Anti-nuke plant activists welcome DAE secy’s acknowledgement of tech snag

Anti-nuclear plant activists have welcomed Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) secretary KN Vyas’s acknowledgement that frequent tripping of reactors in the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant as unusual and they have sought the setting up of an independent commission to study the issues of Unit I and II while scrapping the expansion plans.
Anti-nuke plant activists welcome DAE secy’s acknowledgement of tech snag
The Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (file photo)


“Yes, I do agree. We are trying to address it. There were some initial problems. In Tarapur (Atomic Power Station) too, we faced problems in the first three or four years of operation,” Vyas told a Tamil news channel. “I feel that NPCIL is putting in a tremendous amount of effort and they will be able to overcome the difficulties.”

Vyas’s remarks came at a time when the 1,000 MW Unit I of KKNPP remains under forced outage since November 11 last year, while the second unit, which is facing vibration issues, is generating about 700 MW against its full capacity.

The two 1,000 MW units of Kudankulam plant have been facing frequent long outages since 2017, leaving the power managers of the Tangedco clueless how to meet the power demand. The Unit I remained shut down for 209 days in 2017 and 158 days in 2018 while Unit II was off the bar for 209 days and 229 days respectively. The units were under the outages for both maintenance as well as forced.

G Sundarrajan of Poovulagin Nanbargal, who had moved the Supreme Court against the power plant, said that finally the voices of the struggling people stood vindicated. “DAE’s chairperson and secretary Vyas agree that the number of ‘trips’ in the Kudankulam plants were very unusual and that NPCIL engineers were trying to rectify them. We urge the government to set up an independent commission that will probe the issues of the units I and II, and drop the expansion plan,” he wrote.

As on date, Unit I of the KKNPP was taken off the grid due to high temperature in the turbine bearing on November 19, three days after it resumed generation following annual maintenance of 108 days. An official of Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd said that the unit is expected to resume generation from April 24.

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