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Withdraw consent for Kudankulam AFR, DMK MP writes to PM

MP T.R. Baalu pointed out that the locating of the Away From Reactor at the Kudankulam site, was in violation of the Supreme Court’s directions, and posed a hazard

DMK MP T.R. Baalu wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday, appealing to him to immediately withdraw the consent given by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board for siting of the Away From Reactor (AFR) spent fuel storage facility for the Kundankulam Nuclear Power Plant 1 to 4 at the Kudankulam site.

Pointing out that the siting of the AFR was in violation of the Supreme Court’s directions which had said that the Spent Nuclear Fuel (SNF) should not be permanently stored within the Kudankulam site, he said the Union Government was also yet to evolve a plan for setting up a Deep Geological Repository (DGR) as per the SC’s directions even after many years.

“In the absence of a DGR, there is every possibility of the AFR facility being converted into a permanent nuclear fuel storage facility at Kudankulam. As the construction of NPPs 5&6 are also on the anvil, it may require another AFR facility. Kudankulam will have ultimately six nuclear power plants and three AFRs which will raise high risk apart from constant fear among the people of nuclear radiation hazard,” Mr. Baalu said.

He further said that originally it was agreed that the SNF would be transported back to Russia but now it was understood that Russia will not take back the SNF as it had faced a multitude of problems in handling the Spent Nuclear Fuel in its own territory. “Incidentally, Mayak — a SNF processing facility in Russia faced the world’s 3rd largest accident after Fukushima and Chernobyl,” he said Mr. Baalu said many studies in the USA and other countries had brought out the dangers of storing SNF inside the premises. He also pointed out the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd’s submission in the Supreme Court in 2018 that it had no previous experience with long-term storage requirements of high burn-up Russian type Pressurised Water Reactor fuel in India.

Mr. Baalu appealed to Mr. Modi to impress upon Russia and send the SNF of units 1 & 2, to their facilities for storage, withdraw the consent for the AFR at the Kudankulam site and set up a Deep Geological Repository in an uninhabited area expeditiously, as a national priority.

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