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Activists want TN govt to stop NPCIL to build AFR facility in Kudankulam

Chennai, Feb 11 (BPNS)

The anti- Kudankulam activists have come out strongly against the proposed tender to be floated by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) to build an Away From Reactor (AFR) facility nuclear spent fuel storage facility at Kudankulam.

The AFR’s are proposed to be coming up at the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant’S (KKNPP) units 3 and 4.

The activists who have been fighting a prolonged battle against the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP) have said that since the facility is coming up near the nuclear power units, it was a matter of grave concern and that it could pose a threat to the local population.

The deadline to submit bids is on February 24 and the bids will be opened the same day. The two new reactors would add 2000 Mw to the existing 2000 Mw of power and NPCIL has two more units being constructed at Kudankulam.

The NPCIL is of the position that a public hearing was not necessary for setting up an AFR facility for units 3 and 4 as it has been included in the list of approved essential and safety buildings for which environment clearance has already been taken.

However Anti- Kudankulam activists said that the Tamil Nadu state government must not allow the NPCIL to built an AFR and to direct the Tamil Nadu state pollution control board to withhold the Consent to Establish (CTE) issued  by it for the under-construction units 3 and 4.

G. Sundararajan of Poovulagin Nanbargal, an organization against Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) while speaking to BPNS said ,”  the Deep Geological Repository (DGR) has not been built and without building it we would run the risk of making AFR a permanent nuclear waste site that would cause serious risk to the local population. The Supreme Court has directed the authorities concerned to build a DGR at the earliest so that the spent fuel is stored there.”.

He said that the NPCIL has been extending its deadlines given to Supreme Court with the corporation earlier stating that it would construct DGR by 2018 but again it has promised to construct within five years which would end by 2023. Sundararajan said that the NPCIL has not taken any steps to construct a DGR facility till date.

The Union Minister for Science and Technology Jitendra Singh had in a reply to T.R. Baalu of DMK in Parliament stated that there were no safety fears of storing spent fuel at the KKNPP as AFR’s are designed with a comprehensive approach to withstand extreme natural events like earthquakes and Tsunami with provisions of large operational safety margins.

It may be noted that the KKNPP is being constructed with the technical assistance of the Russian Nuclear Power corporation and has drawn the ire of activists from across the country with the agitations at times turning violent.