As part of the commissioning process of Unit 1 of the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP), the relief valves on steam lines were being tested and the trials would not pose any hazard to the environment or the local community, KKNPP Site Director R S Sundar said.
PMANE on Sunday claimed that noise, smoke and a strong odour, similar to that of burning tyres, have been emanating from the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant over the last three days, and locals complained of irritation in eyes and respiratory problems.
Following this, the anti-nuclear group has threatened to lay siege to the Chettikulam Township and staff quarters of the power plant on Wednesday to protest the absence of prior warning by authorities regarding the tests.
Reacting to the claims of PMANE, Sundar issued a statement on Monday, in whch he said that under the commissioning tests of Unit 1 of the power plant, the relief valves on the steam lines were being put to test. “The tests are being conducted only during the daytime and only steam, i.e., water vapour, is released as part of the test. No tests are being conducted at Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant which are harmful to the environment and the public,” he noted.
During the period when tests are conducted, as part of a public awareness programme, around 325 school children and 90 persons from neighbouring villages have visited the KKNPP premises.
Around 1,000 NPCIL (Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited) staff have also been attending office daily during the test period and around 3,000 contract employees have been at work on the plant premises.
“It is once again reiterated that only mandatory tests are in progress which will not result in any harm to the environment and the general pubic. All works are taken up with utmost safety of the public and the environment,” Sundar added.