Fears expressed by some people are unfounded, says official

Fresh water for ensuring unhindered operation of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) will not be drawn from the Pechipaarai dam or the Tamirabharani, the outgoing Site Director, M. Kasinath Balaji, has said.

“Since we've installed two desalination plants to meet the drinking water requirements of Anu Vijay township (where KKNPP personnel reside) and also the KKNPP site, we will never draw water from the Pechipaarai dam in Kanyakumari district or the Tamirabharani, lifeline of southern districts, at any point of time in future. The fears expressed by some people are unfounded,” said Mr. Balaji, who has been elevated as Executive Director (Light Water Reactors), Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited.

Speaking to The Hindu here on Monday, Mr. Balaji said that the reverse osmosis desalination plant installed at Anu Vijay township in 2003 with a capacity of 24 lakh litres a day, was catering to the needs of 1,211 families. When the Chettikulam village panchayat administration came forward to provide drinking water connections, the KKNPP administration turned down the offer as the desalination plant at Anu Vijay township was fulfilling the requirement.

The ultra-mega desalination plant at the KKNPP site that was imported from Israel, yielded 76.80 lakh litres of fresh water a day which would be more than enough for the day-to-day operations of the reactors.

Though these two desalination plants, functioning on two different technologies, were not fabricated by the NPCIL, the KKNPP engineers had mastered the technologies.

Another operation

The upper portion of the Reactor Pressure Vessel (RPV) of the first reactor was opened around 7 p.m. on Monday. A Multiple Stud Tensioner was used to loosen the 54 bolts on the RPV, while keeping the electrical circuits intact, to expose the 163 dummy fuel assemblies in its core for removal before this week-end.

“Robotic inspection will also be conducted along with manual examination to check all welding joints since it is a mandatory exercise to be conducted after the ‘hot run'.

Experts from Croatia and Germany will coordinate the exercise.

Once we get the data from all these inspections, we will submit the results to Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) for getting its nod for enriched uranium fuel loading in the first reactor,” said R.S. Sundar, who will succeed Mr. Balaji as the Site Director.

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