60 scientists express doubt over KNPP safety

Letters sent to Kerala, TN chief ministers

As many as 60 leading scientists have voiced concern over safety of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project  (KNPP) and sought a “renewed study” of safety issues by an independent panel of experts.

In letters sent to chief ministers of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, the 60 scientists–most of them serving in state-run institutions–have expressed doubts, “particularly with reference to possible sub-standard components” used in the plant.

Copies of the letters have also been sent to the Prime Minister’s Office and Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy.“These safety concerns are compounded by the fact that Russian authorities arrested Sergei Shutov, procurement director of Zio-Podolsk, on corruption charges for having sourced sub-standard steel for manufacturing components that were used in Russian nuclear installations in Bulgaria, Iran, China and India,” they said.

The scientists said the arrest of Shutov has led to several complaints of sub-standard components and follow-up investigations in Bulgaria and China.Referring to the Fukushima accident, the scientists said: “To reduce such a risk, in the light of recent revelations, we believe that it is important to have a fresh independent and thorough quality inspection of the components used in the two reactors.”

The petitioners include scientists from Indian Institute of Science, IITs Bombay and Madras, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research and DAE-supported Harish-Chandra Research Institute among others.

The scientists said they were not advocating for or against nuclear energy but favoured being assured on matters related to safety.

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