Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant: Is Plant Location in Tamil Nadu Coast Unsafe ?

by OldSailor on October 21, 2011

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Kudankulam_Nuclear_Power_Plant_KKNPPKudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP or KNPP) located in Kudankulam of Tamil Nadu State is in the final stage of completion. The project cost to India in 2001 was estimated as US$ 3.5 billion. Now regular protests are going on to scrap KKNPP.

The present status of KKNPP are:

  • Unit No 1 of 1000 MWe capacity has achieved 99.2 % of physical progress as on September 2011 and is expected to commence commercial operation in December 2011 (schedule date of commercial operation December 2007).
  • Unit No 2 of 1000 MWe capacity has achieved 94.6 % of physical progress as on September 2011 and is expected to commence commercial operation in August 2012 (schedule date of commercial operation December 2008).
  • Surprisingly, anti-Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project protest has gained momentum and has gone to that extent of stopping work in the plant. The protesters have erected a roadblock in front of the plant site to prevent entry of scientists and workers into the plant. This is likely to delay the commercial operation of the plant.
  • The Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) has constituted an Expert Group of 15 specialists to interact with the government of Tamil Nadu and spokespersons of the people around KKNPP in Tamil Nadu.

Some unanswered questions:

Here are the major reasons for the protest and comments to the protests are given in italics:

  1. Fear of accident and subsequent loss of life and property: Accidents do happen in land (railways, roadways, industries etc.,), air (airways), sea (marine accidents/pollution). Whenever accidents take place, safety audits are done to stop such accidents in future. Just because of occurrence of accidents, people do not stop travelling in Train, Bus, Aircrafts, Ships etc., and industries are not discouraged to expand.
  2. Safety around the plant during operation: This is not the first nuclear plant to be set up in India or in the coast of Tamil Nadu. Madras Atomic Power Station (MAPS) is located in coastal town of Kalpakkam and has safely operated during Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami in December 2004. Due to technological development, nuclear plant designs are being improved to minimise accidents. India has adequate expertise to address this issue.
  3. Safety of the plant during earthquake and tsunami: Recent Fukushima nuclear disaster of March 2011 is being cited as an example to worry. The Fukushima plant is of 1970’s design and the magnitude of earthquake, occurrence of tsunami in Japan are not fully applicable to KKNPP. 
  4. Loss of livelihood to fishermen: This is not the first nuclear plant to be set up in coastal area, now to worry about.

Here are the various clearances given by different agencies to develop KKNPP since 1983. What these protestors were doing, when these clearances were given ?

  1. June & December 1983: Assurance on Pechipparai Water by Government of Tamil Nadu PWD.
  2. September 1987 & February 1988: Clearance by Committee on Conservation of Seashore, Government of Tamilnadu, for location of Atomic Power Station at Kudankulam.
  3. April 1989: 500 meters Shore line Clearance.
  4. May 1989: Clearance from Ministry of Environment & Forest, Govt. of India.
  5. July 1989: Clearance from Forest Department, Government of Tamil Nadu.
  6. 1988-89: Environmental Committee Clearance by Environment & Forest Department, Government of Tamil Nadu State.
  7. November 1989: AERB Clearance for Site Location.
  8. October 2001: AERB Clearance for Site Excavation.
  9. March 22, 2002: AERB Clearance for First Pour of Concreting of RAB.
  10. April 09, 2002: AERB Clearance for First Pour of Concreting of RB.
  11. June 15, 2004: AERB Clearance for Construction Beyond +17M Elevation for RB.
  12. September 09, 2004: AERB – Civil Construction of Primary Containment of KKNPP-1&2.
  13. March 10, 2005: AERB – Inspection report on grout efficiency of second mockup for Horizontal Tendon H-40.
  14. August 30, 2006: AERB Clearance for Erection of Major Equipment.
  15. September 23, 2006: AERB Permission to Start Grouting Operations for Horizontal tendons in IC Wall and Dome of IC for KKNPP-1&2.
  16. June 22, 2007: AERB Clearance for Erection of Major Equipment for KKNPP-1&2.
  17. June 30, 2011: AERB Clearance for Hot-Run of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant Unit-1.

The KKNPP location in the coast of Tamil Nadu is very much safe and the fear psychosis of local people of Kudankulam has to be removed by creating awareness about the safety aspects of KKNPP to give up these protests.

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