Kudankulam Away from Reactor storage: Locals want MPs, MLAs at public hearing

DMK has agreed to send elected representatives

By Kundan Pandey
Published: Tuesday 11 June 2019
Locals invite MPs, MLAs to public hearing for India’s first AFR in Kudankulam
Photo: Wikimedia Commons Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Fearing manipulation by authorities in the public hearing for the establishment of India’s first Away from Reactor (AFR) spent fuel storage facility for Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP) on July 10, 2019, locals have invited parliamentarians and legislators.

So far, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) has agreed to send all its members of Parliament and members of Legislative Assembly for it. This is after people went to meet DMK party president MK Stalin, said anti-nuclear activist SP Udayakumar.

The hearing is scheduled to take place in Nithyalakyanasundari Vellaiyan Chettiyar Government Higher Secondary School in Radhapuram taluk of Tirunelveli.

Kumar told Down To Earth that people do not believe in public hearings. “I was present at the last public hearing held for Kudankulam nuclear power plant. Almost 99 per cent people voted against the plant, but the then governor still sent a positive report to Centre,” said the activist.

That’s why a section of local residents demand that all representatives of political parties attend the hearing and take a stand. They also want an international observer to come to ensure that their opinion is not ignored.

The Nuclear Power Corp of India Ltd (NPCIL) plans to set up an AFR within the premise of KKNPP. However, locals are against this. They say AFR is meant to be far from the power plant since it is dangerous.

In its order in 2013, the Supreme Court had asked the Union government to set up an AFR and find a place for deep geological repository for the waste. As per the order, it was to be set up at the earliest, but the government is so far unable to find the place.

Earlier, it had planned to bury the nuclear waste to Kolar Gold Fields (KGF) in Karnataka. However, after the intense protest, the government both at the Centre and state denied didn’t and since then the issue is pending.

People are scared and think that there are chances the government will not only burry nuclear waste of Kudankulam but also other nuclear power plants, said Udayakumar. So, the government should first announce the DGR and then only the issue of AFR can be taken forward, he added.

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