Atomic energy regulator yet to file Kudankulum report in SC

The Indian atomic energy regulator has not yet filS.P. Udayakumar,ed with the Supreme Court its report on the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP, an anti-KNPP activist said Wednesday.

“In response to an application filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the AERB (Atomic Energy Regulatory Board) in its reply dated July 1 said: ‘The report would be filed by AERB in he Hon’ble Court before granting next stage of clearance for commissioning of the plant.’,” M. Pushparayan of the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) told IANS.

The RTI application was filed by PMANE’s co-ordinator S.P. Udayakumar June 4, asking the AERB of action taken so far to fulfill a Supreme Court direction while giving its clearance to the KNPP in May.

The AERB did not give any time frame for granting the next stage of clearance for the KNPP.

The apex court May 6 directed that the AERB, the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF), Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) and the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) to oversee each and every aspect of the project, including safety of the plant, impact on environment, quality of components and systems in the plant before its commissioning.

The apex court had also directed the environment ministry to oversee and monitor whether the NPCIL is complying with the conditions laid down while granting clearance dated Sep 23, 2008, under the provisions of the EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) Notification of 2006.

It was also to see that the conditions laid down in the environmental clearance granted by it Dec 31, 2009, were complied with.

“AERB and the ministry will see that all the conditions stipulated by them are duly complied with before the plant is made operational,” the apex court had held.

The MoEF had June 27 communicated to Udayakumar that the KNPP site visit is neither finalised nor submitted to any agency so far, and the decision is yet to be finalised.

A committee consisting of officials from the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB), NPCIL, Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) and the TNPCB had inspected the KNPP May 5, 2013.

Only the state pollution control board has submitted its report to the apex court July 8, after issuing to the KNPP its consent to operate June 24.

In its consent order the TNPCB has stipulated that KNPP should connect its computer systems monitoring the ambient and plant effluent temperature to its network.

The pollution board has also asked KNPP to increase its green belt cover to 25 percent of its 1,050 hectares – 262.5 hectares – from the current six percent – 63.4 hectares.

The apex court had also directed the Tamil Nadu government to withdraw all the cases filed against the agitators so that peace and normalcy is restored.

In response to a public interest litigation filed by an advocate to know the action taken by the state government in complying with the supreme court’s direction in the Madras High Court, the Tamil Nadu government Tuesday had sought one week’s time to gather details of the cases filed against the protestors.

India’s atomic power plant operator NPCIL is setting up the project in Kudankulam in Tirunelveli district, around 650 km from Chennai, with two Russian-made reactors of 1,000 MW each.

The KNPP is an outcome of the inter-governmental agreement between India and the erstwhile Soviet Union in 1988. However, construction began only in 2001.

Fearing for their safety in the wake of the nuclear accident in Fukushima in Japan in 2011, villagers in the vicinity of the Kudankulam plant, under the PMANE’s banner have been opposing the project.

City-based environmental activist G. Sundarrajan had filed a case in the apex court demanding the KNPP be scrapped. The court dismissed the case in May and laid down 15 directions for NPCIL, AERB, MoEF, Tamil Nadu government and TNPCB to follow.

The project, however, had been delayed mainly due to non-sequential supplies of components from Russian vendors.

(Source: IANS)

NPCIL declines to release nuke safety report

Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NCPIL) has objected to a Central Information Commission (CIC) order for releasing a safety report on the Kudankulam nuclear reactor, saying it is holding it in a fiduciary capacity on behalf of a Russian company, an official said.

NCPIL said it will approach the courts if the Central Information Commission (CIC) turns down its plea on the Kudankulam reactor Safety Analysis Report (SAR).

“The SAR is prepared by the Atomstroyexport and Atomenergoproekt (AEP) of Russia. It is a proprietary document which NPCIL is holding in a fiduciary capacity and cannot be shared with anybody without the consent of the Atomstroyexport and AEP,” SK Jain, chairman and managing director of NPCIL, told a news agency.

Stating that the SAR runs into over 10,000 pages in about 35 volumes, NPCIL has told the CIC that it is willing to show a copy of SAR to it so that it can come to a conclusion as to why the document is classified as proprietary document.

NPCIL charged the CIC of not following a due process of law before pronouncing its order April 30, 2012, under which NPCIL was asked to share by May 25 the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project’s (KNPP) Site Evaluation Report (SER) and the SAR with SP Udayakumar, an applicant under the Right to Information Act.

The CIC had also asked it to upload the two reports on the company’s website by May 30.

While NPCIL has shared the SER with Udayakumar – the coordinator of People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) spearheading the movement against the KNPP – it has appealed to the CIC to modify its April 30 order on the grounds that it is holding the SAR in a fiduciary capacity for the Russian equipment supplier and also that due notification procedure was not followed.

NPCIL is putting up the project at Kudankulam in Tirunelveli district around 650 km from here with Russia supplying the entire equipment, including the nuts and bolts, for the reactors and other related systems.

He said the report was prepared by a large number of Russian agencies the cost of which is borne by Atomstroyexport.

According to Jain, the results as claimed in the reports are checked by NPCIL on its computers and also during the cold and hot runs (trial run) of the reactor.

“While giving clearance to KNPP, the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) prepares various reports and some are on its website which anybody can access,” Jain said.

Jain has already written to the Atomstroyexport’s president seeking its concurrence in sharing the SAR with Udayakumar and also uploading it on its website.

According to Jain, NPCIL was not informed by the CIC about Udayakumar’s appeals against the company’s decision to turn down g his requests for the two documents.

It was only on March 27, 2012, that NPCIL received a notice from the CIC with a direction to address the CIC through video conference April 23, 2012.

NPCIL contends that CIC has not followed the normal procedure in hearing the appeals while deciding on the matter and its April 30 order needs to be reviewed and modified.

Jain agrees with PMANE’s charge that the SER is illegible, but he disagrees that it is incomplete.

“The SER was prepared several years ago. It was a typed document and we photocopied it. The full report runs into several hundreds of pages containing several proprietary data. Hence, what will be given out will be the executive summary,” Jain said.

He said the SER will be mostly uploaded on NPCIL’s website on Saturday.

“NPCIL has blanked out several pages of the SER without any reason. Logically, SER will not have any information related to reactor design. It should supply the full report,” Udayakumar told a news agency from Idinthakarai near Kudankulam.