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Updated: October 21, 2011 01:54 IST

Centre sets up experts group to allay fears on Kudankulam

  • P. Sunderarajan
  • B. Muralidhar Reddy
Comment (6)   ·   print   ·   T  T  
A file picture of Kudankulam Atomic Power Project. Photo: A. Shaikmohideen
The Hindu
A file picture of Kudankulam Atomic Power Project. Photo: A. Shaikmohideen

The Centre on Thursday set up a 15-member experts group for interaction with the local people in and around the Kudankulam nuclear power plant project as part of an exercise to allay their apprehensions about the project.

The panel consists of experts from a range of disciplines, including radiation safety, reactor safety, oncology, fisheries and nuclear waste management.

Three of its members are former officials of the Department of Atomic Energy — retired Director (operations) of Heavy Water Board, W. Stephen Aruldoss Kanthiah, and retired Directors of Reactor Group and Nuclear Waste Management Group at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), S.K. Mehta, and K. Balu.

Three other well-known nuclear experts — retired Director of Division of Radiation Safety at the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency M.R. Iyer, the former Chairman of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, S.K. Sharma, and Raja Ramanna Fellow at the Safety Research Institute at Kalpakkam S.M. Lee — are also part of the committee.

In addition, two cancer experts — Chairperson of the Adyar Cancer Institute V. Shantha and Associate Professor and Surgeon at Mumbai's Tata Memorial Hospital C.S. Pramesh — and two experts in the field of fisheries — Director, School of Life Sciences at VELS University, Chennai, N. Sukumaran and Professor at the Central Institute of Fisheries Education, Mumbai, A.K. Pai — figure in the panel.

The other members are: Vice-Chancellor, Nurul Islam University, Nagercoil, A.E. Muthunayagam (expert on oceanography), retired Professor of Mangalore University M.N. Madhyastha (expert on thermal ecology), Professor at the National Geophysical Research institute, Hyderabad, Harsh K. Gupta (earthquake expert) and D.V.R. Murthy of IIT, Madras, and Kannan Iyer of IIT, Bombay (experts in the field of mechanical engineering safety research).

A press release from the Department of Atomic Energy said the panel would interact with officials of the State government as also representatives of the people in the neighbourhood of the project. “The group will explain the factual position on various aspects of the project and dispel apprehensions of some sections of the local people.” The Tamil Nadu government, it said, would be requested to provide “an appropriate” platform where the panel could meet its officials and spokespersons of the neighbourhood identified by the State government and deliberate on issues raised, such as seismicity of the area, impact of a possible tsunami on the plant, and fears regarding the impact on fisheries, and radiation in the environment.

The plant, which is in an advanced stage of completion, ran into trouble following protests from people in the area over concerns regarding its environmental impact and fears of radiation leakages, in the wake of the Fukushima incident in Japan earlier this year.

The stalemate over the plant continues despite hectic efforts by the Centre to convince the people in and around Kudankulam on the safety of the project.

Blaming the Centre's “inaction” for the stalemate, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, J. Jayalalithaa had recently stated that her government was firm on suspension of work on the project till all the concerns of the people were addressed fully.

The plant, with two 1,000 MW reactors, is being built with Russian collaboration.

Protesters reject panel

Tirunelveli Staff Reporter reports:

The People's Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) has rejected the experts' committee formed by the Centre.

According to M. Pushparayan, member, anti-Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project protest committee, construction activities at the project site were yet to be stalled as per the resolution adopted by the Tamil Nadu Cabinet. Hence, the struggle committee would decide on meeting the Centre's committee only after the government's move in this regard. “Moreover, the Central committee does not have representatives from the State government and the struggle committee. So we'll take a final decision only after waiting for the State government's reaction.”

The protestors came to know the nuclear power plant safety only after the Fukushima disaster (2011), what about Chernobyl accident (1986) and Three Mile Island accident (1979). The state government passed a resolution in the cabinet in support of the protestors, why they are also aware after the Fukushima incident. The construction work commenced on Sep-2001 and the current chief project was also on power during that period (2001-2006), why they didn't stopped the work. After spending Rs.14,000 crore and ten years of construction, a part of protestors wants the project to be scrapped and remaining wants the work to be halted to initiate talk with central government regarding the safety of the government. The government claim of vested interest in the protest might be correct ???

from:  Gopi
Posted on: Oct 29, 2011 at 23:42 IST

I am deeply hurt by Our Chief Minister Smt Jayalalitha also joining with the Kudumdulam protestors. I believed that she had the vision of our state to overcome the state's power crisis (I hope she had to side with them due to political reason). Whatever inovation made in the 20th century had critisism, had it affected or stopped its use or development,
The protestors are mostly illiterate or motivitated by vested interest they should be motivated by a reputed scientist from Tamil Nadu itself.

from:  pradeep
Posted on: Oct 21, 2011 at 20:07 IST

When India accepted Nuclear power to meet its needs,there shall be no look back. Only thing needed is safety procedures being upgraded time to time. If every locality people oppose Nuclear power plants but are ready to reap the benefits of power supplied from the same ,it shows the levels of selfishness and shortsightedness in people. If you start being afraid of ill effects and security issues of modern technology and facilities people may have to go back to stone age. The leaders of people shall try to understand the safety issues and shall not take advantage of people fears which are grossly exaggerated by some vested interests.The fact that struggle committee being dominated by some religious forces,who initiated the agitation and incited fears in people is widely discussed allover Tamilnadu.

from:  Sathi
Posted on: Oct 21, 2011 at 14:39 IST

The ground reality needs to be assessed to find out the truth and to take appropriate action.

from:  vijay
Posted on: Oct 21, 2011 at 07:51 IST

Will the expert committee answer the following questions:
1. If any disaster takes place in Koodamkulam Nuclear Plant, who will be liable and responsible? Since you have taken the responsiblity to ally the fears of the people, are you going to be responsible and liable?2. If you are not responsible and liable what good is going to come from the Expert Committee? You are only supporting the Prime Minister?3. What answer are you going to give how can we trust GOI who is incapable of handling the problems of the victims of BHOPAL GAS TRAGEDY? The expert committee come and go and what answer do you give and what responsibility do you take?4. If you answer the above questions only, it is worth to enter into having any discussion with you, otherwise it will be waste of time?5. Where will you dump the waste from the plant with radiation content?6. Where will you dump the hot water with radiation content coming out.7. Who will repair the roads,destroyed by taking the water to the KNP ?

from:  Thomaas Kocherry
Posted on: Oct 21, 2011 at 07:21 IST

ECRR 2010 recommends the radiation dose both internal as well as external over a year should not exceed a tenth of a millisievert per year. But radiation dose internally is meaningless. It is better we are satisfied with what nature offers in the form of nuclear energy- the sun. This continuance with the cumulative destructive synergistic effects of modern civilization is leading life to extinction. It is better for survival that we choose to live in health here in now in decentralized ways so we can return all we took from nature in ways acceptable to her. Via the sun our living energy capacity is 100000 megawatts of electricity. Abandon nuclear power which forever is in a state of meltdown. Substitute plans for nukes with living energy whereever possible like cloth production and with vapor absorption cooling requiring almost no electricity. Adopt a normal civilization.

from:  Ramaswami Kumar
Posted on: Oct 21, 2011 at 04:39 IST
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