Suspension of work at the Kudankulam nuclear power plant, Tamil Nadu because of agitating locals has been resulting in a loss of Rs 5 crore every day to the national exchequer, said officials of the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) on Friday.
Since last September, villagers around the plant site have been protesting against the 1,000 megawatt nuclear plant of Russian design on safety grounds after the nuclear incident at Fukushima in Japan last March. The Tamil-Nadu government had also written to the Centre to look into the matter.
One of the aspects that triggered the agitation was steam released from the power plant during a hot run with dummy fuel, which scared the villagers.
On Friday, NPCIL officials admitted that “lack of communication” was responsible for villagers agitating against the plant. “We should have told villagers that the hot run would release steam,” said SA Bharadwaj, director-technical, NPCIL.
At present, the plant with 100 staff members – as against 600 – are working in 12 hour shifts to carry out regular inspection and maintenance of the plant. “The loss to the national exchequer will be borne by the tax payers in terms of the electricity cost. However, the cost of power will be less than Rs 3 per unit,” said Bharadwaj.
Meanwhile, critical work of installing safety systems in all nuclear reactors across India has been completed. After the Fukushima nuclear incident, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had announced that a committee would review safety of nuclear plants.