K-plant fuel loading over


The fuel-loading process in the first unit of Kudankulam nuclear power project (KKNPP) is said to have been completed and the unit is ready to attain criticality, according to a highly-placed KKNPP source.

Following the green light from the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) on September 18, the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited began the much-awaited process of loading the 163 fuel assemblies containing about 80 tonnes of low enriched uranium in the first unit of KKNPP.

The loading process, according to a KKNPP official, was closely monitored by a team of technicians and scientists from AERB along with reactor experts from Atomstroyexport — the Russian company supplying two nuclear reactors of 1,000 MW each at KKNPP - on a day-to-day basis.

The first unit would go into operation after about four months. Being a critical project, the reactor has to undergo several rounds of tests and at every stage NPCIL has to get AERB approval.

KKNPP site director R.S. Sundar told DC that he could not reveal anything as it may create unnecessary problems. However, he added that the KKNPP employees were working hard with full enthusiasm and hoped that the plant would go on stream at least by 2014.

People’s protests against the power plant continued and, according to anti-KKNPP movement leader Pushparayan, they would protest until the project is closed down. Support from the Left parties and DMK to the protestors is viewed as an extension of the support base of the anti-KKNPP movement.

Further, the launch of the yet-to-be-named party by Arvind Kejriwal has given a ray of hope to the anti-nuke power protesters at Idinthakarai as they feel that the new party would extend its unconditional support to their movement.

Congress holds demos against k-protesters

Congress party, finally, took on the anti-nuke activists opposing the Kudankulam nuclear power project.

The party held demonstrations in several places across the state demanding that the project be expedited and that the leader of the anti-nuke group Udayakumar be arrested under the National Security Act.

Senior TNCC leader E.V.K.S. Elangovan who led the protest demonstration in Tiruchy referred to the prevailing power scenario in the state and said the state was facing up to 3,500MW power shortage and the two 1,000MW reactors at KKNPP would solve the problem for the state to an extent.

Pointing out that thousands of industrial workers were facing the threat of going jobless, Mr Elangovam slammed the anti-nuke protesters for opposing the project at the commissioning stage. Congressmen who staged protest demonstrations across the state said the Idinthakarai protesters were acting against national interest.

They also demanded the immediate arrest of the leaders of the protest under NSA. Mr Elangovan would lead a similar protest in the city on Thursday.

Wednesday’s statewide agitation was the first major one by the state Congress unit as the party had been by far restricting itself to senior leaders issuing statements in support of KKNPP.

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