Kudankulam nuclear plant about ready to go online
A controversial Indian nuclear power moves closer to becoming operational.
The Kudankulam Atomic Power Project located in Koodankulam in the Tirunelveli district of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu conducted a safety exercise that is one of the mandatory steps prescribed by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) for commissioning of the plant’s first reactor.
The exercise involved simulating a radiation leak and informing a nearby village of the leak. Alert messages were also sent by the plant to the AERB, the Nuclear Power Corporation of India, the Department of Atomic Energy, among others. The plant said the drill was successfully carried out.
Construction of the plant, however, has been delayed by anti-nuclear protests conducted by the local population who fear a Fukushima-type disaster, and the People's Movement against Nuclear Energy, which has been demanding a complete review of the safety of the plant. The movement described the safety drill as a sham.
Two 1 gigawatt reactors are being constructed by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd and the Russian firm, Atomstroyexport. When completed, they will become the largest nuclear power generation complex in India producing a cumulative 2 GW of electric power.
The first reactor was originally scheduled to start operation in December 2009 and the second one in March 2010. Protests and technical problems, however, have delayed the start-up to sometime this year.