From Koodankulam to China: A Letter on Tianwan Reactors

H. E. The Ambassador
Embassy of the People’s Republic of China
50-D, Shantipath
New Delhi-110021

Your Excellency:

Greetings! We, the members of the Struggle Committee of the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE), are writing to you to send our heartfelt condolences for the recent earthquake disaster and the heavy loss of life in China.

TianwanWe would also seek some pertinent information for the peaceful and nonviolent struggle that we have been waging for the past two years against the Koodankulam nuclear power project (KKNPP) near the southern tip of India. This mega nuclear power park is being built with Russian loan and technology against the will and wishes of the local people. The Indian authorities have not conducted any public hearing to seek our permission or consent for this project. They have not shared the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Report, the Site Evaluation Study, and the Safety Analysis Report with our people. After a long and hard struggle of more than 22 years, we obtained a copy of the EIA report only last year which is outdated and so full of inaccuracies and incomplete information.

Our expert team claims that there are serious hydrology, geology, oceanography and seismology issues involved in the Koodankulam nuclear project and hence we demand a complete and thorough probe into all these issues. After all, this area has been hit by the 2004 tsunami, and there have been several small to big earthquakes in the Indian Ocean rendering the Koodankulam site vulnerable. But the Indian authorities summarily reject our legitimate demand to study these concerns. Similarly, both the Indian and the Russian governments have signed a secret Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) on liability and they refuse to share a copy of that with us. Our officials are silent about the amount and management of the nuclear waste from the Koodankulam project also.

There have been persistent reports that substandard equipment and parts have been used in the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) from the controversial Russian companies, Zio-Podolsk and Informteck. It is proved that Zio-Podolsk used wrong type of steel (cheaper than the one originally required) to produce equipment for nuclear plants, such as steam generators. This company is said to have supplied several equipment and parts to the KKNPP.

Mr. R. S. Sundar, the site director of the KKNPP, has claimed that “the NPCIL [Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd.] had placed orders for obtaining a range of components for KKNPP from LG Electronics, South Korea, Alstom and VA Tech, France and Siemens, Germany, apart from getting components from Russia” (P. Sudhakar, “Kudankulam plant Director denies allegation,” The Hindu, April 4, 2013). Although he lists all these foreign companies and their host countries, Mr. Sundar carefully avoids the names of Zio-Podolsk and Informteck.

Dr. A. Gopalakrishnan, the former head of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB), has claimed: “Sub-standard materials have come to the Kudankulam plant and they are causing problems. …Chinese have now started examining the components from Russia” (“Inferior parts being used in Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant: Top scientist,” The Times of India, April 7, 2013).

We understand that Russians have built two nuclear power plants with VVER-1000 reactors at Tianwan in China. Would you answer the following questions for us please:

[1] Did the Tianwan nuclear power plants also receive shoddy and substandard equipment from Zio-Podolsk and Informteck?
[2] Did the Tianwan plants receive Reactor Pressure Vessels (RPVs) from the Russia company, Izhorskiye Zavody?
[3] Do the Russians offer China any liability for the Tianwan plants?
[4] How much was the total cost for the first two reactors in Tianwan?
[5] Do the Tianwan nuclear plants use equipment and parts from non-Russian companies and other countries?
[6] What is the capacity factor of the first two reactors? How many MW power do the Tianwan 1 & 2 plants produce now?
[7] What is the overall assessment of the quality, performance and safety of the first two reactors in Tianwan?

Looking forward to receiving the above information, we send you our best personal regards and all peaceful wishes.


S. P. Udayakumar M. Pushparayan Fr. F. Jayakumar

M. P. Jesuraj R. S. Muhilan Peter Milton

People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE)
Idinthakarai & P. O. 627 104
Tirunelveli District
Tamil Nadu, India




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