Unit 1 of India’s Kudankulam nuclear power plant achieved first criticality late on 13 July 2013. The 1000 MW Russian-designed pressurized water reactor, which started construction in March 2002, brings the total number of reactors in India to 21.

The reactor power will now be increased in stages until it reaches its full 1000 MW capacity, Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) said.

By the end of August, the reactor is expected to be synchronized to the Southern grid with about 400 MW power. Power will then be increased in a step-wise manner to 50%, 75%, 90% and then 100% full power, after obtaining the necessary regulatory clearances, NPCIL said.

Construction at the Kudankulam plant was hamered by protests in 2011, which delayed commissioning by around two years. In May, India’s Supreme Court found in favour of commissioning Kudankulam 1&2, in judgement of a lawsuit filed in September 2012 arguing that starting up the plant violated local residents’ human rights, and which objected to other aspects of the plant’s development.


Photo: Kudankulam 1&2