In another key development during the day, R S Sundar took over as site director of KKNPP from M Kasinath Balaji who would take charge as the executive director (operations) - light water reactor, NPCIL headquarters, Mumbai.

"The commissioning activities are in progress on 24-hour basis and an important milestone of unsealing of the reactor pressure vessel was achieved. The equipment known as multiple stud tensioner was lowered on top of the sealed reactor vessel to loosen all the studs which are used for sealing the reactor pressure vessel. This will facilitate the removal of dummy fuel assemblies from the reactor pressure vessel," said Sundar, in a statement. Subsequently, inspection of the reactor pressure vessel will be taken up, he added.

The removal of dummy fuel and loading of enriched uranium is seen as the last step towards attaining criticality. A total of 163 dummy fuel assemblies were loaded into the reactor in April 2010 for thermo-hydraulic tests of the reactor systems to assess the design performance of the systems. The data obtained during these tests were submitted to the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board for evaluation. The KKNPP officials obtained the nod from AERB on May 10. The preliminary works for unsealing of the reactor vessel commenced immediately after that.

KKNPP officials will inspect the RPV once again and inform AERB about the reactors preparedness to load enriched uranium fuel rods. After AERB gives clearance, the fuel rods may be loaded. KKNPP officials said that power production would commence in 25 days after fuel roads are loaded.