Abide by SC directions on Kundankular N-plant spent fuel storage: Activist

Chennai, Sep 30 : Anti-nuclear power activist G. Sundarrajan from Poovulagin Nanbargal on Thursday demanded to stop further nuclear power generation and reactor construction at Kudankulam till the Supreme Court orders on storage of spent fuel is adhered to.

He also condemned the clearance given by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) to the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) last month for siting the spent fuel storage facility or Away From Reactor (AFR) spent fuel storage facility at Kudankulam for the third and fourth 1,000 MW units under construction.

Sundarrajan had filed a case against the setting up of a nuclear power plant in Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu's Tirunelveli district by the NPCIL.

The case went to the Supreme Court, which in turn issued 15 directions while allowing the plant in 2013.

One of the directions of the apex court was the building of a deep geological repository (DGR) at the earliest so that the spent fuel could be transported and stored there.

The NPCIL had then told the Supreme Court that it would be done within a period of five years.

The apex court had directed that effective steps should be taken by the Union of India, NPCIL, AERB, Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and others to have a permanent DGR at the earliest so that the apprehensions voiced by the people of keeping the nuclear spent fuel at the site of Kudankulam nuclear power plant could be dispelled.

As the five-year time limit ended in 2018, the NPCIL had applied to the apex court stating that it did not have the full technology and got a further five-year time which would end in 2023, Sundarrajan said.

He said the government to a question raised in the Parliament had said that there is no need at present to have a DGR.

According to Sundarrajan, this creates a fear that the spent fuel will be permanently stored inside the Kudankulam nuclear power complex.

The AERB had issued the siting consent for AFR for the first two 1,000 MW nuclear power units in May 2021.

"The public hearing for the setting up of the AFR for the first and second units is yet to be held," Sundarrajan.

He said the NPCIL does not have the technology to reprocess the spent fuel of the light water reactor (LWR).

Sundarrajan said the problem will be the same in the case of the other mega LWRs that the NPCIL is planning to set up.

The NPCIL has two 1,000 MW plants (Units 1 and 2) at Kudankulam, while four more are under construction (Units 3, 4, 5 and 6).

All the six units are built with Russian technology and equipment supplied by that country's integrated nuclear power operator, Rosatom.

Rosatom has already started supplying equipment for Units 3-6.

According to NPCIL officials, Units 3 and 4 have achieved 50 per cent physical progress, while construction works on Units 5 and 6 began in June 2021.

Construction of the Units 5 and 6 are expected to be completed in 66 months and 75 months, respectively.

The Kudankulam site will be the country's largest nuclear island with 6,000 MW of atomic power capacity once the remaining four units get commissioned.



Source: IANS