'NPCIL wants time till 2026 for spent fuel facility for Kudankulam N plants'

Chennai, April 25 (IANS) Indian atomic power plant major, Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) has approached the Supreme Court, seeking time till July 2026 for construction of the spent fuel facility or the Away From Reactor (AFR) for Units 1 and 2 at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu, said an anti-nuclear power activist, who is seeking withdrawal of consent for the subsequent units.
 
'NPCIL wants time till 2026 for spent fuel facility for Kudankulam N plants'

Chennai, April 25 (IANS) Indian atomic power plant major, Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) has approached the Supreme Court, seeking time till July 2026 for construction of the spent fuel facility or the Away From Reactor (AFR) for Units 1 and 2 at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu, said an anti-nuclear power activist, who is seeking withdrawal of consent for the subsequent units.

He also said that the NPCIL has sought Supreme Court's permission to store the spent fuel of functioning Units 1 and 2 in the AFR of Units 3 and 4 which is under construction, if for any reason beyond its control, it is not able to build separate AFR for the first two units.

Presently, the spent fuel of the two units is stored in the Spent Fuel Pools (SFP) located near the reactors with a capacity to store fuel equivalent to seven years of full power operation plus one core load.

G. Sundarrajan of Poovulagin Nanbargal, had waged a legal battle against the setting up of the nuclear power plants in Kudankulam, by the NPCIL.

He said, as per the Supreme Court's earlier orders, the NPCIL has to complete the construction of AFR by April 30, 2022 to store the spent fuel from Units 1 and 2.

"The public hearing for the setting up of the AFR for the first and second units is yet to be held," Sundarrajan said.

As regards the Units 3 and 4, the AFR was part of the overall power plant and got the environmental nod and hence, there is no need for public hearing.

Sundarrajan said the NPCIL has told the apex court that the spent fuel of Unit 1 can be stored in the SFP till 2026 and that of Unit 2 till 2028, the need for AFR will arise only in 2026.

The NPCIL has told the Supreme Court that by 2026, the AFRs for Units 1-4 would be ready. If there is any delay, then the power generation in the first two units will be stopped, Sundarrajan added.

Given this situation, Sundarrajan said the Tamil Nadu government should suspend the consent given by the state pollution control board to NPCIL to build the third and fourth atomic power reactors at Kudankulam in Tirunelveli district.

The NPCIL has two functioning 1,000 MW plants (Units 1 and 2) at Kudankulam, while four more are under construction (Units 3, 4, 5 and 6).

The first Unit was commissioned in 2013 and the second in 2016.

All the six units are built with Russian technology and equipment supplied by that country's integrated nuclear power operator, Rosatom.

Rosatom has already started supplying equipment for Units 3-6.

--IANS

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