Consequently, Tangedco has been forced to meet the state’s power demand without the 1,000MW from the two units at Kudankulam. Fortunately, the power utility has been able to meet the demand due to the availability of wind power so far. However, it is forecast that the wind power generation is likely to come down in the next few weeks.
“Almost everyday, we have been asking the Kudankulam officials when at least one unit will resume power generation. But we have not been getting any confirmation from them. Even on Wednesday morning, we asked the officials about the status of Unit 2. They expect it to become operational only by the month-end or even the first week of September,” said a senior Tangedco official.
The discom is hopeful of meeting the average 14,000MW demand with some standby thermal units. “As of now, the demand is around 13,500MW and it is mostly due to residents using air conditioners in large cities like Chennai and Coimbatore. Once the weather improves, the demand is likely to come down,” said the official.
As per the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), nuclear reactors which are closed for annual maintenance will have to re-start power generation within two months. But every time Unit 1 is closed down for annual maintenance it takes more than two months to re-start the reactor. It happened in 2015, 2016 and this year too.
“In the case of Unit 1, we had to change some equipment, which had to come from Russia. We are now checking the new equipment and mostly it will be re-started before the end of August,” said an NPCIL official from Mumbai.
Calls made to the Kudankulam Site Director remained unanswered. Unit 2 has some technical problem with its boiler and it is being looked into, the NPCIL official said.
Tangedco is not able to forecast power supply for the coming days.
“If power from Unit 1 is available, then as per the merit rate, we will be evacuating nuclear power, after wind, but we are not able to forecast the supply. If wind power generation is lower, then we will have to re-start the thermal units which are on standby. We have around 800MW of thermal units which are on standby,” said the official.
Both units of Kudankulam Nuclear Power plant have been shut down. While Unit 1 is down for the past four months for maintenance Unit 2 has stopped production since August 4 due to fault in boiler and is awaiting replacement of the faulty equipment from Russia.
The KKNPP has been hugely controversial and there has been proof submitted that key parts used were faulty and of shoddy quality.
The government in it’s brazen arrogance has not heard the voice of dissent and reason, instead going ahead with the commissioning of the first unit under military cover.
The PMANE led peaceful protests grabbed national and international headlines for it’s non violent protests.