KKNPP first reactor shut down

The first reactor of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project, which ran for about 7,000 hours after the second fuel outage on April 13, 2017, has been shut down for the third fuel outage.

The 1,000 MWe VVER reactor supplied by Russia that attained maiden criticality on July 13, 2013, was shut down at 11.30 a.m. on Wednesday for the scheduled third fuel outage, during which 33% of the spent fuel would be removed robotically and fresh enriched uranium fuel bundles would be inserted into the reactor. All mandatory scheduled maintenance work will also be completed. As per the prescribed guidelines, at the end of a fuel cycle, the used fuel should be replaced with fresh fuel assemblies.

The unloading of spent fuels from the reactor core and loading of fresh fuel assemblies will be completed with the help of fully automated refuelling equipment.

During the second fuel outage, of the 163 enriched uranium fuel assemblies in the 1,000 MW VVER (water-cooled water-moderated) reactor, 53 spent fuel assemblies were removed and replaced with fresh bundles. The same number of fuel assemblies will be replaced this time too.

Besides, various maintenance activities involving systems and equipment as mandated by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board were also carried out during this outage. Subsequently, all the necessary tests will be conducted and the safety systems tested as per the regulations.

As part of the process mandated by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, testing of steam relief devices is planned to be taken up for about a week from Thursday (August 2). During the tests, the ambient noise level may marginally increase whenever the safety valves of the devices are opened. The tests are planned during day time only and each test may last only for a few minutes. Testing of the devices was a planned activity as per the laid down procedures and schedule, sources in the KKNPP said.

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