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NPCIL starts generating power at Kundankulam

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Chennai: Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) started generating power in Tamil Nadu at Kundankulam from 1,000 Mw on Saturday.

“The first unit started feeding power on Saturday morning at 7.12 am. The power generation now is 300 Mw,” R S Sundar, station director said.

“We will have a brief interruption according to our previous plan as part of a check. Then again we will reconnect,” Sundar said.

The unit, under annual maintenance and shut for nearly seven months, restarted fission on January 21.

NPCIL is setting up two 1,000-Mw atomic power plants at Kudankulam in Tirunelveli, district, around 650 km from here, at an outlay of over Rs 17,000 crore.

The first unit attained criticality, which is the beginning of the fission process, in July 2013.

Subsequently, it was connected to the southern grid in October 2013.

However, commercial power generation began only on December 31, 2014.

The unit also experienced breakdowns after commercial production started.

The unit was shut down in June 2015 for 60 days, for refuelling and annual maintenance in June 2015.

Operating at full capacity, the unit supplies power to Tamil Nadu(562.5 Mw), Puducherry (33.5 Mw), Kerala (133 Mw), Karnataka (221 Mw) and Andhra Pradesh (50 Mw).

The NPCIL skipped several deadlines in restarting the first unit and finally on January 21 the reactor restarted the fission process.

According to the official position, the second 1,000-Mw unit at Kudankulam is expected to go critical, or start the fission process, for the first time sometime this year.

However, sources said that the unit may go critical early next year.

The second unit has to get some parts from Russia as some of its components have been used in the first unit so that the latter could start operating fast. The fuel has to be loaded into the second reactor.

A senior official in the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) recently said that the results of the second unit’s commissioning and inspection reports are being studied.

“After the reports are studied AERB might lay down some conditions which have to be completed before NPCIL applies for the permission to load the fuel,” he had said.(IANS)

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Diesel Exhaust Converted Into Ink by Indian Innovators To Battle Air Pollution

Supervised by young engineers, workers at the start-up company Chakr Innovation in New Delhi cut and weld sheets of metal to make devices that will capture black plumes of smoke from diesel generators and convert it into ink.

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representational image. VOA

Supervised by young engineers, workers at the start-up company Chakr Innovation in New Delhi cut and weld sheets of metal to make devices that will capture black plumes of smoke from diesel generators and convert it into ink.

In a cabin, young engineers pore over drawings and hunch over computers as they explore more applications of the technology that they hope will aid progress in cleaning up the Indian capital’s toxic air – among the world’s dirtiest.

While the millions of cars that ply Delhi’s streets are usually blamed for the city’s deadly air pollution, another big culprit is the massive diesel generators used by industries and buildings to light up homes and offices during outages when power from the grid switches off – a frequent occurrence in summer. Installed in backyards and basements, they stay away from the public eye.

“Although vehicular emissions are the show stoppers, they are the ones which get the media attention, the silent polluters are the diesel generators,” says Arpit Dhupar, one of the three engineers who co-founded the start up.

The idea that this polluting smoke needs attention struck Dhupar three years ago as he sipped a glass of sugarcane juice at a roadside vendor and saw a wall blackened with the fumes of a diesel generator he was using.

It jolted him into joining with two others who co-founded the start-up to find a solution. Dhupar had experienced first hand the deadly impact of this pollution as he developed respiratory problems growing up in Delhi.

An Indian girls holds a banner during a protest against air pollution in New Delhi, India, Nov. 6, 2016.
An Indian girls holds a banner during a protest against air pollution in New Delhi, India, Nov. 6, 2016.

A new business

As the city’s dirty air becomes a serious health hazard for many citizens, it has turned into both a calling and a business opportunity for entrepreneurs looking at ways to improve air quality.

According to estimates, vehicles contribute 22 percent of the deadly PM 2.5 emissions in Delhi, while the share of diesel generators is about 15 percent. These emissions settle deep into the lungs, causing a host of respiratory problems.

After over two years of research and development, Chakr has begun selling devices to tap the diesel exhaust. They have been installed in 50 places, include public sector and private companies.

The technology involves cooling the exhaust in a “heat exchanger” where the tiny soot particles come together. These are then funneled into another chamber that captures 70 to 90 percent of the particulate matter. The carbon is isolated and converted into ink.

Among their first clients was one of the city’s top law firms, Jyoti Sagar Associates, which is housed in a building in Delhi’s business hub Gurgaon.

Making a contribution to minimizing the carbon footprint is a subject that is close to Sagar’s heart – his 32-year-old daughter has long suffered from the harmful effects of Delhi’s toxic air.

Motorists drive surrounded by smog, in New Delhi, India, Nov. 8, 2017.
Motorists drive surrounded by smog, in New Delhi, India, Nov. 8, 2017.

“This appealed to us straightaway, the technology is very impactful but is beautifully simple,” says Sagar. Since it could be retrofitted, it did not disrupt the day-to-day activities at the buzzing office. “Let’s be responsible. Let’s at least not leave behind a larger footprint of carbon. And if we can afford to control it, why not, it’s good for all,” he says.

At Chakr Innovation, cups, diaries and paper bags printed with the ink made from the exhaust serve as constant reminders of the amount of carbon emissions that would have escaped into the atmosphere.

There has been a lot of focus on improving Delhi’s air by reducing vehicular pollution and making more stringent norms for manufacturers, but the same has not happened for diesel generators. Although there are efforts to penalize businesses that dirty the atmosphere, this often prompts them to find ways to get around the norms.

Also Read: Exposure to Traffic-Related Pollution Poses Threat of Asthma in Kids

Tushar Mathur who joined the start up after working for ten years in the corporate sector feels converting smoke into ink is a viable solution. “Here is a technology which is completely sustainable, a win-win between businesses and environment,” says Mathur. (VOA)