Centre gives TN nuclear power boost

Even as the group protesting Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) upped the ante, the department of atomic energy (DAE) announced Tuesday it would add two more reactors to Kalpakkam Nuclear Plant in an effort to bridge the energy demand-supply gap.

The 500 MW fast-breeder reactors would have additional safety systems and were part of a series of nuclear reactors gearing up across the country to produce 20,000 MWe by 2020, S.C. Chetal, director, IGCAR, Kalpakkam, said.

Several states are queuing up with requests to DAE to set up nuke plants and are offering sites.
“The rush is more from states that are not able to meet their energy needs. We have potential sites at Hisar in Haryana, in Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal,” Dr Chetal told reporters after inaugurating an awareness campaign on nuclear energy at Sathyabama University in Chennai.

“The next two reactors at Kalpakkam will have improved safety features and better economics than the prototype fast-breeder reactor, which is actually the first of the 500 MWe designed in the country by IGCAR. The lessons we have learnt in design, construction and licensing will help us minimize cost and improve safety,” he said.

The IGCAR chief said four pressurised heavy water reactors for 700 MWe units were under construction. Two reactors of 1,000 MW each were expected to come up at Koodankulam soon, he said. “We will have several 700 MW units.”

Dr Chetal’s confidence about DAE stepping up the nuke power programme possibly stems from clear indications by the Tamil Nadu government that it would soon act against the Koodankulam demonstrators.

State panel to submit report in a few days

The TN government expert committee to study KKNPP safety has started drafting its report and would present it to CM J Jayalalithaa in the next few days, convener S Iniyan said.

“We have started writing our report. We have collected relevant papers from officials of the plant and also gathered enough information during our visit there,” the director of institute of energy studies, Anna Univerisity, said.

Union minister V. Narayanasamy said now that the state-appointed panel was getting its report ready there was hope the project would commence without further delay.

“All people of Tamil Nadu want the project. This will be done soon, as the government of Tamil Nadu and the Centre are working in tandem to start the project, which is the safest in the world,” he said.

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