October 7, 2011
New Delhi

“Please refer to your letter dated 19 September, 2011 regarding the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant.

I received your letter on the eve of my departure for New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly session. In my phone conversation with you on 19 September, 2011, I had assured you that nothing would be done that would threaten the safety of the people of Tamil Nadu. I had also requested Shri V. Narayanasamy, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office to visit the site. He has since visited the site, met the local population and also met you. He has briefed me about his visit.

In your letter, you had proposed to send an all party delegation from Tamil Nadu, led by Thiru O. Panneerselvam, Minister of Finance, Government of Tamil Nadu, to meet me. I would be happy to meet them on 7th October at 1200 hrs.

I would like to assure you that the Government of India attaches the highest importance to ensuring that the use of nuclear energy in India meets the highest safety standards. We will not compromise on safety in the pursuit of our nuclear energy programme, whether it is in terms of technology, regulation, skilled manpower or emergency preparedness. Nothing will be done that would threaten the safety or livelihood of our people.

There have been understandable concerns expressed about nuclear safety after the tragic accident at Fukushima in Japan in March this year. The Central Government is fully alive to these concerns and has sought, through its concerned Departments, to actively reach out to local populations at different nuclear power sites and to other sections of society to ally such fears.

The safety track record of our nuclear power plants over the past 335 reactor-years of operation has been good. Nevertheless, after the Fukushima incident, the Central Government. had ordered technical reviews of all safety systems of our nuclear power plants, including the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project. The interim reports of these reviews have been made public and are available on the website of the Department of Atomic Energy. While these safety reviews have reaffirmed our ability to handle emergency situations, further recommendations have been made to augment safety. All the recommendations are being implemented.

The Central Government has also introduced the Nuclear Safety Regulatory Authority Bill 2011 in Lok Sabha, with the objective of setting up an autonomous and independent regulatory authority that will subsume the current Atomic Energy Regulatory Board. This Authority will ensure the highest standards of safety based on scientific approach, operating experience and best practices.

In respect of the specific case of the Kudankulam project, the project has gone through detailed and exhaustive safety reviews and clearances by all statutory authorities. I am enclosing a detailed note on the project for your perusal. This outlines the various clearances that have been obtained, the safety features, the impact assessment on fishing and other activities, as well as the public awareness and outreach activities carried out.

I am grateful that you have highlighted the safety features of the Kudankulam Power Plant in a Press Release issued on 16 September, 2011, after meeting officials from the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL).

Separately, NPCIL has been in close contact with the local community at Kudankulam for a decade now. A number of welfare projects have been implemented in the areas of education, roads, drinking water, health and community support. Local officials have also been kept fully involved in these efforts. Following the Fukushima accident, NPCIL has enhanced its public awareness activities to address the concerns of the local people, and to highlight the superior safety features built into the Kudankulam reactors.

For a large and fast growing economy like ours, and given the volatility and uncertainty of international energy markets, it is in our national interest that we tap all sources of energy, and diversify our energy mix. Nuclear energy is one option to enhance our energy security. The Central Government will ensure that this is pursued with full regard to the safety, livelihood and security of the people.

I count on your support in ensuring the timely implementation of the Kudankulam Project. ”

 

Source: PMO Website