Media reports indicate that the work on initiating the nuclear chain reaction at the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP) in Tamil Nadu has begun. This means the plant would attain criticality for a sustained nuclear chain reaction.
A controlled nuclear fission process has begun for the first time in the plant - a step towards power production in a nuclear reactor.
This comes after the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) approved the first 1,000 mw Russian-made reactor unit of the plant.
The approval of the atomic power regulator paves way for power generation from the plant. The power produced from the facility would be used in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Pondicherry.
Generation of power at the unit was delayed by technical snags and strident anti-nuclear protests.
If all goes well, experts say, the 15,000-crore reactor can achieve a sustained chain reaction in a week and start supplying power to the Southern Grid within weeks.
The Kudankulam plant is an outcome of a pact between India and the erstwhile Soviet Union in 1988. However, construction began only in 2001. The project has also been delayed owing to hurdles in the supply of components from Russian vendors.