CHENNAI: The Centre, speeding up the process to commission the first unit of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant, received a jolt from one of the country’s noted nuclear scientist and former chairman of Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) A Gopalakrishnan, who raised doubts about the quality of equipment in the plant. “Sub-standard materials have come to the Kudankulam plant and they are causing problems,” he alleged.
Gopalakrishnan was speaking at the national convention on “Approach to the power question in the country,” organised by the People’s Committee for Safe Energy, and Breakthrough Science Society. “Dangerous things have been done undercover,” he said. “AERB officials are not responding to any queries. There are reports from Russia about the supply of substandard atomic energy equipment. This has to be investigated before they go ahead with the commissioning. Since faults may not be known for a few years, safety concerns of the people have to be cleared,” he said, while seeking an independent Indian investigation team to study the plant. “Chinese have now started examining the components from Russia,” he said.
The senior scientist, who endorsed indigenous development of atomic energy, complained the reactors under operation with foreign support were in a very bad state. The nuclear reactors in Tarapur built by America’s General Electric in 1965, suffered serious technical problems even when they were constructed. The spare parts could not be sourced from GE even in 1995 as they were no longer making it. “Even the GE’s assessment was that the plants were too old, dangerous and should be shut down, but the department of Atomic Energy continue running the plants till date,” said Gopalakrishnan. He questioned India’s commitment to French reactors for Jaitapur even while a single plant of that kind had not been built anywhere in the world.