Kudankulam crisis: Solar power is way cheaper, say experts

Home <http://energybusiness.in/> » News Kudankulam crisis: Solar power is

way cheaper, say experts

<http://img.energybusiness.in/solarpanels2.jpg>Claims of the Department of

Atomic Energy (DAE) that nuclear power are cheaper than solar energy has
been demolished by Indian solar energy entrepreneurs.

“Entrepreneurs have come forward to set up solar power stations at a cost
of Rs10 crore per Mw. Earlier it used to cost Rs15 crore for setting up a 1
Mw solar plant. Entrepreneurs claim that they could set up a 1 Mw plant

with Rs10 crore,” said GM Pillai, director general, World Institute of
Sustainable Energy (WISE). Pillai, a senior IAS officer, is on deputation
to WISE.

Two reactors —each of 1,000 MW —are being set up at the Kudankulam nuclear
power plant at a cost of Rs13160 crore. “But it is the official estimate.
Details of hidden costs have not been included in this figure. Once the

cost of operation, maintenance and safety factors are taken into account,
this figure it will shoot up by twice,” he said.

Dr Surendra Gadekar, former professor of the Indian Institute of Science,
said the government is heavily subsidizing the nuclear power stations and
these details do not find place in the account books. “The comptroller and

accountant general has calculated that the pressurized heavy water reactors
get heavy water at the rate of Rs800 per kg though the same costs Rs30,000
in international market,” he said.

Interestingly, a new study by different wings of the union government says
that Tamil Nadu has the potential to be the power house of south India even
if the Kudankulam plants are shut down.

“The state has immense potential to harness solar power because it receives
sufficientsolar radiation for 10 months a year,” Pillai pointed
out.Surendra Pimparkhedkar, senior fellow, WISE, says the state need to put

just five per centof the total available waste landto generate 21,700 Mw of
clean and green energy.

Pillai pointed out that a 100 Mw solar power station could be set up in two

year’s time.“A conventional thermal or nuclear power station takes a
minimum of six years for completion,” he added.
Home <http://energybusiness.in/> » News

Kalam suggests 10-point development programme for Kudankulam

<http://img.energybusiness.in/APJ-kalam.jpeg>Four-lane highways, a mega

desalination plant, construction of houses, schools, hospitals as well as
cold storages are amongst the suggestions to the central government made by
former president APJ Kalam for the development of Kudankulam and

surrounding areas in Tamil Nadu.

In a report, Kalam, who Sunday visited the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project
(KNPP) in Tirunelveli district and believes the plant is totally safe, said

the 10-point Kudankulam PURA (Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas)
programme should be implemented by 2015. It involves an outlay of around
Rs.200 crore and is aimed at benefiting Kudankulam and its 60 odd

neighbouring villages.

The 39-page report has been authored by Kalam and his advisor V Ponraj. It
has been submitted to the state and central governments, Ponraj said. The

report asks New Delhi to link Kudankulam and other villages in Tirunelveli
district, around 650 km from here, with Tirunelveli, Kanyakumari and

Industries that can provide direct employment to around 10,000 people
should be located within a 30-60 km radius of Kudankulam and youth should
be extended subsidised loans for starting their own business ventures,

suggest Kalam and Ponraj.

They also suggest the building of ‘green houses’, apartments for people
living along the shores of Kudankulam and neighbouring areas. For the

benefit of fishing community small jetties, fish processing units, cold
storages should be built.

On providing drinking water to the populace, Kalam, a former nuclear and

missile scientist, has suggested setting up a one million litres per day
desalination plant and also bringing water from Pechiparai dam for drinking
as well as agricultural use.

The report has also recommended building a 500-bed hospital in Kudankulam
area, setting up tele-medicine hospitals in all villages and two mobile
hospitals with facilities to carry out diagnostic tests.

The setting up of five state board and Central Board of Secondary Education
(CBSE) stream schools with hostel facilities, provision of broadband
connections and disaster management centre and provision of higher

education with proper training to selected youth and placing them in a
permanent job are the other suggestions.

According to the report, the government should also start other schemes in
consultation with the local populace. It should allay fears of the people
about the Kudankulam nuclear power plant by providing them proper


The report went on to say that the central government should join hands
with the state government to start generation of power at Kudankulam that

houses the safest reactors in the world.

India’s nuclear power plant operator Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd

(NPCIL) is building two 1,000 Mw nuclear power reactors with Russian
technology and equipment in Kudankulam.

The first unit is expected to go on stream in December. The project is

estimated to cost around Rs13,160 crore (over US $2.5 billion).

However, villagers fear for their lives and safety in case of any nuclear

accident and the long-term impact it would have on the population. Their
agitation has put a stop to the project work, thereby delaying the
commissioning of the first unit by several months.

According to the report, Tirunelveli district is expected to attract an
investment of around Rs.20,000 crore with the setting up of the 4,000 MW
(2,000 MW existing and 2,000 MW in the future) nuclear power plant which

would feed the state nearly 50 per cent of the power produced.
Home <http://energybusiness.in/> » News

US nuclear regulatory panel chief to visit India

<http://img.energybusiness.in/nuclearplant7.jpg>Amid the uproar over the

safety of the nuclear power project at Kundankulam in Tamil Nadu, India’s
Atomic Energy Regulatory Board is set to play host to a delegation from the
US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)led by its chairman Gregory B Jaczko

from November 14 to 18.

The five-member NRC team will visit New Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai. The NRC
members will meet top AERB officials and visit nuclear facilities like

Tarapur Atomic Power Station, laboratories of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre
in Maharashtra, the Madras Atomic Power Station and the Indira Gandhi
Centre for Atomic Research in Tamil Nadu.

A press release issued by the US Embassy in New Delhi said the aim of the
visit was to exchange information and share experience on safety standards
and regulations for the safe operation of nuclear power plants. “I look

forward to the continuation and advancement of our long-term relationships
with our AERB Indian counterparts and with other Indian organisations in
the area of nuclear safety,” Jaczko was quoted as saying.

There will be another nine-member delegation from the US NRC who will be
travelling to New Delhi to participate in an international conference on

structural mechanics in reactor technology from November 6 to 11. The main
conference will be followed by post-conference seminars in Maharashtra and
Tamil Nadu on topics that include advances in seismic design of structures,

innovative fast reactor design and high temperature design reactors on
November 14 and 15.

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