Monday, 5 March 2012

Nuclear Power Corporation of India unable to take up even peripheral jobs at Kudankulam nuclear power plant

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad: The launch of the prestigious nuclear power park at Kudankulam in 
Tamil Nadu may be delayed further with the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited 
unable to take up the crucial “peripheral jobs” to formally run the reactors.

About 3000 people are needed to run the Kudankulam power plant but with agitators 
obstructing entry of employees, the NPCIL has chalked out an emergency plan to complete 
the finishing works by using 500 people. Officials could manage just 40 employees a day 
and this will further delay the formal launch of the controversial project.

According to Dr SK Jain, chairman and managing director of Nuclear Power Corporation of 
India Limited, and Dr Sreekumar Banerjee, chairman of Atomic Energy Commission, officials 
are able to manage only two buses each with about 20 workers. “We need 3000 people to 
bring the nuclear power plant into operation. At least 500 workers are needed to complete 
peripheral jobs. We need the permission of the International Atomic Energy Agency before 
we fuel the plant. But before we approach the IAEA, we need to complete the finishing 
touches,” they pointed out.

Kudankulam is a “safeguard plant” and is subjected to checks by the IAEA. They said the 
schedule of formal inauguration of Kudankulam plant was not in their hands. “It is IAEA’s 
prerogative to give the formal clearance,” they said when asked whether the NPCIL would 
go ahead with the inauguration despite the strong opposition.

They told reporters on the sidelines of the three-day international conference on 
“Characterisation and quality control of nuclear fuels”, which began here on February 27. The 
Department of Atomic Energy has written a formal letter to the government of Tamil Nadu 
seeking its support for allowing employees into the plant. The agitators have been 
obstructing employees from entering the plant. The Tamil Nadu government has not yet 
replied to the letter, they added.

Referring to the imported technology being used in new nuclear power plants in the 
country, they said India was seeking only technical cooperation. Initially, the plants 
will use foreign and indigenous technology in 50:50 ratio, which will come down to 35:65, 
with most of the plants using 65 per cent local technology.

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