India receives uranium for Kudankulam second unit

By Venkatachari Jagannathan, IANS,

Chennai : India has received the first consignment of uranium for the second unit of the 2,000-MW Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project in Tamil Nadu from Russia, a top official of the project developer has said.

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“This is the first consignment of the light enriched uranium for the second unit of the Kudankulam project. Several more consignments of the fuel will come from Russia for the project,” S.K. Jain, chairman and managing director of Nuclear Power Corp of India Ltd (NPCIL), told IANS from Mumbai on phone.

The first consignment reached India Thursday and the rest of the fuel required for the second unit is expected to arrive some time next week, he said. “But we can’t give the total fuel quantity right now.”

NPCIL is building the Kudankulam project, with Russia supplying plant and fuel for the reactor’s life time.

Fuel for the first Kudankulam unit came from Russia in early 2008.

Jain said the first unit was now 94 percent complete.

“Nearly 99 percent of the components are at the site. Some are yet to be received from Russia owing to unforeseen delays. It is a complex job with project in one country and the components manufactured in another country,” he added.

According to Jain, the loading of fuel for the first unit will be completed by year-end.

“Dummy fuel is expected from Russia next week. It will be loaded in the first unit.”

Dummy fuel is similar to real fuel in terms of weight and other features, but without uranium.

It will be inserted into the reactor core to test the functioning of all systems. If the systems function as per the norms, the real fuel will be loaded.

Jain said the first unit would be commissioned next year and the second unit would go on stream eight months after the first.

Asked about last week’s joint coordination committee meeting of NPCIL and the Russian supplier AtomStroyExport in Kudankulam, he said: “We reviewed the status of the project. Every quarter we hold such a meeting in India or in Russia.”

Four more Russian generators will be set up in Kudankulam for which site levelling and laying of road has started.