The first reactor of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant is being readied by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) for loading its nuclear fuel. Conducting site and offsite emergency preparedness exercises are the legally mandatory norms that should be followed in order to get the license from the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) for loading this fuel. The district authorities are responsible for conducting the offsite emergency exercises with the guidance from the KKNPP Environment Survey Lab.
The district authorities visited Nakkaneri, a tiny hamlet 7 km away from KKNPP on 9 June 2012 morning along with AERB, DAE and NPCIL officials. They issued a press statement in the evening that the offsite emergency training comprising three stages had been completed successfully. However, there were news reports that countered this assertion. Keeping the 11 March 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident in mind, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) 1contemplated to conduct a fact finding mission that would shed light on the way the offsite emergency exercise was conducted at the village. The fact finding mission members travelled to
Nakkaneri village on two separate days (13th and 20th June).
People of the village were interviewed. Signed written and video affidavits were obtained from them. From the interviews with the local people, it is learnt that the district authorities did not inform the people or their representatives about the exercise that follows an offsite nuclear accident. They spent a few hours in the village but did not do any of the legally mandatory work. Then they left the village.
They issued a press statement saying that the offsite emergency training comprising three stages had been completed successfully. PUCL investigation revealed that the main content of the press note released by the Collector following the event was indeed false. Also, it was found that the Environment Survey Lab of KKNPP authorities have made a very big mistake by identifying an upwind site as a downwind one.
KKNPP is located in a windmill region. The capacity of the rotating blades of the windmills to disperse the radioactive plume into the local micro environment has not been studied so far by the scientists of AERB.
Based on these findings, nine recommendations have been made. They include that the Governments of India and Tamil Nadu should declare the Offsite Emergency Preparedness Exercise ‘reportedly’conducted on 9 June 2012 at Nakkaneri village as null and void. As no exercise was conducted it was a mockery on all the national and international regulatory codes. This warrants an appropriate action against all concerned.
- India – School children raise voice against nuke plant #Blackday15aug (kractivist.wordpress.com)
- PUCL says no offsite preparedness exercise was held for KKNPP (thehindu.com)
- Open letter to Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) #NPCIL #KKNPP (kractivist.wordpress.com)