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Koodankulam N-plant: "Discredited" Russian technology, "shoddy, substandard" equipment behind snag

NMANE-sponsored boat rally against  N-plant
By Our Representative
The People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE), a voluntary organization campaigning against the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) in Tamil Nadu, has blamed the “discredited Russian companies such as the Zio-Podolsk, InformTech and Ishorsky Zavody” for supplying “shoddy and substandard equipment and parts in a non-sequential manner”, which, it suggested, was the main reason behind a recent snag leading to tripping of one of the generators on January 14.
Worse, the NGO said, KKNPP “was not planned and built like a world-class nuclear power plant but as a municipal crematorium with so much adhocism and so many unqualified and corrupt contractors and subcontractors. To make matters even worse, the Indian nuclear authorities fiddled with the reactor and other safety components allegedly for providing additional safety.”
While allegations of financial irregularities in all these purchases and procurements running high, PMANE said, KKNPP took “almost 18 months to begin commercial power generation from the First Approach to Criticality (FAC), but it took “hardly 18 days to develop a major snag and come to a complete shutdown”. Citing reports, it said, “The reactor and the turbine at KKNPP Unit 1 stopped themselves due to technical problems in the switch yard.”
Giving details, the PMANE said, “The Southern Regional Load Despatch Centre (SRLDC) first mentioned “TRIPPED WHILE CHARGING GT#2 OF KKNP” as the reason for outage in its website that had happened on January 14, 2015 at 19:20:00 pm. While the Koodankulam authorities maintained that ‘nothing happened to the turbine or to the core’, the SRLDC announced the next day that “REACTOR & TURBINE GENERATOR TRIPPED’.”
PMANE said, “A shadow boxing between the Russians and the Indians has been going on all along. Even as the technical tussle went on behind the screen from the very beginning of the Koodankulam project, the bilateral political and diplomatic hand-wrenching was taking place for more reactor sales.”
“The erstwhile Manmohan Singh government, some Congress party leaders and some officials of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) and the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) together were hiding many perilous skeletons in the corrupt atomic energy closets”, it alleged, adding, it is highly doubtful if the Modi government, which had promised a probe, will ever go ahead.
“Being a status-quoist government run by a crony capitalist party that is propped up by a bomb-loving parivar, the Modi sarkar would never order an inquiry into the Koodankulam project”, PMANE said, adding, “They are desperately trying to hide all the commissions and the omissions of the establishmentarians and to protect the corrupt and inefficient folks in the broader interests of national security, financial security, energy security, military security and the like.”
In its press statement, the NGO said, “The allegedly best and the most perfect reactor in the whole wide world, certified repeatedly by Dr Abdul Kalam, Alexander Kadakin, Vladimir Putin and a whole array of others is heading in a dangerous direction.” It wonders whether it is “pertinent to consider the colossal time overrun of some six years in making the first reactor go critical and in commissioning it. The Koodankulam authorities have been on a diesel buying spree from then on and have spent a whopping sum of some Rs 35 crore on it so far.”

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