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Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant Goes Critical

By Countercurrents.org

14 July, 2013

Koodankulam Nuclear power plant in south Tamil Nadu attained criticality on Saturday midnight, inspite of the protest of local people and anti-nuclear activists. The plant is getting commissioned six years after the scheduled date.

The plant attained criticality at 11.05pm 13 July after the "Boron dilution process" allowed neutron concentration to go up and start nuclear fission, generating heat.

Plant Director R.S. Sundar said that power production would now be increased in stages. In the first stage, the 1,000-MWe plant would be synchronised with the southern grid with 400 MWe in another 30-45 days. Power production would subsequently be stepped up to 50 per cent, 75 per cent, 90 per cent, and finally 100 per cent.

The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) and Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) had to submit a final report on safety to the Supreme Court before the plant attained criticality.

One report was apparently sent to the SC on Friday, but the Surpreme Court has not given its opinion. Nuclear activists were also planning to put a review petition in the Supreme Court on Monday after seeing the report.

People’s Movemenmt Against Nuclear Energy who are leading the struggle against the plant released this statement on July11

People’s Movemenmt Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE)
Idinthakarai 627 104
Tirunelveli District
Mobile: 9842154073, 9865683735

July 11, 2013

The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) has granted clearance for “First Approach to Criticality (FAC)” of Unit-1 of KKNPP “as the next major stage of its commissioning.” It is pertinent to remember that the AERB gave this very same clearance on August 10, 2012 (No. AERB/ITSD/PRESS/2012/03). That Clearance was to be followed by compliance to various pre-requisites, review of the various commissioning procedures, results, inspection reports etc.

The AERB is supposed to submit a report to the Supreme Court along with the NPCIL, MoEF and TNPCB. Only TNPCB has submitted its report with many rejoinders. In a true democracy, the reports must be shared with the petitioner and with the larger public and must be debated openly and earnestly. But this AERB Clearance defies the spirit of democracy. Welcome to the Nuclear Republic of India!

We would like to point out here that Adv. Lajapathi Roy has just sent a notice on behalf of the project-affected people to the AERB and the NPCIL saying that they have “willingly and deliberately intended to commission and operate a defective and sub-standard KKNPP knowing fully well that it might cause incalculable harm, death and destruction to the lives and livelihood of our clients, their relatives, friends and neighbours.”

This second FAC Clearance may be a preemptive attempt on the part of the nuclear authorities to circumvent our legal notice and subsequent action. The people of India will hold the AERB, the NPCIL, the DAE, the MoEF, the TNPCB and the Government of Tamil Nadu and the Government of India squarely responsible for any untoward incidents that may happen at the KKNPP. They are all playing a dangerous game with the lives of millions of people without complying several important legal and safety measures such as CRZ clearance for the desalination plants, effluent outlet pipes and so on.

Since the nuclear authorities have ignored the peoples’ sentiments and interests, the NDMA’s disaster guidelines, and the Supreme Court’s Recommendations, our struggle against the KKNPP will continue unabated.

The Struggle Committee PMANE

Update from Koodankulam

We had communitu leaders' meet today. As a mark of protest, tomorrow on the 700th day of the ongoing protests, we will observe 15th July as black day. We will have a death protest at Idinthakarai at 3.00pm (a depiction of nuclear disaster and its impacts) and similar protests in different villages.








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