Both units at Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project have come to a stand-still, resulting in a shortfall of 1,000MW for Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (Tangedco). Unit 2, which had stopped power generation in December last, is yet to resume.
The first unit was stopped on Tuesday night owing to a technical snag. About 50% of power generated at Kudankulam power plant is supplied to Tamil Nadu.
“We were getting around 300MW from Unit 1 till a few days ago. As there is no communication from the plant as to what is the real issue and when generation will resume, we are not taking supply from Kudankulam into consideration for our planning,” said a senior Tangedco official.
As per Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) website, Unit 2 generated 3,641 million units of power in 2019-20 and Unit 1 generated 5,586 million units. Efforts to seek response from NPCIL officials were in vain.
Compared to other nuclear power units in the country, the Kudankulam units have been performing below par. For example, four units in Kaiga have a capacity factor of not less than 90%. Some have crossed 100%. In comparison, the capacity factor of Kudankulam Unit 1 is 80% and Unit 2 is only 50%. Since February 1, power demand has been surging in the state.
The peak demand is around 14,500MW, which is a new high for February. “All our thermal units are working at full capacity. Beyond that, we are purchasing power from central thermal and nuclear units as well as from the market to meet the peak demand,” said the official. At times, wind power is available, but it is restricted to evening time.