Russian experts not to leave TN nuclear plant

“We understand the difficulties the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) is facing due to the protests.  We are awaiting a positive solution,” E N Dudkin, head of the Russian Specialists Group working at the KNPP site and his deputy A W Kvasha said on Monday.

In an interview to Deccan Herald at the Anu Vijay Township at Chettikulam, five kilometres from the KNPP site, the  Russian engineers associated with the project since its inception said the agitation had unexpectedly “erupted” during the final stage of the commissioning  of the first 1,000 MW unit. The indefinite fast by the People’s Movement Against KNPP led by Dalit leader Thol Thirumavalavan at the Idinthakarai coastal hamlet entered the 28th day on Monday.

“Many of the testing works were interrupted before completion. Preparations for testing the various systems have to be done again,” Kvasha said.

The NPCIL has to remobilise all the contract workers required for the plant’s start-up. Though the first unit attaining criticality has now been delayed by a month, “if from tomorrow we come to work, we can start the first unit by February 2012,” the  experts said.

As on date, 93 Russian personnel were at Kudankulam. They included 66 technical people and engineers from ‘Atomstroyexport’, Russian government-owned nuclear power reactors-building company, 19 from their Design Organisation Team’ and eight others representing ‘Vver-type’ reactor manufacturer. Their basic work  was to provide technical assistance and various consultations for the Indian specialists and design supervision,” said Dudkin. They have given the general design and reactor vessels to NPCIL.

No plan to reduce

There are no plans to cut down the number of personnel. Some specialists had left for Moscow not out of fear or frustration, as reported by a section of the media, but as their programme schedule was over, he added. KNPP site director Kashinath Balaji said there was a geographical mix-up when about 40 to 50 specialists from the Republic of Croatia, specially brought to KNPP for inspection of systems prior to start-up, left Kudankulam as the agitation got intensified.

“The core members of the Russian specialists group, including engineers, manufacturer’s representatives and designers are all here,” he said.

Scotching the protesters’ allegations that the Russian ‘Vver-type’ reactors were unsafe and being dumped on India, they said “at the moment, this third generation reactor is the safest in the world.” 

Asserting that the fears about the safety of Kudankulam reactors “stem from baseless rumours,” Kvasha said six similar reactors of 1,000 MW each are functioning in the Ukranian town of Energodar.

  Balaji said the KNPP reactors came under full scope safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency and there was no question of “weapons grade plutonium” being part of the waste.

SC questions NGOs’ nuke concern

The Supreme Court on Monday asked a group of civil society members and NGOs to prove that their concerns on nuclear safety were not addressed before it could hear their plea on setting up an independent regulatory body for them, reports DHNS from New Delhi.
A Bench headed by Chief Justice S H Kapadia questioned the petitioners if they had approached the authorities and if so then show that their grievances were not addressed.
The court also expressed its inability to pass norms for all nuclear reactors.

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