Government concerned about damage to Kudankulam reactor systems


Chennai: The government is concerned about the damage to equipment at the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) owing to the ongoing protests against commissioning of the plant, parliament was informed Thursday.

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“There is serious concern about the damage to the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project. Recently there have been protests against the starting of Kudankulam nuclear power project by sections of the local people which have hampered normal work at the site,” Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office V. Narayanasamy said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha.

KNPP units 1 and 2 are at advanced stage of commissioning, he added.

“Serveral reactor and auxiliary systems have been made functional. These systems, which also include sophisticated computer based systems, require certain minimum maintenance to keep them in a healthy state. Efforts are underway, in consultation with the district authorities, to ensure that personnel required for carrying out the minimum maintenance activities are able to go to plant and carry out the necessary activities smoothly,” he said.

The project is being set up in technical cooperation with the Russia, Narayanasamy said in reply to another question.

“The project construction started in 2002 and has reached the commissioning stage. While there was no opposition to the project all along, during the ‘hotrun’ (trial run of the reactor systems with dummy fuel) and testing of systems, noise from steam discharge appear to have created fears amongst the local people.

“This was compounded by the emergency preparedness drill at the site and neighbouring areas to meet regulatory requirement before commissioning. These fears were heightened in view of the Fukushima incident (in Japan). The fears were fuelled further by misinformation spread by anti-nuclear activists,” he said.

On the proposed nuclear power plant in Jaitapur in Maharashtra he said the land has been acquired, environmental clearance obtained and site infrastructure works are in progress and project construction is yet to start.

He said the opposition to the Jaitapur project is “.. largely due to issue related to rehabilitation, apart from apprehensions about safety of nuclear power and effect on livelihood. Pre-project works are underway at Haripur in West Bengal.”