Kudankulam n-plant opponents seek emergency plan details

Chennai, May 14 (IANS) Anti-nuclear activists have sought details of the emergency plan from the authorities to check their preparedness in evacuating people living within the 16-km radius of the Tamil Nadu’s 1,000 MW Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP), an activist said Tuesday.

“According to the atomic energy project norms, the 16-km radius from a nuclear power plant is defined as evacuation zone or emergency planning zone. In case of any nuclear accident, people living within that radius have to be evacuated.

“We want to know the preparedness of the three district administrations in mass evacuation as the Kudankulam plant is said to be ready for commissioning,” M. Pushparayan, a leader of the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE), which has been opposing setting up of the KNPP told IANS by phone from Tirunelveli.

Pushparayan said there were around 40-50 villages within the 16-km radius of the KNPP.

According to the PMANE activist, a Right to Information (RTI) application with 14 queries was filed with the Kanyakumari district administration Tuesday.

Similar applications will be filed with the district administrations of Tuticorin and Tirunelveli Wednesday.

The RTI applications seek information like whether the district administration officials and police were consulted about the KNPP’s off-site emergency preparedness plan (EPP), or about ways and means of dealing with possible emergency situation at the KNPP.

They also want to know whether the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL) had given the district and police officials any detailed action plan to tackle any emergency; whether any off-site emergency response coordination committee exists; and whether the authoritis have stocked iodine tablets.

While giving its nod for the KNPP recently, the Supreme Court had laid a condition that the NPCIL and the Tamil Nadu government “…based on the comprehensive emergency preparedness plan should conduct training courses for on-site and off-site personnel”.

Such personnel include state government, police, fire service officials, medicos, and other emergency services officials.

In June 2012, NPCIL and the Tirunelveli district administration conducted an emergency exercise at Nakkanery village, around seven km from KNPP, which PMANE termed as sham and deceptive.

India’s atomic power plant operator NPCIL is setting up the KNPP in Kudankulam in Tirunelveli district in Tamil Nadu, around 650 km from here, with two Russian-made VVER 1,000-MW reactors.

KNPP is an outcome of the inter-governmental agreement between India and the erstwhile Soviet Union in 1988. However, construction began in 2001.

Fearing for their safety in the wake of nuclear plant accident in Fukushima in Japan, villagers in the vicinity under the banner of PMANE have been opposing the project.

The project, however, got delayed mainly due non-sequential supplies of components from Russian vendors.

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