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Tangedco, NPCIL on collision course
Despite requests from state power agency, N-plants to be shut for 90 days during peak demand months.
The power utilities in southern states, including Tangedco and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL), are once again on a collision course over the scheduling of maintenance shutdown of nuclear power plants during the peak months of January to April.
The NPCIL units have planned biennial shutdown (BSD) or refuelling shutdown during January to April 2021, which is the peak demand period of thesouthern region.
Despite the repeated requests by the power utilities, including Tangedco, against taking out the nuclear power units during the peak demand months, the NPCIL has planned for a 90-day shutdown of the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant Unit-1 1000 MW from January 18, 2021 to April 18. The Madras Atomic Power Station Unit – 2 of 220 MW would be shutdown for 45 days during January-February next year. The Kaiga Atomic Power Station Unit 1, 3 and 4 would also be shut down during January to March. Tamil Nadu receives 1,708 MW power as its share from the three nuclear power plants – KKNPP, Kaiga and MAPs.
Southern Regional Power Committee Chairperson Dr N Manjula, in a letter to the Chairman and Managing Director of the NPCIL, stated that the southern region has relatively lean demand period during the months of June to December each year and planned maintenance of all the thermal and the nuclear units needs to be scheduled during these months.
Pointing out that the NPCIL had agreed to take out its units under maintenance during June to December except KKNPP, he noted that the latest maintenance schedule of the NPCIL units is in strong variance with the need of the power by the beneficiaries, decision taken in SRPC meeting and the Ministry of Power. He urged the CMD to issue suitable directions for review of the BSD/refuelling shutdown of the NPCIL units of Southern Region and to schedule the shutdowns during the non-peak period. Sources in the NPCIL said that the unit 2 of the KKNPP is under refuelling with effect from December 15, 2019 and might take three months to come back. “The power level of KKNPP unit-1 has already been reduced to 90 per cent and all attempts are being made to bring back KKNPP unit-2 prior to RSD of KKNPP unit-1. As far as the Kaiga unit 4 is concerned, the official said that the forthcoming biennial shutdown is a regulatory requirement, but the schedule could vary.