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Monday, July 15, 2013

'boron dilution process' Kudankulam nuclear plant [KKNPP} goes critical

“Inherent boron dilution can occur whenever the decay heat is removed from the core by phase-separating natural circulation, that is, by reflux condensation in case of vertical U-tube steam generators (UTSG) and by boiler condensation in case of horizontal or vertical once-through steam generators (OTSG) . These conditions lead to boron dilution because  boric acid does not markedly………………………………………….
~ an explanation like the above may not mean anything to the common man, whose acquaintance with boric acid is either for treating open wounds or ‘on carom board’. ~ the news on the ‘boron dilution process’ is of National significance……….. when you recall the recent past of the inherent contradictions of a “peaceful” “Gandhian” movement that the anti-Kudankulam agitation claimed to be;   it appeared that there were forces trying to hold the State to ransom, trying to impede the operation of KKNPP (Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant).  It augured well for the Nation that in May 2013, Apex Court pronounced in no uncertain terms that ‘Kudankulam is Safe’ .... Kudankulam has been in news for long… the construction started in Mar 2002; and soon we are to see the fruits  

The good news is that the country’s first 1,000 MW pressurised water reactor at Kundankulam in Tamil Nadu has attained criticality, setting the stage for power generation before end of August.  The Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant, KKNPP,  attained criticality Saturday midnight and will start generating safe power for consumption in 40 days, according to Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) chairman S.K.Sinha. Four operators were monitoring the ‘boron dilution process’, which would allow neutron concentration to go up and begin nuclear fission, generating heat. This heat would then operate the turbine to generate power, Sinha told reporters earlier in the day. Chairman K C Purohit of the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) and its executive director Nageswara Rao were present. Mr Sinha insisted that the  entire process “is well in compliance with the established principles”. Experts from NPCIL and the Russian Kursatov Institute of Atomic Energy, besides observers from the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) were closely monitoring the process.

They said the unit would produce 50 per cent of capacity in the first stage, 70 per cent in the second stage and 90 per cent in the third stage, and so on. The first unit would add 1000 MW to the southern grid and increase the contribution from nuclear power to 5,780 MW.   The K-plant had been hit by delays since last December following protests by PMANE (People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy) over safety concerns.  Recently in a gathering of college students - renowned nuclear scientist and chairman and managing director of Bhavini (Bharatiya  Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Limited), Mr Prabhat Kumar said that ‘Nuclear energy is the alternative source to meet the growing energy demand of the country;  nuclear energy  was the finest form of energy, as it does not emit carbon dioxide or carbon monoxide. It is a clean energy source using Uranium-235 as fuel.”

From idyllic settings to boiling cauldron to serving the Nation – Kudankulam has seen it all…….  Some even tried to physically stop the workers and officials from entering the plant; asked  for detailed plan lay out ; had the audacity to question the veracity and knowledge of beloved Dr APJ Abdul Kalam.  Sure all these should no longer deserve any mention as the  milestone was achieved at 11.05 PM last night after the “Boron dilution process” allowed neutron concentration to go up and start nuclear fission, generating heat.  According to Atomic Energy Commission Chairman S K Sinha – KNPP is the 21st nuclear power reactor and the country’s first pressurised water reactor under the light water reactor category.  KKNPP Units one and two are VVER-1000 type reactors set up with technical cooperation with Russia.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

15th July 2013.

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