Kudankulam safe but fuel loading permission not given: Atomic panel

September 13th, 2012 - 8:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, Sep 13 (IANS) Against the backdrop of growing protests against the Kudankulam nuclear power plant (KNPP) in Tamil Nadu, India’s atomic energy regulator Thursday termed the project safe but said it had not given the nod to load fuel pending a final evaluation report.

The KNPP is “safe and robust” as far as withstanding tsunami-like tragedies are concerned, said Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) chairman S.S. Bajaj.

Permission for fuel loading would however depend on the final evaluation report of Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL), he told media persons here.

In the light of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, an AERB committee had gone into the aspects of additional safety measures in KNPP and it had made 17 recommendations.

Bajaj said that these recommendations are being resolved within a set time-frame of six to 24 months for implementing them.

“While implementation of some of the recommendations has already begun, working groups would review it. Without full satisfaction, AERB will not give any clearance,” he said.

The AERB top brass was closeted in a high-level meeting discussing the issue and modalities of the project till late Thursday, an official said.

Earlier, in a media interaction, Bajaj also said that AERB had not given clearance to loading of enriched uranium fuel into the first 1,000 MW unit of KNPP, being built with Russian collaboration.

He said that a seven-member AERB team was at the site conducting checks before taking the final decision after NPCIL clearance.

To a question, Bajaj said AERB is “an autonomous body and does not report to anybody with regard to safety clearance”.

However, no date has been fixed for granting the green signal till the NPCIL’s final evaluation report of the project is received, he said.

Bajaj emphasized that it was the responsibility of the plant operator, NPCIL, to adhere to all the regulatory parameters before the AERB could give its green signal to load fuel.

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