Permission has been granted by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) for loading of fuel in to the much delayed Koodan-kulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP). After receiving the permission, the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) will begin loading the 163 fuel assemblies in to the 1,000 MW light water reactor.

The reactor has been supplied by Russia and will use enriched uranium as fuel and light water as that the loading will begin by mid of August and that is expected to take about a week to load the fuel assemblies, each of which is 4.57 meters long.

After receiving the nod from the AERB, the NPCIL will have to inform the International Atomic Energy Agency about moving of the fuel from the stores to the reactor. A senior official from the NPCIL pointed out “It is up to the IAEA to send a person to oversee the process”.

The KNPP falls under the safeguards agreement signed by India and the IAEA, who has to be informed about the fuel loading. The Tamil Nadu government has been informed that the fuel loading will take place around August 15, 2012. Before loading the fuel, the NPCIL has to put some components in to the reactor which is expected to be completed within a couple of days.