Build geological repository before AFR: Udayakumaran


At a time when constructing Away from Reactor (AFR) facility in Kudankulam has turned into a burning issue and Chief Minister MK Stalin, has wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi registering his protest for AFR, anti-nuke activist and founder of Pachai Tamizhagam, SP Udayakumaran, in an exclusive interview with DT Next, asked the Centre to construct Deep Geological Repository (DGR) before going for AFR. He also listed out the dangers associated with AFR and nuclear energy

Officials of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP) have been claiming that away from reactor (AFR) storage facility is safe and people need not worry. How safe is it?

The KKNPP, Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) and the nuclear establishment as a whole all over the world repeat this same song. Everything they do is safe and people need not worry. When Fukushima accident happened, former chairman of Atomic Energy Commission Srikumar Banerjee said that it was just a chemical explosion and not a nuclear one. They are not open, transparent, honest and democratic in information sharing. The AFR will be storing extremely hot and highly radioactive 4,328 spent fuel rods. How can that be safe? How can that not affect people? The water and air and other effluents that come out of the AFR will be radioactive and can affect the people and the environment. AFR is as dangerous and threatening as a nuclear reactor.

Western countries are still using the technology. In what way is it harmful for India alone?

Western countries are still struggling with nuclear technology and nuclear waste management. India is building the AFRs only now at Rawatbhata in Rajasthan. The Kudankulam reactors are much bigger and use foreign fuel rods and our folks are still struggling with reactors 1 and 2. Anything that emits radioactivity now and will pose dangers to our posterity is unsafe and unwelcome.

There is enough political pressure in the state against AFR. Unlike the past even the state has opposed it? How do you see it?

The then Karnataka CM Jagdish Shetter and the then Union Law Minister Veerappa Moily opposed the plan of burying Kudankulam waste at Kolar gold mines when the DAE announced it in 2012 November. Why cannot we Tamils do the same? We, the struggling people, welcome the stand of Chief Minister Stalin and congratulate him on taking side with the people of the state. This is how a leader should be. Stand with his people and speak for his people. Even AIADMK coordinator O Panneerselvam has taken a clear stand on this issue. Several political party leaders have expressed their opposition. We thank them all.