The wait for India's largest nuclear reactor to generate electricity is now down to weeks. After a more than 48-hour countdown, enough nuclear poison had been removed from the Kudankulam atomic reactor in Tamil Nadu for a sustained nuclear chain reaction to be initiated.
Having crossed all safety checks, engineers triggered the start of the plant for the first time. A news Chanel reported that in the 60-year life of the nuclear reactor, this is one of the biggest hurdles.
"All systems are operating safely," Engineer RS Sundar who heads the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant told NDTV. For the much-delayed nuclear unit, it was a big milestone to achieve "criticality" or the setting off of a sustained nuclear fission reaction within the 1,000 MW Russian-made atomic reactors.
The success would also boost India's efforts to gain entry into the exclusive Nuclear Suppliers Group or NSG. India currently operates 21 reactors that can generate 5,780 MW of electricity besides giving India its atomic power.
Both units of the Kudankulam plant have been made at a cost of over Rs. 22,000 crore and are 10 years behind schedule. The first unit started generating electricity in 2013. These units would provide electricity in southern states.