Germany’s Green Paradox: Siemens in Koodankulam?

Max Moritz | Netzwerk IT

Finally, the director of NPP Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu has officially confirmed that Germany’s Siemens Corporation is involved in the construction of this nuclear power plant.

Not only Russian components are used for the construction of the two VVER nuclear reactors but also components of western manufacturers like Siemens Germany. According to India’s daily “The Hindu” this statement was given by R.S. Sudar, Site Director of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant. Mr. Sudar rejects charges by anti-nuclear activists that the Russian components are of inferior quality. Information about Siemens’ involvement is only given on the side.

siemensAfter it became known that Sergei Shutov, procurement director at Zio Podolsk company, was arrested for corruption charges, Russian components are seen as a security risk, not only at the Kudankulam site. Shutov is said to have declared parts of inferior quality as material matching the highest standards, pocketing the price difference. Material manufactured by Russian Zio Podolsk Company forms an integral part of various nuclear reactors of the Rosatom type, including those in Kudankulam. “Times of India” recently reported, that evenA. Gopalakrishnan, former director of Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) is now demanding a full inspection of all components before the nuclear power project is put into operation.

Which of the components come from Siemens was not mentioned by Kudankulam’s director. On the internet information can be found that Siemens contributed the access control system, the closed-circuit television (CCTV), parts of the telephone system, and other components not directly relevant for the security of the reactor. There are clear indications that the control software for turbines and reactors also comes from Siemens Corporation. Modern reactors of Rosatom’s VVER type are using control and instrumentation systems by Siemens (IndiaTogether), now by Areva/Siemens (German Focus).

Digital control technology produced by Siemens already lead to a blockade of steering rods that are crucial for an instant emergency close-down at the German NPP of Neckarwestheim, back in 2000. At this time, the Stuxnet virus, which is feeling at home within Siemens software, didn’t exist yet.

Already three years ago a connection between Stuxnet and Kudankulam came up. At Kudankulam NPP the same turbines of type К-1000-60/3000, made by Power Machines, are used as they are in Iran’s reactor at Busher, the alleged target of the virus. Siemens owns 26% of Power Machines. Software made by Siemens is used to steer these turbines, Stuxnet expert Langner presumes.

Siemens Corporation is cultivating a “green image” and has reason not to make a fuss out of its involvement in Kudankulam NPP. In case of a catastrophe, India’s Nuclear Liability Law of 2010 calls suppliers to account as well. Russia’s Rosatom managed to get a liability exemption for its first two power blocks, yet is it also valid for Siemens?

According to schedule given by India’s government, Kudankulam NPP is to be put into operation by the end of April 2013. However, the commencement of operations has already been delayed several times, as tests had to be repeated due to malfunctioning components. Another reason for delay was local inhabitants enforcing a temporary stop of construction.




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