The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) has given green signal for controlled fission process or “First Approach to Criticality” (FAC) for the first unit of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant in Tamil Nadu.
The FAC is a significant step towards the starting of power generation. The approval was given after a thorough review of associated safety aspects. This clearance for the FAC, however, does not mean the commissioning of the plant. Many low-power tests will have to be done to verify the conformance of the reactor’s characteristics to design objectives. The AERB would review the results of the tests before giving a go-ahead for the next stage of commissioning, which would follow a phased increase in the power level of the reactor.