Tirunelveli: The People's Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) will initiate a public information campaign against the proposed construction of 'Away From Reactor' (AFR) facility for the long-term storage of spent nuclear fuel within the premises of the Kudankulam nuclear power project (KKNPP) site in the district.
Following the state pollution control board's announcement about holding a public hearing on July 10 at Vijapathy village near the KKNPP site in Radhapuram taluk, Tirunelveli district, for the creation of the AFR facility, noted anti-nuke activist and PMANE coordinator Dr S P Udayakumar said that the creation of the long-term spent fuel storage facility within the already crowded KKNPP premises would be dangerous for the three southern districts of Kanyakumari, Tirunelveli and Thoothukudi.
The KKNPP premises, having a length of 5.40 km and a breadth of 2.5 km is already packed with reactors, as the country's first two largest reactors at KKNPP, hardly have a kilometer (804 meters) gap between the third and fourth reactors which are under construction, said Udayakumar.
The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL), too plans four more reactors within a 13.5 sq. km area. Doubts were also raised by some environmental activists that the AFR facility has been created at KKNPP just to make this region a permanent dumping ground for the spent nuclear fuel of all nuclear power plants in the country.
However, official sources from KKNPP denied this and stated that the AFR facility proposed to be created at KKNPP is to store spent fuel rods removed from the existing two units.
"Moreover, the spent fuel rods are not be so toxic as radioactivity will be subdued by keeping it in the spent fuel pool containing borates, before it is shifted to the AFR storage facility," explained a KKNPP official....