Kudankulam N-plant crosses major hurdle

AEC chairman dispels fears of locals over 2,000 MW nuke station
Last Updated 04 November 2011, 18:50 IST

After a 75-minute meeting with state chief secretary Debandranarh Sarangi at the Secretariat in Chennai on Friday evening, Bannerjee said that they had taken a step forward in resolving the issues worrying the local people in the Kudankulam area. He said that the ‘structure’ of the interaction between the 15-member specialist panel appointed by the Centre and the six-member panel appointed by the State with spokespersons for the local protesters was discussed and worked out.

He termed the meeting with Sarangi as “very meaningful” and said “we have worked out the modalities; after finding out the convenience of the members of the expert panels, the date and other things (for interaction with Kudankulam area people) will be announced. The State Administration will provide the logistics for it.”

He emphasised that since the problem of the locals was largely psychological, “It was not something to be rushed through.

“We have to, with patience, understand what the real issues are,” he said, adding, that the one thing he could provide assurance for was that all the issues raised so far “can be adequately addressed without any difficulty”.

Banerjee then took a more realistic stance to ensure that the State Government was on the same wavelength with the Centre, that the people’s doubts were cleared, by explaining the rationale behind nominating different specialists from different fields. The issues raised by the protesters as well as the media had to be addressed one by one.

Banerjee added that it had taken the NPCIL seven years to get the necessary clearances stage-by-stage to build the plant. Detailed ‘Environment Impact Assessment’ studies had also been done for each of the units being built. But this would have to be explained to people in a manner “that is understandable, simple and has credibility.”

He addressed the question posed by S P Udhaykumar who is coordinating the ‘Struggle committee’ against KNPP about why all activities at the plant could not be shut down.  After the ‘hot run’ had been completed, “you just can’t stop the plant though there is no nuclear material,” explained the AEC Chief. The power plant (nuclear process leading to electricity generation) has not started and so where was the question of stopping the plant work, asked Banerjee.

The ground reality is that after the ‘hot-run’, the maintenance work is critical for the health of the plant. For example, if the ‘coolant water’ was kept stagnant inside the system, “then there will be serious corrosion issues which will cause permanent damage to the system.”
Due to the monsoon, the ‘moisture levels’ have increased posing a danger to the many high voltage areas in the plant, making “humidity control” a very important step.
Therefore, it is necessary to keep the plant active.

(Published 04 November 2011, 14:30 IST)

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