Poovulagin Nanbaragal, a Chennai-based environmentalist group that has been at he forefront of the Koodankulam people’s struggle against nuclear plant, has opposed the pouring of concrete for Reactor No. 3 and 4, calling it an act against the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board(AERB)’s own norms.

We are reproducing the press release in full:

Press Release | Poovulagin Nanbaragal


Poovulagin Nanbargal condemns in No Uncertain terms, the clearance granted by AERB for the “First pour of concrete” (FPC) of units 3&4 in Koodankulam, oversighting its own Guidelines.

The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) has gone ahead and given the clearance for going ahead and starting the construction activities by clearing “First Pour of Concrete” (FPC). This clearance is illegal in many terms.

The AERB has given the FPC order in the 121st meeting held on 19th June 2017. The said order granted is in violation of AERB code namely “Criteria for regulation of health and safety of nuclear power plant personnel, the public and the environment, 2001”.

Para 2.4 (b) of the Criteria reads:

The basic goal of NPP siting is to locate the reactor in a relatively low population zone. For this purpose, the population around the plant shall be controlled as follows:

The following are the criteria for granting permission for Nuclear power plants:
(i) Population density within 10km of the site shall be less than 2/3 of the average population density in the state;
(ii) There should be no population centre of greater than 10000 persons within 10 km of the plant;
(iii) There should be no population centre of more than 1 lakh persons within 30 km from the plant; and
(iv) The total population in the serilised area should be small, preferably less than 20,000″.

In the case of Kudankulam, Within a distance of 5 km from the site for KKNPP Units 3 to 6 (sterilised zone) there are three villages viz. Kudankulam, Vijayapathi, and Erukkandurai having a population of 23,060 (as per 2001 census). The criteria mandate that the population should not exceed 20000 in the sterilised zone. As per 2011 census, the population of these villages is 28,397. Since the sterilised zone is having more population than what is provided under the Criteria, the AERB ought NOT to have granted the FPC clearance to the units in question

A case was filed by Poovulagin Nanbargal against the Site clearance earlier granted, for which AERB responded they will consider the safety angle and take further course of action. Now, by giving this clearance for FPC, it has failed and violated the High court order and given the clearance illegally.

The illegality of the clearance doesn’t end here, the CRZ clearance granted to units 3 to 6 of Kudankulam is based on an EIA, done by Engineers India Ltd, an unaccredited agency to do EIA for Nuclear Power Plants and it is under Supreme Court review.

Hence, we urge AERB to meet out its own Criteria for regulation of health and safety of nuclear power plant personnel, the public and the environment, 2001, to withdraw the FPC, and the state Government not to tag this illegality.