Commercial operations of the first 1,000 MW unit of the Kudankulam nuclear power project situated in the state of Tamil Nadu near the southern tip of India, are now likely to start by January 22, 2015, as an earlier deadline could not be met due to technical problems.
Nuclear Power Corporation (NPC) had earlier planned to start commercial operations in September. However, it reported that, “while raising power, an increase in turbine thrust bearing temperature was observed, and the temperature touched operational limits on reaching a power level of 850 MW.”
“For attending to the technical problem, the turbine generator was taken off the bar and the reactor was shut down on September 26, 2014,” the company informed the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC). The turbine high pressure casing is being dismantled so that experts from the Russian manufacturer can identify and address the problem.
NPC has received permission from CERC to resolve the technical problem relating to the turbine by January 22, 2015. CERC has approved injecting infirm power into the grid for the commissioning tests including full load test of the first unit. Infirm power refers to supply that is not committed and mainly fed into the grid as part of testing purposes.
Successful testing of the reactor, turbine-generator, feed water pump systems and the control and protection systems of different transients are mandatory per the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, before the commercial operation date of the project is declared.