The State expert panel on the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) that studied the safety arrangements in nuclear reactors is expected to submit its report to the government shortly after going through the documents and recording the apprehensions of the local community living around the project site.
Though the anti-KKNPP struggle committee has termed that Sunday's talks with the State expert panel as only “a beginning”, it seems that there would not be any more talks between the two sides as the experts were likely to submit their report within a fortnight.
Speaking to reporters here on Sunday evening after wrapping up the talks with the members of anti-KKNPP Struggle Committee, led by S.P. Udayakumar, committee convener, Iniyan, convener of the State expert panel and Director, Institute for Energy Studies, Anna University, Chennai, said the State expert team, which was given the twin tasks of ascertaining the safety features of the 2 X 1,000 MWe VVER reactors and understanding the apprehensions of the local community living close to the KKNPP site, inspected the “first-of-its kind safety measures” incorporated in the nuclear reactors.
Since the entire complex including the reactor building and the diesel generator building and the control unit had been firmly located at a reasonable height from the shoreline, it would not be affected by tsunami or earthquake with the magnitude of even 6.50 on Richter scale. The Passive Heat Removal system would ensure the cooling of the reactor even during absolute blackout in the reactor.
“The reactor has seven safety arrangements and we could fully understood all these safety measures,” Dr. Iniyan said, adding that the team had received documents from KKNPP officials detailing the safety measures, its performance during the ‘hot run' etc.
On the apprehensions of the local community, he said the team had understood them after talking to the representatives of the protesters. Based on their observation, contents of the documents and the apprehensions expressed by the struggle committee members, the State expert panel, which would return to Chennai immediately, would submit its report. “With the submission of our report, our task will be completed,” Dr. Iniyan said.
Former Atomic Energy Commission chairman and committee member M.R. Srinivasan said the state-of-the-art safety features incorporated in the KKNPP reactors had made it a ‘Third Generation Plus' reactor.
Commenting on denial of permission to the KKNPP officials, including Site Director M. Kasinath Balaji, to explain the salient safety features of the reactor to the visiting State expert panel members and the protesters preventing entry of men and material into the project site, he said it was most unfortunate.
Maintenance work of the reactors should continue even when they were not in operation. While water purity in the coolant system should be kept very high, dummy fuels inside the reactor after the end of the ‘hot run' should be cooled properly and continuously due the presence of embedded electronic system in it.
“For this, minimum workforce should be deployed inside the plant… People cannot take maintenance of law and order in their hands,” Prof. Srinivasan said.
When asked whether the team would record its observations on the law and order situation prevailing around the KKNPP site, he said he could not reveal everything to be mentioned in their report.
Asked whether the Struggle Committee members, who earlier had sought his removal from the State expert panel given his ‘pro-nuclear energy' background, raised this issue during the meeting on Sunday, he said they did not cause any discomfort to him. To a question on how long the reactor could be kept idle without maintenance, Prof. Srinivasan asked: “How long would you keep the nuclear reactors idle, which has been constructed on an outlay of over Rs. 15,000 crore?”
Earlier in the day, a team of officials from KKNPP gave a PowerPoint presentation to the team members on the safety features of the KKNPP.