Leak in the Kakrapar nuclear reactor plugged, plant emergency lifted

Chennai, March 22 (IANS) The leaking coolant channel in the first 220 MW nuclear power reactor at Gujarat’s Kakrapar Atomic Power Station (KAPS) has been plugged and the plant emergency has been terminated, said an official in the sectoral regulator’s office.

“The leak in the coolant channel has been plugged after isolating the leak. The plant emergency has now been called off,” Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) secretary S.Harikumar told IANS over phone on Tuesday.

A plant emergency had been declared following the leak on March 11, signifying heightened state of alert for the plant personnel and management, the AERB had said.

According to Harikumar, 12 fuel bundles have been removed safely from the coolant channel before plugging the leak and there was no need to take out all the fuel bundles from the reactor.

A 220MW pressurised heavy water reactor (PHWR) like the one at KAPS has 306 coolant channels and each channel will have 12 fuel bundles.

On March 11 morning, the first reactor at KAPS belonging to Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) shut down automatically on following leakage of heavy water from its coolant channel.

According to Harikumar, the investigations as to the cause of leak will be carried out and it will take some time to be completed.

“The lessons to be learnt will be known after the investigations have been completed. Then necessary action that needs to be taken will be taken,” he added.

The coolant channel at the affected reactor was changed only in 2011.

Presently KAPS Unit 1 is in cold shut down state and all the plant systems are functioning normally, AERB said in a statement on Tuesday.

India’s atomic power plant operator NPCIL has two 220 MW units at KAPS. The second unit is under maintenance shut down since July 2015.

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