CHENNAI: Reminding the authorities that the nature of work carried out in nuclear power projects does not allow any laxity in ensuring high standards of safety, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has directed the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) to pay `50,000 each to six maintenance workers of the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) who suffered burn injuries two years ago due to the lack of safety measures.
Following its persistent efforts, the corporation has paid `50,000 as relief to the six workers, it added. A supervisor, two technicians and three contract workers suffered 60-70 per cent burn injuries after hot water spillage from a valve in the Turbine Building of Unit 1 on May 14, 2014.
The commission had sent notices to the authorities concerned, following which the chairman and managing director of NPCIL and the collector of Tirunelveli informed that the authorities have borne their treatment cost and paid wages for their period of absence.
Even while acknowledging the measures, the commission noted that this was not an adequate compensation for the physical pain, mental agony and trauma that the injured and their kin underwent.
The NHRC noted that an enquiry report by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) revealed deficiencies in safety standards. “Among other things, [the report] said that the persons were not wearing personal protective equipment as required except safety helmet and shoes. The report pointed fingers towards negligence on the part of KKNPP and NPCIL and suggested that the incident could have been avoided had the guidelines in the maintenance manual were followed,” said the commission in a statement on Thursday.