What are German technicians doing at Koodankulam?

Statement by Stilllegen group of Frankfurt, Germany

As India’s press reported widely, yet Europe’s media ignored completely, German technicians have begun to close the pressure vessel of Kundankulam 1, a nuclear reactor in coastal Tamil Nadu. Koodankulam houses India’s biggest nuclear power plant, featuring so far two blocks of 1000 megawatts each. German participation in this project has not been openly disclosed.

The nuclear pressurized reactors of type VVER-1000/412 (or AES-92) are supplied by Russia’s Rosatom corporation and built under control of India’s state-run NPCIL.

Extensive resistance in the area has repeatedly delayed the commencement of operations of this nuclear facility.

Koodankulamn women protest

According to Indian media, German technicians were flown in at the end of October 2012 in order to finally close the pressure vessels. It is said that head of the team of mechanical engineers is a very renowned expert in this field. However, the NPIL spokesperson didn’t mention the name of the engineer nor that of the German machine-building company. As NPIL and Rosatom keep silence, there is only speculation left.

Is Protem GmbH from the city of Dettenheim in Germany’s Baden-Wurttemberg state working in Koodankulam? Protem is supplying machines that are needed for the closure of reactor pressure vessels. In its list of referential customers, Protem is naming Rosatom. Last year Protem participated at a nuclear trade fair in India.

Or is it rather Areva and Siemens participating? At Koodankulam, modern western control systems are used to guarantee security. These could be Teleperm systems, as used in similar reactors of type AES-92. There, Teleperm XS and Teleperm XP are used in combination. Now, Teleperm XP is sold by Siemens under the name of “SPPA-T2000”.  Areva NP is developing Teleperm XS in Erlangen, Bavaria state.

Several years ago, Areva NP, mainly owned by the French state, took over most of the nuclear branch of German multi-national Siemens corporation.

Initially, Teleperm XS was also developed by Siemens, then bought by French Framatome, which is now part of Areva. Teleperm is said to be a security risk for the European Pressurized Reactor (EPR), installed in Olkiluoto, Finland, Flamanville, France, or Jaitapur, India.

Already back in 2000, the system blocked the stearing rods of Neckarwestheim 1 (NPP in Baden-Wurttemberg state, Germany) that are crucial for the emergency shut-down of such nuclear reactors.

Why is German participation in this project not disclosed? Are colleagues at Protem, Areva, and Siemens ashamed of the work they do? They ought to!

Koodankulam in the southern state of Tamil Nadu was hit be a tsunami in 2004.

People who lost their homes due to the tsunami were resettled in immediate neighbourhood of the NPP. After Fukushima, people resisting the nuclear project were able to enforce a temporary halt of construction. Only extreme state-sponsored violence made it possible to continue with the building works. During demonstrations in September, two activists of the anti-nuclear movement were killed by Indian state violence.






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