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Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (or Koodankulam NPP or KKNPP) is the single largest nuclear power station in India, situated in Koodankulam in the Tirunelveli district of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Construction on the plant began on 31 March 2002,[3] but faced several delays due to opposition from local fishermen.[4][5] KKNPP is scheduled to have six VVER-1000 reactors built in collaboration with Atomstroyexport, the Russian state company and Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL), with an installed capacity of 6,000 MW of electricity.[6]

Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant
Kudankulam NPP.jpg
Coordinates8°10′08″N 77°42′45″E / 8.16889°N 77.71250°E / 8.16889; 77.71250Coordinates: 8°10′08″N 77°42′45″E / 8.16889°N 77.71250°E / 8.16889; 77.71250
Construction began31 March 2002 (2002-03-31)
Commission date22 October 2013 (2013-10-22)
Construction cost17,270 crore (US$2.50 billion), units 1 & 2
39,747 crore (US$5.75 billion), units 3 & 4
Owner(s)Nuclear Power Corporation of India
Operator(s)Nuclear Power Corporation of India
Nuclear power station
Reactor typeVVER
Cooling sourceLaccadive Sea
Power generation
Units operational2 × 1000 MW (gross)
Units planned2 × 1000 MW (gross)[1][2]
Units under const.2 × 1000 MW (gross)
Nameplate capacity1,864 MW
Annual net output7,134 GW·h (2018)
External links
WebsiteNuclear Power Corporation of India
CommonsRelated media on Commons

Unit 1 was synchronised with the southern power grid on 22 October 2013 and since then, has been generating electricity at its warranted limit of 1,000 MW.[7] The original cost of the two units was 13,171 crore, but it was later revised to 17,270 crore (US$2.6 billion). Russia advanced a credit of 6,416 crore (US$0.97 billion) for both the units.[8] Unit 2 attained criticality on 10 July 2016 and was synchronised with the electricity grid on 29 August.

In 2015, Nuclear Power Corporation Ltd (NPCIL) announced a price of 4.29/kW·h (6.4 ¢/kW·h) for energy delivered from Kudankulam nuclear power plant.[9]

The ground-breaking ceremony for construction of units 3 & 4 was performed on 17 February 2016. Due to operators and suppliers requirement to insure the next two units at 39,747 crore (US$5.75 billion), the cost of units 3 & 4 amounted to twice the cost of units 1 & 2.[10][11]



Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant in 2014


An Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) on the project was signed on 20 November 1988 by the Prime Minister of India, Rajiv Gandhi and the Soviet head of state, Mikhail Gorbachev, for the construction of two reactors. The project remained in limbo for a decade due to the dissolution of the Soviet Union.[6] There were also objections from the United States, on the grounds that the agreement did not meet the 1992 terms of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).[12] M R Srinivasan, Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) Chairman from 1987 to 1990, called the project "a non-starter". However, the project was revived on 21 June 1998.[6]


Construction began on 31 March 2002, with Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) predicting that the first unit would be operational in March 2007, instead of the original target of December 2007.[6]

A small port became operational in Kudankulam on 14 January 2004. This port was established to receive barges carrying over-sized light water reactor equipment from ships anchored at a distance of 1.5 kilometres (0.93 mi). Until 2004, materials had to be brought in via road from the port of Thoothukudi, risking damage during transportation.[13] In 2008, negotiations on building four additional reactors at the site began. Though the capacity of these reactors has not been declared, it was expected that the capacity of each reactor will be 1,200 MW (1.2 GW).[14][15] The new reactors would bring the total capacity of the power plant to 6,800 MW (6.8 GW).

Commissioning of Unit 1Edit

The first reactor of the plant attained criticality on 13 July 2013 at 11:05 pm.[16]

KKNPP was first synchronised to grid at 2:45 am on 22 October 2013.[17] Power generation from first nuclear reactor started on the same day. Unit 1 was operating at 73% capacity (680 MW) by April 2014.[18] Unit 1 attained its maximum capacity of 1,000 MW of electricity at 1:20 pm on 7 June 2014 and started commercial operation from 31 December 2014.[19] Till April 2015, KNPP-1 generated 2,783 GW·h of electricity at 97% capacity factor.

Commissioning of Unit 2Edit

Unit 2 achieved first criticality on 10 July 2016. Unit 2 is the second 1,000 MW unit to go critical in India. It was grid-connected in August.[20] Commercial operation started on 15 October 2016.[21][22]

Construction of Units 3 and 4Edit

The ground-breaking ceremony for construction of units 3 & 4 was performed on 17 February 2016.[23] Construction was expected to begin in early 2017.[24] In fact, construction of Unit #3 started on June 29, 2017.[25]

Design and specificationEdit

The reactors are pressurised water reactor of Russian design, model VVER-1000/V-412 referred also as AES-92. Thermal capacity is 3,000 MW, gross electrical capacity is 1,000 MW with a net capacity of 917 MW.[26] Construction is by NPCIL and Atomstroyexport. When completed the plant will become the largest nuclear power generation complex in India producing a cumulative 2 GW of electric power.[27] Both units are water-cooled, water-moderated power reactors.[28][29][30][31]

Four more reactors are set to be added to this plant under a memorandum of intent signed in 2008.[32] A firm agreement on setting up two more reactors was postponed.[33]


Reactor 1 was to begin supplying power to the Central Grid by end of August 2013.[34]

The Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) board members have approved signing of a power purchase agreement (PPA) with the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) for sourcing electricity from the Kudankulam nuclear power project (KKNPP).

Unit 1 was shut down in June 2015 for refuelling and annual maintenance. On 21 January 2016 the reactor restarted and was connected to grid on 30 January 2016.[35]

Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project Site Director D.S. Choudhary stated on 26 January 2018 that units 1 and 2 of the nuclear plant had generated a combined total of 22,800 million units since they began functioning.[36]


In 2011, thousands from the vicinity of the plant protested against it, fearing a nuclear disaster, in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster[37] According to the protesters, evacuation of people in the event of a nuclear disaster would be impossible.[38] According to S P Udayakumar, of the People's Movement Against Nuclear Energy, "the nuclear plant is unsafe". However, in 2012, the chief of India's nuclear energy programme, Dr Srikumar Banerjee, called the plant "one of the safest" in the world.[39] In December 2012, The Hindu reported that hundreds of villagers in the region were largely ignorant of the risks and benefits of the plant.[40]

A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed in 2011 with the Supreme Court asking for nuclear power development to be delayed until safety concerns were independently assessed.[41][42] In May 2013, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of the plant, stating that the nuclear power plant was in the larger public interest.[43]

In March 2012, nearly 200 anti-nuclear protesters were detained for a few hours by the police. The protesters were set to join protests objecting resumption of work of one of two 1 GW reactors, a day after the local government restarted work on the project.[44]

There have also been rallies and protests in favour of commissioning this nuclear power plant.[45][46]

On, 24 February 2012, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh blamed foreign NGOs for protests at the power plant. News agencies reported that three NGOs had diverted donations earmarked for religious and social causes to the protests, in violation of foreign exchange regulations.[47][48]

Supporters of the power plant in Idinthakarai village have been targeted by opponents using improvised explosive devices.[49]


There are allegations from various agencies throughout India and officials from Home Ministry that several Christian organisations and Christian NGOs are behind the protest against KKNPP.[50][51] The Church of South India, The Catholic Bishops Conference of India.[52] and the National Council of Churches openly oppose the KKNPP.[53] It is also implicitly recognizable that officials in the Catholic Church of these regions too spread rumours through anti-nuclear videos from church premises and through Missionary Schools.[54] The prime motives for opposing the Nuclear Reactor were allegedly multi-faceted. One of the allegations was that the protest was meant to damage the Russian civil nuclear credibility and to make it impossible for Russia to recover costs of construction, and thereby, artificially creating a state of uncertainty for future foreign investments in India.[55] One of the Anti Nuke protesters UdayaKumar was caught in a sting video asking for funds to be diverted and routed through the church[56]

Response from officialsEdit

Former chairman of Atomic Energy Commission of India Srinivasan said, "The Fukushima plant was built on a beach-front, but the Kudankulam was constructed on a solid terrain and that too keeping all the safety aspects in mind. Also, we are not in a tsunami prone area. The plants in Kudankulam have a double containment system which can withstand high pressure. At least 14,000 crore has been spent. If we don't operate the plant immediately, it will affect the economic stability of our country".[57]

A centre panel constituted by the Government of India, which did a survey of the safety features in the plant, vouched for the safety of the Kudankulam reactors. Dr Muthunayagam, who headed the panel, said that the protesters asked for some documents which are not related to the safety of the reactor.[58] Nuclear scientist and principal scientific adviser to the federal Government of India Rajagopala Chidambaram has said "We have learnt lessons from the Fukushima nuclear accident, particularly on the post-shut-down cooling system", and also added Fukushima nuclear accident should not deter or inhibit India from pursuing a safe civil nuclear programme.[59]

The Tamil Nadu state government formed a four-member expert panel which submitted a report to the government after inspecting the safety features of the plant. The Tamil Nadu government in the wake of the acute power shortages in the state has ordered in favour of the commissioning of the plant.[60]

Allocation of powerEdit

Government of India announced the power allocation from the two units of the reactor on 29 August 2013.[61]

Beneficiary Power (MW)
Tamil Nadu 925 MW
Karnataka 442 MW
Kerala 266 MW
Puducherry 67 MW
Unallocated 300 MW
Total 2,000 MW

Kudankulam AlleyEdit

The town council of Volgodonsk, Rostov Oblast named a lane located next to the Atommash plant as Kudankulam Alley in November 2018. The plant, which is owned by Rosatom, manufactures equipment for the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant.[62]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Россия и Индия подписали соглашение о строительстве пятого и шестого блоков АЭС Куданкулам" [Russia and India signed an agreement on the construction of the fifth and sixth blocks of the Kudankulam NPP].
  2. ^ "Ввод пятого энергоблока АЭС Куданкулам запланирован на 2024 год, шестого - на 2025 год" [The commissioning of the fifth power unit of the Kudankulam NPP is scheduled for 2024, the sixth - for 2025].
  3. ^ "PRIS – KUDANKULAM-1 – Reactor Details". 31 March 2002. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
  4. ^ "Commercial operation of Kudankulam plant delayed further". Business Standard. 13 January 2013. Retrieved 14 July 2013.
  5. ^ "The professor and the politics in anti-nuclear crucible".
  6. ^ a b c d "Kudankulam ready for more". Frontline. 11 November 2016. Retrieved 22 December 2016.
  7. ^ "Wait for Kudankulam power ends; unit 1 linked to grid". Business Line. 22 October 2013. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
  8. ^ "Ready to run". Frontline. 9 August 2013. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
  9. ^ B.Sivakumar (25 January 2015). "Kudankulam power to cost 4.29/unit". The Times of India. Retrieved 9 September 2015.
  10. ^ "Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant: Cost of units 3,4 surpasses Rs 39,000 crore". The Economic Times. 3 December 2014. Archived from the original on 10 March 2016. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  11. ^ "Kudankulam units 3, 4 cost more than doubles over liability issues". The Hindu. 3 December 2014. Archived from the original on 3 December 2014. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  12. ^ Nuclear Exports to India from Russia Archived 1 April 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ "The Hindu Business Line : Koodankulam port becomes operational".
  14. ^ Dmitry Sergeev (1 February 2008). "Russia, India edge closer to major nuclear deal". Reuters. Retrieved 1 February 2008.
  15. ^ "India, Russia to sign deal on new nuclear reactors". Archived from the original on 6 December 2008. Retrieved 3 December 2008.
  16. ^ "Kudankulam nuclear plant goes critical". The Times of India. 14 July 2013. Retrieved 14 July 2013. "Birds started nesting in area surrounding NPP of Kudankulam". India Info Online. 2 September 2013. Retrieved 10 October 2014.
  17. ^ Kudankulam nuclear plant begins power generation. Mumbai Mirror (2013-10-22). Retrieved on 2013-12-06.
  18. ^ Narasimhan, T. E. (10 April 2014). "Unit-I of Kudankulam to start commercial production by year end" – via Business Standard.
  19. ^ Sudhakar, A. (7 June 2014). "Kudankulam reactor attains full capacity" – via
  20. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 6 September 2016. Retrieved 6 September 2016.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  21. ^ "Путин и Моди запустили второй энергоблок АЭС "Куданкулам"". РИА Новости. 15 October 2016.
  22. ^ "Second unit of Kudankulam nuclear plant starts fission". Times Internet. 10 July 2016. Archived from the original on 10 July 2016. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  23. ^ "Bhoomi pooja performed for Kudankulam 3rd, 4th units". Zee Media Corporation Ltd. 17 February 2016. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  24. ^ "Construction work for Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project 3,4 units to begin soon: Scientist". The Indian Express. 26 January 2017. Retrieved 12 February 2017.
  25. ^ "Rosatom State Atomiс Energy Corporation ROSATOM global leader in nuclear technologies nuclear energy".
  26. ^ "The VVER today – Evolution – Design – Safety" (PDF). (PDF). Rosatom. 2014. pp. 11–12. Archived (PDF) from the original on 21 July 2016. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  27. ^ "NPCIL to go into details with 4 reactor suppliers".
  28. ^ "Nuclear Power Plant Type".
  29. ^ "Koodankulam to start production in 40 days".
  30. ^ "Kudankulam Atomic Power Project 1 & 2 and". Archived from the original on 15 May 2008. Retrieved 1 June 2008.
  31. ^ History of the Kudankulam Project
  32. ^ "4 more reactors for Koodankulam". 26 January 2007 – via
  33. ^ Radyuhin, Vladimir (5 September 2009). "“Russia will not agree to curbs on technology transfer to India”" – via
  34. ^ Tamil Nadu to get additional 100MW of power from Kudankulam nuclear power plant – Times Of India. (2013-08-08). Retrieved on 2013-12-06.
  35. ^ "Kudankulam Nuclear-Plant Restarts Generation". NDTV. 15 February 2016. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  36. ^ "Kudankulam nuclear reactors generated 22,800 million units". The Hindu. 28 January 2018. Retrieved 19 February 2018.
  37. ^ Rahul Bedi (28 October 2011). "Indian activists fear nuclear plant accident". NZ Herald.
  38. ^ "Thirteen Reasons Why We Do Not Want the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project". TRANSCEND Media Service.
  39. ^ "Kudankulam one of safest reactors, Lanka's fears unfounded: India's nuclear chief". NDTV. 12 April 2012. Retrieved 3 October 2013.
  40. ^ "At Kudankulam's core is fear, ignorance and anger". 2 December 2012. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
  41. ^ Siddharth Srivastava (27 October 2011). "India's Rising Nuclear Safety Concerns". Asia Sentinel.
  42. ^ Ranjit Devraj (25 October 2011). "Prospects Dim for India's Nuclear Power Expansion as Grassroots Uprising Spreads". Inside Climate News.
  43. ^ "Kudankulam verdict: for this village, renewed protests or tacit acceptance". NDTV. 6 May 2013. Retrieved 3 October 2013.
  44. ^ "Nearly 200 arrested in India nuclear protest". France24. 20 March 2012. Archived from the original on 31 May 2012.
  45. ^ "Rally seeks power generation at Kudankulam plant". The Hindu. 16 February 2012.
  46. ^ "Blood donation camp in support of N-plant". The Hindu. 24 February 2012.
  47. ^ "5 NGOs diverted foreign funds to fuel Kudankulam stir". hindustantimes. 24 February 2012.
  48. ^ "Kudankulam protests: 3 NGOs lose licence for diverting funds". Firstpost.
  49. ^ Sudipto Mondal. "Explosions at village near Kudankulam plant: Reports". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  50. ^ Kudankulam Protests, Church and Western NGOs, Who is Udayakumar?
  51. ^ Kudankulam Protests , Church and Western NGOs, Who is Udayakumar?
  52. ^ "Sangh Parivar".
  53. ^ Reporter, Staff (22 November 2012). "Churches back Kudankulam stir" – via
  54. ^ Srinivasan, Meera (2 December 2012). "At Kudankulam's core is fear, ignorance and anger" – via
  55. ^ Rakesh Krishnan Simha. "The Plot Behind Sabotage Kudankulam, Targeting Russia". eSamskriti - The Essence of Indian Culture. Retrieved 1 August 2015.
  56. ^ "Activist S P Udayakumar vs Arnab's Republic TV". Sify. Retrieved 29 December 2018.
  57. ^ "Kudankulam plant is safe: Srinivasan". The Times of India. 14 November 2011.
  58. ^ "Kudankulam reactors safest: Central panel". The Hindu. 19 November 2011.
  59. ^ "R. Chidambaram bats for Kudankulam". The Hindu. 12 March 2012.
  60. ^ "Kudankulam nuclear power plant issue ends – India – DNA". 19 March 2012. Retrieved 17 November 2012.
  61. ^ Press Information Bureau English Releases. Retrieved on 2013-12-06.
  62. ^ "Now, a Kudankulam lane in Russia". The Week. Retrieved 27 April 2019.

External linksEdit