NPCIL MD to meet TN chief secretary as resistance to AFR in Kudankulam grows louder

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Chairman and Managing Director of the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) Bhuwan Chandra Pathak will soon meet Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary V. Irai Anbu amid growing opposition to the ‘Away from Reactor’ (AFR) facility at Kudankulam nuclear power plant in the state.

The meeting, which is yet to be finalised, is to evolve a strategy to build the AFR without any hurdles in the face of opposition from several corners of the state.

Recently, the NPCIL floated tenders to construct the AFR at units 3 and 4 of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP).

Locals and political leaders have joined the environmentalists to oppose this and the NPCIL chief wants to convince the chief secretary on the important of AFR in any Nuclear power project.

The issue gained momentum after former Chief Minister and AIADMK chief coordinator O. Panneerselvam jumped into the bandwagon and called upon the Chief Minister M.K. Stalin to stall the project.

DMK floor leader in Rajya Sabha and former Union Minister T.R. Baalu has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi stating that the storage of spent nuclear fuel at the nuclear plant site will have adverse consequences for the people and environment. He had also, in the letter, informed that the Supreme Court had categorically said that spent Nuclear fuel should not be permanently stored in the Kudankulam Nuclear plant site. He also mentioned that establishing AFR was against the Supreme Court rules.

Sources in DMK told IANS that Chief Minister Stalin will be writing a letter to the Prime Minister seeking his urgent intervention in the matter.

Environmental activists have said that the NPCIL does not have a detailed long-term plan to store spent nuclear fuel except on the possibility of the construction of a Deep Geological Repository (DGR). The Supreme Court of India had, in 2013, called upon the NPCIL to immediately move ahead to take effective steps for the construction of a permanent DGR at the earliest and to make clear the apprehensions shared by the local people and political leaders.

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