Koodankulam: Scientists express safety concerns

May 15, 2013 | Pratirodh Bureau

About sixty scientists from several institutions have written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as well as the chief ministers of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, expressing safety concern over the Kudankulam nuclear power plant.

Here is the full text:

Hon’ble Chief Minister,
Government of Tamil Nadu
Government of KeralaSecretariat, Chennai 600 009

Hon’ble Chief Minister,
Government of Kerala
Secretariat, Thiruvananthapuram 695001cc

Prime Minister’s Office
South Block, RAisina Hill
New Delhi, 110011

Secretary, Dept of Atomic Energy
South Block, Raisina Hill
Anushakti Bhavan
Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Marg, Mumbai 1

Respected Chief Ministers:

We, the below-signed (next two pages), are scientists from various disciplines who areconcerned about the quality of components and equipment used at the KoodankulamNuclear Power Plant (KKNP) Units 1 & 2. Our concerns arise from recent media reportsabout the use of substandard components in KKNP 1 & 2, and the revelation at this latestage that four valves in a critical safety system were found defective.

These safety concerns are compounded by the fact that Russian authorities arrested Mr.Sergei Shutov, procurement director of Zio-Podolsk, on corruption charges for havingsourced cheaper sub-standard steel for manufacturing components that were used inRussian nuclear installations in Bulgaria, Iran, China and India.

This has led to severalcomplaints of sub-standard components and follow-up investigations in Bulgaria andChina. The ramifications of such corruption need to be taken very seriously as they haveimplications for the long-term safety of the nuclear plant.

As the Chief Minister of the states hosting and neighbouring the nuclear power plant, thetwo of you have a responsibility to satisfy yourself and the residents of Tamil Nadu and Kerala that the plant has been constructed to the highest safety standards. Any exercise toassure oneself of the quality of components used will have to be done before the plant is commissioned.

Once commissioned, the radioactive environment in sections of the plantwill make it impossible to access and test some potentially critical components.

Unfortunately, as we have seen in Fukushima, there is the danger that the impact of amajor hazardous event in Koodankulam may not be localized but could spread to largerregions in both Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

To reduce such a risk, in the light of recentrevelations, we believe that it is important to have a fresh independent and thoroughquality inspection of the components used in the two reactors.

We, the below-signed, include scientists who believe that nuclear energy has a legitimaterole in securing our energy future and others that believe that nuclear energy is too risky.Through this letter, we are not advocating for or against nuclear energy.

All of us are of theopinion that when dealing with complex and potentially dangerous technologiestransparency, honesty and a rigorous adherence to the highest quality standards areimperative.

We urge you to convey to the Prime Minister and the Department of AtomicEnergy that before commissioning the reactors, they should consult independent nationalexperts to formulate an inspection regime and carry out a full-fledged inspection into thesafety of KKNP 1 & 2. Such an inspection should pay particular attention to the allegationsof sub-standard equipment and components.(The affiliations listed in the next two pages are meant purely for purposes ofidentification.

It is understood that all signatories are signing in their personal capacity, andthis does not reflect on the official positions of their respective organizations.)13 May 2013
Signed By:

1Atul ChokshiProfessorMaterials Engg.IIScBangalore
2Sujay BasuProfessor/directorEnergyJadavpur Univ/Centre of Energy and Kolkata
3Vinod GaurProfessorGeophysicsCMMACSBangalore
4Subodh KumarProfessorMaterials Engg.IIScBangalore
5Debasis SenguptaProfessorOceanographyIIScBangalore
6Bikramjit BasuAssoc. ProfessorMaterials Science & EnggIIScBangalore
7Venu Madhav GovinduAsst. ProfessorElectrical enggIIScBangalore
8Siddhartha P. SarmaAssoc. ProfessorMolecular biophysicsIIScBangalore
9Vidyanand NanjundiahProfessorEcological sciencesIIScBangalore
10Sanjit ChaterjeeAsst. ProfessorComputer sci. & automationIIScBangalore
11K.S. GandhiProfessorChemical enggIIScBangalore
12 A.G. MenonProfessorEarth sciencesIIScBangalore
13Bhanu Pratap DasSenior ProfessorAstrophysicsIIABangalore
14Vandana ShivaFounderEnvironmentalsit/PhysicistNavadanyaNew Delhi
15Sushma V. MallikAssoc. ProfessorAstrophysicsIIABangalore
16D.C.V. MallikProfessor (ret’d)AstrophysicsIIABangalore
17Rohini BalakrishnanAssoc. ProfessorEcological sciencesIIScBangalore
18Mahua Gharepost-docEcological sciencesCentre for Pollination StudiesKolkata
19Ravi Sankar KottadaAsst. ProfessorMaterials Engg.IITMChennai
20Partho Sarothi RayAsst. ProfessorPhsyicsIISERKolkata
21Shiv SethiAssoc. ProfessorAstrophysicsRRIBangalore
22Meher EngineerProfessor/ex-directorPhysicsBose InstituteKolkata
23K.S. JagadishProfessor (ret’d)Civil enggIIScBangalore
24Supratik ChakrabortyProfessorComputer sci.IITBMumbai
25Deepak D’SouzaAssoc. ProfessorComputer sci. IIScBangalore
26MJNV PrasadAsst. ProfessorMaterials Engg.IITBMumbai
27Kartik ShankerAssoc. ProfessorEcological sciencesIIScBangalore
28Dibyendu ChakravartyScientist DMaterials Engg.ARCIHyderabad
29T.A. AbinandananProfessorMaterials Engg.IIScBangalore
30K.V.S. HariProfessorElec & comm enggIIScBangalore
31C.P. RajendranVisiting ProfessorEarth sciencesIIScBangalore
32 Arijit BishnuAssoc. Professor Computer Science  ISIKolkata
33Renee BorgesProfessor & ChairpersonEcological sciencesIIScBangalore
34Lakshmi SaripalliRRi trust positionAstrophysicistRRIBangalore
35Vijay ChandruChairman and CEOManagement/Comp sci. & automStrandBangalore
36Sumati SuryaAssoc. ProfessorPhysicsRRIBangalore
37Sachindeo VaidyaAssoc. ProfessorPhysicsIIScBangalore
38Procheta MalliknonePhysicsnoneBangalore
39Sushama YermalInstructorBiologistIIScBangalore
40Palash B. PalProfessorAstrophysicsSaha Inst.Kolkata
41M.S. BobjiAssoc. ProfessorMechanical EnggIIScBangalore
42Gopal KrishnaNASI platinum Jub. Sen. ScientistAstrophysicsTIFR (retired)/IUCAAPune
43Harish BhattProfessorAstrophysicsIIABangalore
44 Arati ChokshinoneAstrophysicsnoneBangalore
45Vinod JohnAsst. ProfessorComputer ScienceIIScBangalore
46Dileep JatkarProfessorPhysicsHCRIAllahabad
47 Anshuman MaharanaReaderPhysicsHCRIAllahabad
48Naresh DadhichProfessor (ret’d)PhysicsIUCAAPune
49Vikram VyasProfessorPhysicsShiv Nadir UnivUP
50Krsihnendu SenguptaProfessorPhysicsIACSKolkata
51Suvrat RajuReaderPhysicsICTS-TIFRBangalore
52 Abhishek DharProfessorPhysicsICTS-TIFRBangalore
53R.I. Kaveripost-docEcological sciencesIIScBangalore
54 Ashok PatiProfessorAstrophysicsIIABangalore
55Joseph SamuelProfessorPhysicsRRIBangalore
56Carol UpadhyayaProfessorSocial sciencesNIASBangalore
57Madan RaoProfessorPhysicsRRIBangalore
58Prajwal ShastriAssoc. ProfessorAstrophysicsIIABangalore
59 Anjula GurtooAssoc. ProfessorManagement/Comp sci. & automIIScBangalore
60Sudhir VombatkereMajor General (ret’d)Civil enggnoneMysore