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14 May, 2013

Scientists' letter to CMs voicing concern over Koodankulam equipment

The following is a letter written by a group of scientists to the Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu and Kerala expressing their concern about the use of substandard components in ooudankulam Nuclear Power Plant 1 & 2, and the revelation at this late stage that four valves in a critical safety system were found defective:

To: Hon'ble Chief Minister
Government of Tamil Nadu
Secretariat, Chennai 600 009;

To: Hon'ble Chief Minister
Government of Kerala
Secretariat, Thiruvananthapuram 695001
Copy: Prime Minister's Office
South Block, Raisina Hill, New Delhi 110011
                                                      Date: 14th of May 2013
Respected Chief Ministers:
We, the below-signed, are scientists from various disciplines who are concerned about the quality of components and equipment used at the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNP) Units 1 & 2. Our concerns arise from recent media reports about the use of substandard components in KKNP 1 & 2, and the revelation at this late stage that four valves in a critical safety system were found defective.

These safety concerns are compounded by the fact that Russian authorities arrested Mr. Sergei Shutov, procurement director of Zio-Podolsk, on corruption charges for having sourced cheaper sub-standard steel for manufacturing components that were used in Russian nuclear installations in Bulgaria, Iran, China and India.  This has led to several complaints of sub-standard components and follow-up investigations in Bulgaria and China. The ramifications of such corruption need to be taken very seriously as they have implications on the long-term safety of the nuclear plant.

As the Chief Ministers of the states hosting and neighbouring the nuclear power plant, the two of you have a responsibility to satisfy yourself and the residents of Tamil Nadu and Kerala that the plant has been constructed to the highest safety standards. Any exercise to assure oneself of the quality of components used will have to be done before the plant is commissioned. Once commissioned, the radioactive environment in sections of the plant will make it impossible to access and test some potentially critical components.

Unfortunately, as we have seen in Fukushima, there is the danger that the impact of a major hazardous event in Koodankulam may not be localized but could spread to larger regions in both Tamil Nadu and Kerala. To reduce such a risk, in the light of recent revelations, we believe that it is important to have a fresh independent and thorough quality inspection of the components used in the two reactors.

We, the below-signed, include scientists who believe that nuclear energy has a legitimate role in securing our energy future and others that believe that nuclear energy is too risky. Through this letter, we are not advocating for or against nuclear energy. All of us are of the opinion that when dealing with complex and potentially dangerous technologies transparency, honesty and a rigorous adherence to the highest quality standards are imperative.   Even the Supreme Court's recent judgment has emphasized the need to ensure the quality of components and systems before operationalising the plant.

We urge you to convey to the Prime Minister and the Department of Atomic Energy that before commissioning the reactors, they should consult independent national experts to formulate an inspection regime and carry out a full-fledged inspection into the safety of KKNP 1 & 2. Such an inspection should pay particular attention to the allegations of sub-standard equipment and components.

 Name DesignationDept/Specialization AffiliationCity
1 Atul ChokshiProfessor Materials Engg.IISc Bangalore
2 Subodh KumarProfessor Materials Engg.IISc Bangalore
3Debasis Sengupta ProfessorOceanography IIScBangalore
4Bikramjit Basu Assoc. ProfessorMaterials Science & Engg IIScBangalore
5Venu Madhav Govindu Asst. ProfessorElectrical engg IIScBangalore
6Siddhartha P. Sarma Assoc. ProfessorMolecular biophysics IIScBangalore
7Vidyanand Nanjundiah ProfessorEcological sciences IIScBangalore
8Sanjit Chaterjee Asst. ProfessorComputer sci. & automation IIScBangalore
9K.S. Gandhi ProfessorChemical engg IIScBangalore
10A.G. Menon ProfessorEarth sciences IIScBangalore
11Bhanu Pratap Das Senior ProfessorAstrophysics IIABangalore
12Vandana Shiva  Environmentalsit/Physicist NavadanyaNew Delhi
13Sushma V. Mallik Assoc. ProfessorAstrophysics IIABangalore
14C.V. Mallik Professor (ret’d)Astrophysics IIABangalore
15Rohini Balakrishnan Assoc. ProfessorEcological sciences IIScBangalore
16Mahua Ghare post-docEcological sciences Centre for Pollination StudiesKolkata
17Ravi Sankar Kottada Asst. ProfessorIMaterials Engg. IITMChennai
18 Partho Sarothi RayAsst. Professor PhsyicsIISER Kolkata
19 Shiv SethiAssoc. Professor AstrophysicsRRI Bangalore
20Meher Engineer Professor/ex-director  Bose InstituteKolkata
21K.S. Jagadish Professor (ret’d)Civil engg IIScBangalore
22 Supratik ChakrabortyProfessor  IITBMumbai
23 Deepak D’SouzaAssoc. Professor  IIScBangalore
24 MJNV PrasadAsst. Professor Materials Engg.IITB Mumbai
25 Kartik ShankerAssoc. Professor Ecological sciencesIISc Bangalore
26Dibyendu Chakravarty Scientist DMaterials Engg. ARCIHyderabad
27T.A. Abinandanan ProfessorMaterials Engg. IIScBangalore
28K.V.S. Hari ProfessorElec & comm engg IIScBangalore
29C.P. Rajendran Visiting ProfessorEarth sciences IIScBangalore
30Arijit Bishnu Assoc. Professor  ISIKolkata
31Renee Borges Professor & ChairpersonEcological sciences IIScBangalore
32Lakshmi Saripalli  Astrophysicist RRIBangalore
33Vijay Chandru Chairman and CEOManagement/Comp sci. & automation StrandBangalore
34Sumati Surya Assoc. ProfessorPhysics RRIBangalore
35Sachindeo Vaidya Assoc. ProfessorPhysics IIScBangalore
36Procheta Mallik nonePhysics noneBangalore
37Sushama Yermal InstructorBiologist IIScBangalore
38Palash B. Pal ProfessorAstrophysics Saha Inst.Kolkata
39M.S. Bobji Assoc. ProfessorMechanical Engg IIScBangalore
40Gopal Krishna NASI platinum Jubilee Senior ScientistAstrophysics TIFR (retired)/IUCAAPune
41Harish Bhatt ProfessorAstrophysics IIABangalore
42 Arati Chokshinone Astrophysicsnone Bangalore
43 Vinod JohnAsst. Professor  IISc Bangalore
44 Dileep JatkarProfessor  HCRI Allahabad
45 Anshuman MaharanaReader  HCRI Allahabad
46 Naresh DadhichProfessor  IUCAA Pune
47 Vikram VyasProfessor  Shiv Nadir Univ UP
48Krsihnendu Sengupta Professor  IACSKolkata
49Suvrat Raju ReaderPhysics TIFRBangalore
50Abhishek Dhar Professor  TIFRBangalore
51R.I. Kaveri post-docEcological sciences IIScBangalore
52Ashok Pati ProfessorAstrophysics IIABangalore
53Joseph Samuel ProfessorPhysics RRIBangalore
54Carol Upadhyaya ProfessorSocial sciences NIASBangalore
55Madan Rao ProfessorPhsyics RRIBangalore
56Sujay Basu ex-Professor/directorEnergy Jadavpur Univ/Centre of Energy and Environment ManagementKolkata
57 Prajwal Shastri  AstrophysicsIIA Bangalore
58 Anjula GurtooAssoc. Professor Management/Comp sci. & automationIISc Bangalore
59Sudhir Vombatkere Major General (ret’d)Civil engg noneMysore

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