe VVER units at Kudankulam with, unit 2 expected to go critical for the first time sometime this year. Construction of the unit began in 2002.
However, informed sources said delays are expected, according to Indian news agency IANS, which said start-up may be postponed until 2017. The unit needs to get some parts from Russia as some of its components were used in unit 1 following technical problems. A senior official in the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) told IANS that the results of unit 2's commissioning and inspection reports are being studied. "After the reports are studied AERB might lay down some conditions which have to be completed before NPCIL applies for the permission to load the fuel," he said.
Meanwhile, AERB has approved the start of excavation work for two further units (3 and 4) at Kudankulam, Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom said quoting Indian sources. There has been no official confirmation of the information by the AERB. Russia is building the NPP under an inter-governmental agreement signed in 1988 and amended in 1998. In December 2014, Russia and India signed an agreement for the construction of the two new VVER-1000 units.