NEW DELHI, August 23 (Itar-Tass) — The first power unit of the largest facility in the sphere of Russian-Indian cooperation – the Kudankulam nuclear power plant in the southern state of Tamil Nadu will start generating electricity by this October, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) Mr. V Narayanasamy said.
“The first power unit of the project is to be put into operation by October 2012, the second - soon after that,” the Indian minister of state said.
Earlier in March, the government of Tamil Nadu, despite the ongoing protests, decided to resume the construction of the Kudankulam NPP the launch of which was delayed for several months after the protests of opponents of the nuclear power industry in September 2011. In mid-October the protests resumed, demonstrators blocked the road leading to the station, blocking the entry to the facility to engineers and builders. The government of the state for its part decided to suspend the construction until the concerns of citizens about the safety of the nuclear power plant are removed. This August, the Indian regulatory body in the field of nuclear energy (Atomic Energy Regulatory Board) issued the permission for the loading of fuel into the NPP reactor.
As a prelude to the commissioning of the first unit of the plant having the generating capacity of 1000 MW, engineers started its pre-service inspection on 30 June 2012. Recently, Atomic Energy Regulatory Board’s inspection of the reactor pressure vessel of Unit-1 was completed and no defects therein were found.
The construction of the Kudankulam NPP is carried out with the assistance of Russia’s Atomstroiexport (ASE) company and is based on the agreement between the former USSR and the Republic of India on cooperation in the peaceful development of nuclear energy that was signed in November 1988. The construction of the facility began after the signing in November 2001 of the General Agreement on the Kudankulam NPP construction and a memorandum on the basic principles of cooperation and mutual obligations. The Russian side pledged to provide technical support to the project, supply of equipment and materials, as well as training and education of the plant’s Indian personnel.