Russia on Thursday defended the quality of equipment supplied for the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP), adding that its Unit-I could go critical by the first week of May if it gets clearance from the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB).
Consul general of the Russian Federation in southern India Nikolay A Listopadov told Express there was no question of substandard equipment being supplied to the reactor.
“Only four valves were found to be substandard, which is a drop in the ocean. Of the thousands of valves, one or two may be defective. This happens occasionally everywhere due to the sheer number of components involved. The regulatory board is inspecting it. Substandard equipment won’t be installed,” he said.
According to the NPCIL, the four defective valves were part of the passive core flooding system. Two 1,000 MW reactors are being built in Koodankulam with Russian help.
Listopadov blamed the Western lobby for engineering protests in Koodankulam against the nuclear reactors.
He pointed out that even Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had accepted that there was foreign involvement in the protests. Listopadov also said the competition and rivalry over Russia’s nuclear ties with India could be one of the reasons behind the external involvement in the protests.
“It should be clear that Koodankulam is an Indian power plant and built by Indian workers and Indian scientists. The protests are an internal affair of India and I hope it will be resolved soon,” he added.
“The reactor would attain criticality in the first week of May. After that some tests will be taken before it starts producing power. However, it is up to the AERB to decide on the date as well as clearances,” he added.
In Udhagamandalam, former chairman of Atomic Energy Commission M R Srinivasan echoed Listopadov on the quality of Russian equipment. He said defects were rectified and testing was under way.