Kudankulam Atomic Power Project is a nuclear power station, which is under construction in Koodankulam in Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu. These days, this project is in headlines due to anti-nuclear protests by the locals and People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy, an anti-nuclear power group which is trying to close the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant site and to preserve the largely untouched coastal landscape, as well as educate locals about nuclear power. S. P. Udayakumar, a writer and social activist, is heading this protest. Udaykumar and his supporters are carrying out hunger strikes, rallies, public meetings, seminars, conferences, and other demonstrations such as shaving their heads, cooking on the street, burning the models of the nuclear plants. But why these people are dead against this nuclear project? Today we will try to find its answer.
This Atomic Power Project came into limelight in October 2011, when thousands of locals blocked highways and staging hunger strikes, preventing further construction work, and demanding its closure as they fear of the disasters like the Environmental impact of nuclear power, radioactive waste, nuclear accident similar to the radiation leak in March at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster.
The Fukushima nuclear disaster was a series of equipment failures, nuclear meltdowns, and releases of radioactive materials at the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, following the T?hoku earthquake and tsunami on 11 March 2011. It is the largest nuclear disaster since the Chernobyl disaster of 1986.
The protesters claimed that more than 1 million people live within the 30 km radius of the nuclear plant which far exceeds the AERB (Atomic Energy Regulatory Board) stipulations. It is quite impossible to evacuate this many people quickly and efficiently in case of a nuclear disaster. The nuclear plant is unsafe and the safety analysis report and the site evaluation study have not been made public.
The quality of construction and the pipe work and the overall integrity of the KKNPP structures have been called into question by the very workers and contractors who work there in Koodankulam. There have been international concerns about the design, structure and workings of the untested Russian-made VVER-1000 reactors. However, Koodankulam reactor has already been received clearance from Ministry of Environment and Forest along with many other Statutory clearances.
Many people are saying that this project may cause Fukushima type nuclear disaster in TamilNadu. The Fukushima plant was built on a beachfront, but the Kudankulam was constructed on a solid terrain and that too keeping all the safety aspects in mind. Also, it does not come under tsunami prone area. The plants in Kudankulam have a double containment system which can withstand high pressure.