Kudankulam officials hopeful of resuming work soonNovember 3rd, 2011 - 3:40 pm ICT by IANS
Chennai, Nov 3 (IANS) Officials of the Nuclear Power Corp of India Ltd (NPCIL) employed at the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) in Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu hope to resume normal work soon, said a project official.
“With the latest developments at the centre and state level, we are confident of going back to work and make an assessment of the situation at the plant,” K. Balaji, project director, KNPP, told reporters Thursday.
The latest developments he refers to are the 15-member expert committee set up by the central government and the setting of a committee by the state government to talk with villagers who have been protesting against the project, with a view to allay their fears.
For nearly three weeks, officials of KNPP were confined to their homes on the suggestion of police following a blockade of the entry points to the plant last month.
Villagers fear for their lives and safety in case of any nuclear accident and the long-term impact it would have on the population.
India’s nuclear power plant operator NPCIL is building two 1,000 MW nuclear power reactors with Russian technology and equipment in Kudankulam, around 650 km from here. The first unit is expected to go on stream in December. The project is estimated to cost around Rs.13,160 crore.
Speaking about the reactor, Balaji said here that they were third generation plus equipment whose safety had been certified by Indian, Russian and European regulatory authorities.
“The reactors can work continuously for 11 months generating power and feeding to the southern grid,” Balaji said.
On the waste generated by the power plants once it is operational, Balaji said only small quantities of solid waste will be generated which will be stored safely inside the plant complex itself.
He said the spent fuel will be reprocessed for further use.
Ruling out any major cost increase due to the sudden stoppage of work, Balaji agreed there will be a delay in the commissioning of the first unit but was not able to quantify the period.
Queried about the safety mock drill that created fear in the minds of local people, R.S. Sundar, station director, KNPP, said it was carried out along with the district administration.
“The mock safety drill was carried out as per the directive of the National Disaster Management Authority. Such drills are carried out by all NPCIL plants every two years,” he said.
Balaji agreed that NPCIL could have communicated about the safety of the reactors at Kudankulam in a more simple language.
“We learnt a bad lesson. We are in the process of doing that. We are also planning to make small videos highlighting the safety aspects of the reactor,” Balaji said.
Apart from the reactor having several passive and active safety features, the civil construction has been done taking into account natural and manmade disasters.
“The plant is built in seismic zone II which is not prone to earthquakes. The reactor building can tolerate even earthquakes of magnitude six on the Richter scale. The reactor building has two containments and the outer dome will not be damaged even by a plane dashing against it,” Balaji said.
According to him, NPCIL has acquired 1,053 hectares for the nuclear power plant and 165 hectares for the employee township.
“We will not be acquiring any more land even for our expansion. We have all the land,” Balaji said.
According to him, the component localisation levels for the future units at Kudankulam will be higher while the first two units are imported totally from Russia.
Meanwhile, the relay fast against KNPP at Idinthakarai near Kudankulam entered its 17th day.
Around 800 members of All India Motor Union are participating in the protest, M. Pushparayan, convener of the Coastal People’s Federation, told IANS.
- Emergency safety drill held in Kudankulam - Jun 09, 2012
- Kudankulam reactor may get one year operational licence - Sep 08, 2012
- Atomic energy officials hold talks on Kudankulam n-plant - Nov 04, 2011
- Kudankulam row: Expert panels to meet Tuesday - Nov 07, 2011
- Kudankulam protesters demand white paper - Nov 12, 2011
- Removal of dummy fuel assemblies begins at Kudankulam - May 25, 2012
- Kudankulam: Aide hopeful Kalam plan will bring peace - Nov 11, 2011
- Change of guard at Kudankulam N-plant - Apr 30, 2012
- Kalam visits Kudankulam plant, says its safe - Nov 06, 2011
- Answers being prepared about Kudankulam n-plant - Nov 10, 2011
- Kudankulam project gets Madras High Court's green signal (Lead) - Aug 31, 2012
- Kudankulam row: Atomic panel head to meet state officials - Nov 03, 2011
- Kudankulam: Central panel deliberates in detail - Nov 16, 2011
- Kudankulam: Experts panels may meet Friday - Nov 15, 2011
- Major pre-fuel loading exercise over at Kudankulam - Sep 12, 2012
Tags: balaji, central government, expert committee, generating power, india ltd, npcil, nuclear accident, nuclear power plant, nuclear power project, nuclear power reactors, power plant operator, power plants, project director, regulatory authorities, russian technology, small quantities, southern grid, stoppage, term impact, tirunelveli