PMANE Statement against India’s first Away From Reactor (AFR) proposed at Koodankulam

The Next Missile Targeting Tamil Nadu: Nuclear Waste Storage Site

When the struggle against the Koodankulam nuclear power project was going on, the Kannada people opposed burying the Koodankulam wastes in Karnataka by staging a swift three-day protest and prevented the plan successfully. The Union Minister of State Mr. Narayanasamy announced then that the Koodankulam wastes would be stored at Koodankulam itself.

In every nuclear reactor at Koodankulam there is a “spent fuel pool”. It has the capacity to store up to 7 operation years’ spent fuels. Then the wastes would be transferred to a safe place which is called the “Away From Reactor.”

Depending on the accumulation of spent fuel, demand for additional storage also grows. Even if we reprocess the nuclear wastes, the demand for storage would increase. This AFR (Away From Reactor) is generally an on-site storage which could be done either by the government or by private agencies.

On July 2, 2018 the Indian Supreme Court ruled in a case filed by the ‘Friends of the Earth’, Mr. Sundararajan against the Ministry of Environment and Forests, that the AFR must be constructed by April 30, 2022.

Accordingly, the central government and the Department of Atomic Energy are currently preparing to build the AFR. A public hearing is going to be conducted on July 10, 2019 at the government school in Radhapuram. The relevant reports and information are said to be available at the District Collector’s office and at the Taluk office. The ‘Digital India’ has miserably failed to post all this information and relevant reports on the Internet and make it more accessible to the common people.

It is quite pertinent here to note that the Koodankulam nuclear power project has the length of 5.40 km and the width of 2.5 km. It is quite dangerous to pack in six to eight reactors, a reprocessing plant, desalination plants and administrative offices etc. so densely in this 13.5 square km area.

Between 1-2 reactors and 3-4 reactors, there is only a gap of 804 meters. Similarly, between 3-4 nuclear power plants and 5-6 reactors, the distance is only 344 meters. How can the AFR (Away From Reactor) be built in this already crowded campus? Even if it was built, it would pose great dangers to the local people, and to the people of Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi and Kanyakumari districts.

So the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) opposes this project quite strongly. Besides opposing this, the PMANE also objects to the expansion of the KKNPP and exposes the corruption, betrayals and dangers in the first unit of the KKNPP that was closed between November 19, 2018 and May 19, 2019 for six months and shut down again today for perennial maintenance. We will engage in a massive public information campaign and the struggle against the Koodankulam nuclear power project will continue till we achieve the final victory!

People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy
June 4, 2019

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