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Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant gears up to meet summer power demand


To tackle the States increasing power demand of close to 15,800 MW and Chennais demand of 3,600 MW, the first unit of Kudankulam nuclear power plant will start functioning from April 16. Also, as summer is setting in, officials said power from the nuclear plant will help in meeting the demands of Chennai and the rest of the State, which is expected to rise by 200 MW each.

Officials from Tamil Nadu Transmission Corporation said 500 MW will be drawn from the first unit which will help in supplying sufficient power to the State which recorded a peak demand of 15,448 MW on February 28.

The first unit which was shut for general maintenance since November 2018, will be operational from April mid-week. Engineers from the nuclear plant said that general repairs were almost over and will come in handy to tackle the power demand during summer, said a senior official.

Officials also said that the second unit which is partially operated, provides 500 MW currently, but has been experiencing some vibration problems for the last one month. Unit one and two of the plant, both having a total capacity of 1,000 MW each, are currently the largest nuclear power generating reactors in the country.

Renewable energy sources

Owing to the steadily rising temperatures and ongoing exam season, use of air-conditioners have shot up across the State. As per the Central Electricity Authority, on an average, discoms (electricity distribution companies of India) will face an eight percent increase in power demand and officials said that it is likely to go till 10 percent this summer.

In 2016 and 2017, the State faced an increase of three to five percent only. And in 2018, the States demand was close to 15,400 MW. But in the next two months, we expect the demand to increase by 200-300 MW, added the senior official.

The power demand hike comes at a time when heat wave warnings were issued by the Indian Meteorological Department in the first week of March for interior districts of the State. Also, Chennai which had a demand of 3,537 MW in 2018, is likely to consume 3,700-4,000 MW of power as summer sets in, said officials.

Other than assistance from Kudankulam, Tangedco discom will be tapping power from its renewable resources. Officials are confident that around 1,800 MW of solar power and 800-1,000 MW of wind power will be pitching in to make the State tide over a very hot summer without power cuts.

Unlike the old structures, new wind turbines pick up even slow winds. Hence, we will be able to tap close to 1000 MW of wind energy even under non peak season. From June end once again, the season will start and last till September, so we will have no power shortage after that, the senior official added.

Additional power sources for summer of 2019

Wind- 800- 1,000 MW

Solar- 1,800- 1,900 MW

Kudankulam (both units)- 1,000 MW

Hydropower- close to 1,000 MW

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