Work begins at the much awaited Kudankulam Nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu, after it was finally approved to go ahead for its operation. Amid tight security of central paramilitary forces and police men, the work at the site has been reported to be resumed.
The Jayalalitha led TN cabinet on Monday, cleared ways for the first stage of the 2×1000 MW Nuclear power project being set up at Kudankulam. Within next six months, the first stage of the project is expected to become operational. The news comes in the backdrop of the severe power crisis faced in the state of TN. Work had stopped in the site, after protests began over the safety of the nuclear reactors, especially in the wake of the Tsunami hit Fukushima reactor disaster in Japan. Added to the protests, the political imbroglio also delayed the project’s commission.
It can be recalled that after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, several committees in India were setup by the NPCIL and Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) to re-evaluate the safety status of all nuclear power units in India. As a result of these reviews, certain additional design features have already beeen implemented in the installations of the Kudankulam reactors. Committee with eminent scientific personalities like M R Srinivasan and A E Mutthunayagan had given a clean chit for the power plant. Former President of India and eminent scientist, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam had also expressed his views that the plant was safe for operation.
Reports have also been suggesting that the Russian delegation of scientists, who are supposed to aid in the know how of the plant setup and operation, also threatened to move back to their homeland, if the issue does not gets resolved quickly.
The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) website lists that the VVER-1000 reactor at the Kudankulam site had completed 99.2% progress physically, as of Jan 2012. The other 1000 MW reactor was reported as being 94.6% completed as of Jan 2012. With this new go-ahead from the state government coming into effect, the work is expected to be completed within six months of time before the reactors become operational for producing power commercially.
Reports also indicate that the severe power crisis, the state of Tamil Nadu, has been currently reeling under, is also one of the reasons that has pushed the Jayalalitha led government to re-consider its decision on giving a green signal to the plant. It is reported that the state is facing a deficit of massive 4,000 MW of power during the peak hour. To reduce the ever increasing power demand, the government has taken steps to declare a compulsory power holiday for industrial units. Also other than the city of Chennai, all other districts have been forced to undergo load-shedding varying from six to eight hours a day. The city of Chennai is spared with two hours of load shedding everyday.