“Russian components used in nuclear reactors of the upcoming park are not of inferior quality’’

Site Director, Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project R.S. Sundar has denied a charge by anti-nuclear activists that the Russian components used in the nuclear reactors of the upcoming nuclear park were of inferior quality.

“Since we have ensured the quality of every component at various stages from fabrication at Russia to installation at KKNPP site, we are 101 per cent sure that the quality of the components used here at the KKNPP is the best in the industry,” he said. Speaking to The Hindu on Wednesday, Mr. Sundar said the representatives of Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL), proponent of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project, and GAN, Russia’s chief nuclear regulator, who were present in the factories fabricating the components for KKNPP, had checked the quality of the raw material used for making all parts manufactured for the KKNPP and the finished products using non-destructive techniques. Moreover, a range of hydro tests were also conducted to confirm the highest quality standards.

After quality tests were conducted, manufacturing details and list of quality tests conducted on the component etc., had been tagged in the form of documents and dispatched to KKNPP where the ‘quality assurance documents’, known as ‘passports’, were being preserved in a separate building. On arrival at the KKNPP, all components were being jointly inspected by the NPCIL engineers and the Russians. After getting consent of the inspectors at KKNPP site, the components would be off-loaded and the inspectors would sign in the ‘passports’ as a mark of acknowledging the components’ quality.

“If any faulty component is received at the site, it will be rejected immediately and the replacement will be supplied by the Russians immediately. We’ve constructed a separate building for preserving these quality assurance documents alone. Anyone can come and verify these documents to know about the quality of components we’ve used at KKNPP,” said Mr. Sundar.

He also informed that the NPCIL had placed orders for obtaining a range of components for KKNPP from LG Electronics, South Korea, Alstom and VA Tech, France and Siemens, Germany, apart from getting components from Russia.

“Hence, all components we have installed at the KKNPP are of superior quality and are the best in the industry. We vouch for the quality of construction of the nuclear reactors and the components we’ve used in it,” the Site Director said.

On the delay in commissioning the first reactor, Mr. Sundar said the NPCIL, which was keen on incorporating state-of-the-art redundant safety measures in the Russian reactors such as the first-of-its-kind Passive Heat Removal System, was also very much enthusiastic on its smooth functioning. Hence, their performance was being reviewed repeatedly that consumed more time and caused some delay in commissioning. Refuting the allegations by the anti-nuke protestors on the release of “black fumes with unpleasant odour”, he said only steam was being released from the steam relief valves of the reactor to ensure the safety.

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