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Kudankulam n-reactor to restart generation in December

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Chennai: India’s atomic power company Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) is likely to restart its first 1,000 MW unit at Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) only in December this year, said a source.

The source, not wanting to be named, told IANS: “The first unit is expected to restart generation only in December. The second unit may take longer time to start power generation.”

The NPCIL is building two 1,000 MW atomic power plants with Russian equipment at an outlay of over Rs.17,000 crore.

The first unit was connected to the southern grid in December 2014. The unit was operating at 60 percent capacity for some time before it was shut down for annual maintenance.

At the time of its shut down in June, NPCIL said the unit will restart after 60 days post annual maintenance and refuelling.

According to Power System Operation Corporation Ltd (PSOC), the KNPP first unit is expected to restart power generation on October 30. But this deadline is expected to be breached again.

Atomic Energy Commission chairman Sekhar Basu recently told IANS that as per current indications, the first KNPP unit is expected to restart later this year and the second unit would go on stream sometime next year.

He also said the restart of the first unit may happen this December.

Basu said lot of checks have to be carried out as the first KNPP unit was shut down for the first time since it started generating power.

Despite the unit being first of its kind in the country and that it has been shut down regularly, the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) this year issued a five year operating licence for the plant.

Normally AERB issues operating licence for a year if the plant is first of its kind in the country and based on the test reports the licence would be renewed, an NPCIL official told IANS earlier.

Despite several attempts by IANS, KNPP’s site director R.S. Sundar was not available for clarifications.

(IANS)

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Cepheid to Establish Manufacturing Unit for TB Diagnostics in India

Rifampicin is a drug commonly used in treating TB bacteria in first line of treatment

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The GeneXpert Edge is developed specifically for near-patient testing, to help support a one visit test-and-treat approach.
The GeneXpert Edge is developed specifically for near-patient testing, to help support a one visit test-and-treat approach. (IANS)

Expanding its footprint in India, US-based molecular diagnostics company Cepheid Inc on Thursday announced its plans to establish a manufacturing unit in the country to improve Tuberculosis (TB) diagnostics.

Cepheid’s GeneXpert MTB/RIF test is a closed-cartridge-based system that is easy to operate by minimally trained staff and gives results in approximately two hours, speeding the conventional backlog that used to exist in traditional diagnostic methods.

The new manufacturing unit would produce MTB/RIF test cartridges, contribute to the government’s “Make in India” initiative and thus bringing the company’s global expertise in TB diagnostics to India, the company said in a statement.

As part of the plan, Cepheid also unveiled its latest portable, easy-to-use TB-testing system — the GeneXpert Edge — which is expected to be available in India later this year, the company said.

The GeneXpert Edge is developed specifically for near-patient testing, to help support a one visit test-and-treat approach.

“Cepheid recognises the need for technological advancement and is committed to contributing significantly to India’s goal of TB eradication,” said Peter Farrell, Executive Vice President, Worldwide Commercial Operations, Cepheid.

Cepheid's Xpert MTB/RIF test has the potential to detect Mycobacterium tuberculosis(MTB)
Cepheid’s Xpert MTB/RIF test has the potential to detect Mycobacterium tuberculosis(MTB).

“We are hopeful that GeneXpert Edge will help eliminate delays in TB diagnostics by providing definitive results within hours and facilitating fast and easy last-mile delivery even in the remote villages of India,” he added.

India has nearly one-fourth of the global TB patients and an estimated 4.8 lakh lives are lost every year due to delayed diagnosis and inadequate treatment and there are above 2.5 million new cases of TB every year. The country aims to eradicate TB by 2025.

Approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2010, more than 1,200 Cepheid’s GeneXpert Systems have been installed in the last two years at various Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP) sites in the country and more than 2.5 million cartridges were supplied last year at various centres of Central TB Division (CTD).

Also Read: Fruit Bats Identified As Source Of Nipah Virus Outbreak in Kerala

Cepheid’s Xpert MTB/RIF test has the potential to detect Mycobacterium tuberculosis(MTB) and rifampicin-resistance mutations, which are markers for MDR-TB strains in under two hours.

Rifampicin is a drug commonly used in treating TB bacteria in first line of treatment.

Xpert MTB/RIF tests also have excellent negative predictive value, which allows clinicians to manage TB-negative patients more effectively to prevent unnecessary and costly respiratory isolations. (IANS)