Tangedco has suggested that the units of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP) be refuelled in such a way that they are available for two summers. It has pointed out that during the summer, the cost of power is so high and power may not be available in the market, too.
The southern States have already flagged the issue of the KKNPP undertaking a refuelling shutdown during the high power demand season (February to April), affecting the balance in generation and distribution. The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL), which runs the plant, has pointed out that the units can be operated for defined full power days, after which the reactors have to be shut for refuelling. The average refuelling cycle now is 300 full power days. Efforts are being made to increase the full power days to about 480 at Unit 1 and over 450 days at Unit 2. Then, it will be in a better position to ensure the operation of the units in the peak demand periods.
According to the Southern Regional Power Committee (SRPC), KKNPP Unit 2 (1,000 MW) refuelling was scheduled for 68 days (from March 25, 2022 to May 31, 2022). The 2022-23 outage of Unit-2 is proposed from March 17, 2023 to May 20, 2023 (65 days), it noted.
At a recent meeting of SRPC, Tangedco expressed concern over 1,000 MW going out of the grid during the peak power demand season, arguing that no State wants power cuts. It also said the 450 full power days should not be exhausted in the summer period and suggested that the refuelling be planned in such a manner that the units were available for two summers.
Tangedco also mooted a mechanism to compensate the commercial losses of the Kudankulam plant to ensure its operation during the summer. It was decided to hold a meeting on the issue and the southern States said they were open to any commercial proposal by NPCIL.
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