Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant

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Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant is a nuclear power station currently under construction in Koodankulam in the Tirunelveli district of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Project investment cost to India was estimated to be US$ 3.5 billion in a 2001 agreement.


An Inter-Governmental Agreement on the project was signed on November 20, 1988 by Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. The project remained in limbo for 10 years due to political and economic upheaval in Russia after the post-1991 Soviet breakup, and also due to objections of the United States on the grounds that the agreement does not meet the 1992 terms of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).[2] There are negotiations over the possible addition of a naval base at the site, both safeguarding the project and as a presence in the southern tip of the country.[3] A small port became operational in Kudankulam on January 14, 2004. This port was established to receive barges carrying over sized light water reactor equipment from ships anchored at a distance of 1.5 kilometres (0.93 mi). Until 2004 materials had to be brought in via road from the port of Tuticorin, risking damage during transportation.[4] In 2008 negotiation on building four additional reactors at the site began. Though the capacity of these reactors has not been declared, it is expected that the capacity of each reactor will be 1000 MW or 1 GW.[5][6] The new reactors would bring the total capacity of the power plant to 9200 MW or 9.2 GW. In June 2011, Sergei Ryzhov, the chief designer of the light water VVER nuclear reactors used at this Nuclear Power Plant was killed in an airplane accident. The plane belonging to the Rus-Air airlines was flying from Moscow to the Karelian capital Petrozavodsk. [7]

Technical description

Two 1 GW reactors of the VVER-1000 model are being constructed by the Nuclear Power corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) and Atomstroyexport. When completed they will become the largest nuclear power generation complex in India producing a cumulative 2 GW of electric power.[8] Both units are water cooled water moderated power reactors.[9] The first was scheduled to start operation in December 2009 and the second one was scheduled for March 2010. Currently, the official projections put unit 1 into operation in June 2011, and unit 2 in March 2012.[10][11][12] Four more reactors are set to be added to this plant under a memorandum of intent signed in 2008.[13] A firm agreement on setting up two more reactors, has been postponed pending the ongoing talks on liability issues. Under an inter-government agreement signed in December 2008 Russia is to supply to India four third generation VVER-1200 reactors of 1170 MW.[14] The nuclear project will be commissioned in April 2011.[15]

Protest against the opening of Nuclear Reactors

When construction began, there was not much opposition against the project[Ref Required]. Recently a slew of social workers and environmental activists have begun protests. They said the population density was too high[Ref Required]. .Protestors cite the examples like Chernobyl Russia. They also quote the current Japan Fukushima nuclear reactor disaster during the Tsunami that affected Japan. The recent nuclear incident at Marcoule, southern France has further aggravated the protest. The protestors also say that, Germany and many other countries are reconsidering their nuclear energy policy. Japan has begun a similar discussion[Ref Required]. The key debate will revolve around the question of relative risk posed by nuclear power plant in comparison to short and long term risk posed by current use of non-renewable energy sources such as coal. There is also fear that the fish and other life inside the sea will be affected by the water discharged from the nuclear reactor into the Bay of Bengal[Reference Required]. The area around the Koodankulam reactor is home to a lot of small scale...
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