An environment ministry committee has recommended a desalination unit at Kudankulam nuclear plant in Tamil Nadu to draw water from sea.
The ministry’s expert appraisal committee on coastal regulatory zone (CRZ) has accepted the decision of Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board to set up a desalination plant at Kudankulam nuclear power plant.
Setting up of the desalination plant was not part of the original consent to operate granted by the environment ministry in 2006.
But, the Nuclear Power Corporation of India decided to set up the plant after locals expressed apprehensions of water shortage if water from Pechiparai Dam, situated at about 65Km from the plant site, was used for the plant.
The water from the desalination unit would be used for domestic drinking water and for cooling purposes, says the minutes of the committee’s meeting held in March.
When the issue came up before the Supreme Court last year, the government had said that desalinated water used as a coolant would be discharged into the sea but this would not affect marine life. The corporation also said that no danger would be caused by spent fuel after being discharged from the nuclear reactor.
"These discharged materials include uranium and plutonium, which constitute about 96% and 1% of the spent fuel respectively. The remaining 3% cannot be recycled,” the NPCIL had said.