The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board is carrying out a thorough review of the first unit of the much-delayed Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant as directed by the Supreme Court last month.

“We are reviewing the safety aspects of Unit 1 at Kudankulam as directed by the Supreme Court,” an AERB official said.

On May 6, the Supreme Court had cleared the hurdles in commissioning of the first 1,000-MW nuclear power plant of the Indo-Russian project, saying that the safety and security requirements have been taken care of.

At the same time, it spelt out 15 directions on ensuring safety at the nuclear facility as well as handling of spent fuel among others.

The apex court had ruled that the plant should not be made operational unless the AERB, Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) and the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) accord final clearance for commissioning of the unit “ensuring the quality of various components and systems because their reliability is of vital importance’’.

Officials said that most of the safety features of the plant were found to be satisfactory during the ongoing review process and the regulator was leaving no stone unturned to ensure that the apex court directions were fully met with.

They said that the AERB would grant clearance for first approach to criticality only after ensuring that NPCIL has adhered to all the safety measures incorporated in the plant.

The apex court directions include compliance of all the conditions set by AERB and the Ministry of Environment and Forests by NPCIL.

It also asked NPCIL and AERB to maintain constant vigil and carry out inspection of the plant at least once in three months and rectify forthwith the defects, if any.

(This article was published on June 16, 2013)
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