Call to stop fuel loading

: Former MLA of Radhapuram M. Appavu has urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to stop the filling-up of enriched uranium fuel in the first reactor of Kudannkulam Nuclear Power Project until credible arrangements are made to send the nuclear waste to be generated at KKNPP back to Russia and adequate financial allocations are ensured to give compensation to radiation victims in case of nuclear mishaps.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, Mr. Appavu has said Russia, which was supplying equipment and technical knowhow for the reactors under construction at Kudankulam that falls under Radhapuram Assembly segment, had agreed to take back the highly radioactive nuclear waste to be generated in the reactors to come up at KKNPP complex. Former Chairman and Managing Director of Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited, V.K. Chathurvedi, had been quoted as confirming this in the Frontline’s October 27, 2000 issue.

Moreover, NPCIL’s book on ‘Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project – A few facts’ also confirmed that the nuclear waste of KKNPP would be sent back to Russia, which would be supplying enriched uranium fuel as long as the reactors were generating power.

Against this backdrop, the KKNPP officials had started saying that the nuclear waste would be stored at Kudankulam itself after reprocessing it.

“When the Government of Bulgaria stored the nuclear waste generated by a VVER 1000 nuclear reactor underground, the radioactivity from this hazardous waste spread up to 100 km. Since this radioactivity will be a potential threat up to 2,500 years to the people living around it, the proposal to dump nuclear waste at Kudankulam should be given up as over 2 lakh people are living within 16 km from the nuclear complex,” said Mr. Appavu, who was arrested on four occasions when he organised protests at Kudankulam to highlight this demand.

The former MLA, quoting hefty financial allocation of Rs. 4.50 lakh crore made by the United States, Canada, France and Japan for giving compensation to the victims in case of any nuclear catastrophe, said Indian Government had not earmarked not even a rupee towards giving compensation to victims of “possible disaster at KKNPP”.

“Hence, the Prime Minister should immediately intervene and stop the ongoing fuel loading in the first reactor of KKNPP until arrangements are made to take the nuclear waste to Russia back and adequate financial allocation is ensured to give compensation to radiation victims and their families,” the former MLA said in his letter.

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