The first unit of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant, which was synchronised with the southern grid early Tuesday morning but tripped shortly after, is now expected back on stream only by the evening hours of Thursday. The unit tripped after less than two hours of operation after generating a maximum power of 160 MWe, well short of the start-up power target of 300-350 MWe.
Even as sources involved in the exercise said the Thursday evening restart is under the most optimistic schedule, KNPP site director R S Sundar, while admitting to PTI today that the unit had been shutdown “after running for a couple of hours” following “a mandatory procedure”, said the 1,000 MWe unit will start again this (Wednesday) evening.
On Wednesday, The Indian Express had reported that the first unit had tripped with the maximum generation achieved of only 160 MWe.
As late as Tuesday evening, NPCIL had claimed that the first unit “is synchronized to the grid... and generating 160 MWe”, something that was denied by the country’s grid managers, who said the unit had not been resynchronised after it tripped less than a couple of hours into the synchronisation process Tuesday morning.
“After running for a couple of hours, we shut down the unit yesterday following a mandatory procedure. We will start the unit again this evening and we are aiming at producing some 300 to 350 MWe of power from tomorrow morning,” Sundar told PTI on Wednesday.
Early on Tuesday morning, after being ‘test synchronised’ at 2 45 am, the unit tripped at around 4 34 am. Once the unit is resynchronised, power generation be gradually raised to 500 MWe, 750 MWe and 1000 MWe in stages.
At every stage, various tests are conducted and the technical parameters are verified and based on the results of the tests at each of the stages and with AERB clearances, subsequent stages will be reached.
As and when KKNPP-1 comes on stream, the country’s nuclear power capacity would go up from 4780 MWe to 5780 MWe. KKNPP-1 is the twentieth station of NPCIL that is connected to the country’s power grid. Unit 1 had attained criticality on July 13.
After obtaining the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board’s approval and Supreme Court’s direction, NPCIL started the criticality process on July 11 and on July 13 at 2305 hours the first unit achieved criticality.
Under the intergovernmental agreement, Russian state-owned nuclear engineering company chas helped build the first phase