The first unit of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project attained first criticality at midnight Saturday, paving the way for power production in the nuclear reactor. First Approach to Criticality (FAC) is the beginning of a controlled nuclear fission process.
In the first stage, the plant will be synchronized with the southern grid with about 400 megawatts power expected within 30 to 45 days of attaining first criticality, said RS Sundar, site director at the KNPP.
In the next phase, reactor power will be increased in stages to generate 1,000 megawatts. “In the subsequent stages, after completing procedural and regulatory requirements, power will be increased in steps of 50 percent, 75 percent, 90 percent and 100 percent,” he added.
The process of achieving first criticality was started at 11.49 pm Thursday after Atomic Energy Regulatory Board cleared it after an in-depth review. A team comprising of the AERB, Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited and Russian specialists are supervising the process.
Other than the first unit, there are three more nuclear projects under construction. The second unit of KNPP will produce another 1,000 megawatts power, while Kakrapar Atomic Power Project 3 and 4 and Rajasthan Atomic Power Project 7 and 8 will produce 1,400 megawatts each.