Home India News IAEA team completes inspection of Kudankulam plant

IAEA team completes inspection of Kudankulam plant


Chennai : A two-member International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team completed the annual inspection of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) Tuesday, said a senior official of the Nuclear Power Corp of India Ltd (NPCIL).

“The IAEA team went in around 8.30 a.m. Monday and completed the job around 1 a.m. Tuesday. Normally, it takes around two days for the inspection. But as the situation is abnormal at Kudankulam, the IAEA decided to complete the job despite working very late hours,” the official told IANS over phone on the condition of anonymity.

Meanwhile, the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) began its 72-hour fast starting midnight Monday demanding the closure of the KNPP.

According to NPCIL officials, the IAEA inspection is a routine annual affair. In February last year too the team had carried out an inspection.

The KNPP is under safeguard as per the agreement between the Indian government and the IAEA. So the latter has the power to inspect the power station.

“The locals have been treating us badly and foul-mouthing us. We did not want any such incident to happen to the IAEA team,” the official said.

According to him, the IAEA officials inspected the reactor building and fuel storage facilities. They also checked the inventory nuclear materials.

“The IAEA inspectors also checked the memory cards of the surveillance cameras to check out whether there were any blackouts,” he added.

India’s nuclear power plant operator, NPCIL, is building two 1,000 MW atomic power reactors with Russian collaboration at Kudankulam in Tirunelveli district, around 650 km from Chennai.

However villagers in Kudankulam, Idinthakarai and nearby areas, fearing their safety in case of any accident, are dead set against the project.

Their agitation, led by PMANE, has put a stop to the project work, delaying the commissioning of the first unit was slated for December 2011.

As the Tamil Nadu government urged the central government to halt work at the power plant and allay fears of the people, the central and state governments set up two panels.

After meeting thrice last year, the final meeting between the two panels slated for Jan 31 did not take place. The central panel submitted its report, declaring that its job is over.

Subsequently the Tamil Nadu government set up a four-member expert committee to look into the project’s safety aspects and the fears of the local people.

The panel, including Atomic Energy Commission’s former chairman M.R. Srinivasan, visited KNPP and met PMANE representatives.

Their clean chit to the plant upset the PMANE.

“The panel seems to be biased. If they want to say the Kudankulam project is safe, then they should have said that in their report to the state government. They should not have certified about the plant at the press meet,” M. Pushparayan, convener of Coastal People’s Federation and a leader of PMANE, told IANS.

He said the state panel did not meet the villagers or members of PMANE’s expert panel.