Outrage Over Safety Issues at Indian Nuke Plant


By K. S. HarikrishnanReprint |   ips news
Residents of Kudankulam, a village in Tamil Nadu, protest against the Indian Supreme Court verdict approving construction of a nuclear power plant. Credit: K. S. Harikrishnan/IPSResidents of Kudankulam, a village in Tamil Nadu, protest against the Indian Supreme Court verdict approving construction of a nuclear power plant. Credit: K. S. Harikrishnan/IPS

KUDANKULAM, India, Jun 14 2013 (IPS) – The Tirunelveli district in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu may seem idyllic, dotted with lush green fields, but upon closer inspection one sees signs of a battle that does not appear to be abating.

Locals here have been waging an incessant campaign against a proposed nuclear power plant that was supposed to be operational in 2012 and which is currently sitting idle 24 kilometres from the tourist town of Kanyakumari, located on the southern tip of the Indian peninsula.

A recent report by a group of prominent Indian researches has now added another issue to a long list of grievances with the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) that activists and residents have been compiling since August 2011: evidence of faulty material used in the construction of the plant itself.

Plans for the plant were first drawn up in 1988 under a bilateral agreement between Russia and India, but various political obstacles kept construction on hold for over a decade. It was not until 2001 that a fresh attempt was made to jump-start the 3.1-billion-dollar venture, which has an installed capacity of 1,000 megawatts (MW).

Fishermen and their families protesting against the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant. Credit K. S. Harikrishnan/IPS

Fishermen and their families protesting against the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant. Credit K. S. Harikrishnan/IPS

Things were moving smoothly until news of the meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor in Japan in March 2011 went viral. Fearing a repeat performance of the tragedy, locals here took to the streets, protesting lax safety standards and possible nuclear radiation in the event of an accident.

The government has refused to address protestors’ concerns, instead issuing blanket assurances that the plant has been constructed using state of the art instrumentation and contains a passive cooling system and other mechanisms that will enable it to withstand natural disasters like earthquakes and tsunamis.

Nalinish Nagaich, executive director of the National Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL), has repeatedly insisted that the equipment installed in the power station has undergone multi-stage quality checks.

Last month, in a 247-page ruling, a division bench of the Supreme Court of India consisting of Justices K.S. Radhakrishnan and Dipak Misra dismissed protestors’ concerns as “baseless”, adding: “The benefits we reap from KKNPP are enormous since nuclear energy remains an important element in India’s energy mix, which can replace a significant (quantity) of fossil fuels like coal, gas (and) oil.”

But new information brought to light in ‘Scandals in the Nuclear Business’, a report published by Dr. V. T. Padmanabhan, a member of the European Commission on Radiation Risk, exposes cracks in the government’s position and highlights the potential crises arising from the use of faulty parts.

According to the study, the Reactor Pressure Vessel (RPV), considered to be the “heart” of a nuclear station, has been built using an outdated, three-decade old model. In addition, various pieces of equipment supplied by Russia have been found to be faulty.

The report has only deepened a crisis of confidence that surfaced earlier this year when Russian Federal prosecutors booked Sergei Shutov, procurement director of the Russian company ZiO-Podolsk that supplied vital equipment to the KKNPP, on corruption charges.

Shutov was charged with “having sourced cheaper sub-standard steel for manufacturing components that were used in Russian nuclear installations in Bulgaria, Iran, China and India”, according to a joint letter sent by over 60 scientists to the chief ministers of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

The New Delhi-based Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace (CNDP) has expressed serious concern over the recent scam, calling it a direct violation of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB)’s safety norms.

Back in April, following a series of tests, the AERB itself acknowledged that four valves in the KKNPP were defective and ordered the NPCIL to replace the parts and surrender itself for review by the regulatory authority, before resuming construction.

World Nuclear News reported last month that “technical issues discovered during the commissioning of Unit One have necessitated the replacement of several valves in the passive core cooling system, leading to further delays” in the commissioning of the KKNPP.

Dr. A Gopalakrishnan, former chairman of AERBhas urged the government to put an immediate stop to the project until allegations of corruption and faulty equipment have been adequately addressed, and the safety and quality of the parts used to house the reactor have been determined.

Police crack down on women protesting against the Kudankulam nuclear plant in India. Credit: K. S. Harikrishnan/IPS.

Police crack down on women protesting against the Kudankulam nuclear plant in India. Credit: K. S. Harikrishnan/IPS.

“The fact that a high-cost, high-risk nuclear reactor is (thought to have) defects…in its components and equipment even before it (has started operating) is highly unusual, and indicates gross failures at several levels in the AERB-NPCIL-Atomstroyexport (triumvirate),” he said, referring to Russia’s national nuclear vendor that stands accused of supplying low-quality parts to India.

N. Sahadevan, environmentalist and prominent campaigner against nuclear arsenals, told IPS that the recent scandal necessitated a “thorough re-examination of the safety aspects of the plant.”

Furthermore, according to Supreme Court Lawyer Prashant Bhushan, the NPCIL, which operates the KKNPP, has failed to comply with the 17 post-Fukushima safety recommendations made by a special AERB committee.

Meanwhile, thousands of villagers in and around Kudankulam continue their daily, peaceful demonstrations.

S. P. Udayakumar, leader of the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy, told IPS that the Fukushima catastrophe categorically proved that nuclear power projects are not aligned with the welfare of the people, especially those living in the vicinity, and are incapable of providing any kind of “security”, energy or otherwise.

Activists have also exposed discrepancies in the government’s claim that nuclear power is crucial for the Indian economy, pointing out that the country currently has just 4,880 MW of existing capacity, “which contribute to only 2.7 percent of the total electricity generation in the country,” according to Dr. E. A. S. Sarma, former Union Power Secretary of India.

– See more at: http://www.ipsnews.net/2013/06/outrage-over-safety-issues-at-indian-nuke-plant/#sthash.Q7VgTdmC.5cfoiTLx.dpuf

 

An Open Letter to the Media houses in India!


English: Construction site of the Koodankulam ...

 

The Struggle Committee                                                                     June 16, 2013
Idinthakarai & P. O. 627 104
Tirunelveli District
Dear friends:
Greetings! Please allow us to bring the following to your kind attention in the larger interests of our country, people and most importantly, our democracy and freedom. As the Fourth Pillar of our democracy, the media in India plays an important role in the smooth running of our country and the perpetuation of our democratic heritage.
We are sure that you have noticed the postponement of the commissioning of the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) to July 2013 without giving any reasons or explanations. It is really so disappointing and upsetting why no print or visual media in our country asks the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) or its Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) about this. There has not been one single editorial in any Indian newspaper or an informed debate on any TV debate on the repeated postponement of the KKNPP commission since 2005. Don’t the people of India need to know the reasons behind this constant postponement and continued ducking and dodging by the prime minister, central ministers, chief minister, and nuclear officials?
We have been crying from the roof top that there has been massive corruption in the KKNPP and shoddy, substandard components and spares have been used in the project, but no mediahouse in India has shown any interest to probe this issue further. Most of the northern Indian mediahouses have not even shown any interest in the Koodankulam issue as if we were not part of India.
Although we cannot complain about the media coverage of our various struggles and campaigns here in Tamil Nadu both in the Tamil and the English media, a few irresponsible mediahouses have been portraying a very negative picture of our movement because of their connection with the nuclear industry, or their “higher caste” bias, or for cheap monetary gains. They go for sensationalism, profiteering, and unprincipled and unprofessional reporting. We would also like to point out that there have been good reports and analysis about the KKNPP issue but there is hardly any incisive inquiry into the commissions and omissions of the Indian nuclear industry in the larger media. Also many mediahouses in India tend to fall silent when power centers frown at them, or twist their arms.
As a result of the gross failure of the Fourth Pillar in our democracy, criminals wander about as leaders; ‘Merchants of Venice’ dominate the economic affairs; and all-knowing-scientists and engineers adopt an anti-people attitude in their mega-development projects. Consequently, there is rampant corruption, inefficiency, wastefulness, depression, inflation, regress, and overall moral decay all over the country.
Hence it is high time we undertook a thorough and comprehensive soul-search about the duties and responsibilities of the media in India. The Koodankulam struggle can be a cornerstone for undertaking this analysis.
We would earnestly request you to do a review of your own mediahouse’s policies and practices and see if you feel and write for the “ordinary citizens” of India or for the vested interests of our country and the world. We enclose a write-up pointing out the salient features of the crippled KKNPP that deserves national attention and nation-wide debate. If the Indian mediahouses fail to do this, all the Neo-East India Companies from the United States, Russia, France and everywhere else will come to dominate our socioeconomic-political affairs and enslave us all over again.
Looking forward to your careful consideration of our letter and favorable actions, we send you our best personal regards and all peaceful wishes,
Cordially,
S. P. Udayakumar       M. Pushparayan          F. Jayakumar               M. P. Jesuraj
Coordinator
R. S. Muhilan              Peter Milton                V. Rajalingam             Ms. S. Lidwin
Please allow us to bring the following dangerous developments, difficulties and discrepancies in the Koodankulam nuclear power project (KKNPP) to your kind consideration and request your immediate intervention to expose the irregularities and improprieties in the nuclear energy sector in India and save the people from massive disasters:
[1] Shoddy and Substandard Equipment from ZiO-Podolsk, Informtech Etc.
First and the most important of all, the KKNPP has been constructed with substandard equipment and parts supplied by ZiO-Podolsk, an engineering subsidiary of the Russian company Rosatom. The company’s official website has declared unequivocally: “Over the past few years ZiO produced and implemented a set of equipment for foreign nuclear power plants with VVER-1000: Tianwan (China), Busher (Iran), Kudankulam (India)” (http://aozio.ru/production/ob-atom/). ZiO-Podolsk began shipping shoddy equipment in 2007 or perhaps even earlier. In February 2012, the procurement director, Mr. Sergei Shutov, was arrested for buying low quality and cheap raw material, passing it off as more expensive grade and pocketing the difference. The Federal Security Service, or FSB, the successor organization to the KGB, has been investigating the case that has serious implications for the safety of nuclear power plants built by Russia.
During July 15-18, 2012, the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) delegation that included Special Secretary Mr. A. P. Joshi, Deputy Secretary Mr. Ninian Kumar and the Manager of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) Mr. Dzhogesh Pady visited ZiO-Podolsk and discussed a range of issues related to the preparation for the launch of KKNPP-1, the progress of the KKNPP-2 etc. and signed a number of contracts relating to the implementation of the current phase of the KKNPP. (AtomEnergoMash, Posted 19.07.2012).
However, when we asked the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL) under RTI on January 28, 2013 for “a list of those equipment and parts that have been supplied by Zio-Podolsk to the KKNPP units,” the NPCIL replied tersely on February 20, 2013 (No. NPCIL/VSB/CPIO/2460/HQ/2013/371): “No Information regarding any investigation against Zio-Podolsk is available to NPCIL.” It is a gross untruth and deception because the top DAE officials had just visited the ZiO-Podolsk and they must have followed up the developments. The NPCIL is hiding serious and important information from the Indian public and misleading the entire nation possibly to protect some Russian and Indian middlemen and profiteers.
When we asked the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) on January 28, 2013 for “a list of those equipment and parts that have been supplied by Zio-Podolsk to the KKNPP units” they responded on February 12, 2013 (No. AERB/RSD/RTI/Appl. No. 329/2013/2421) very evasively: “Selection of a company for supplying any equipment to NPCIL, is not under the purview of AERB. However, with respect to Quality Assurance (QA) during design, construction, commissioning and operation, a set of well established AERB documents on QA Codes and Guides are published and they were followed during the safety review of KKNPP.”
Later the NPCIL confirmed officially (in its letter No. NPCIL/VSB/CPIO/2574/KKNPP/2013/737 dated April 29, 2013) that the controversial and corruption-ridden M/S ZiO Podolsk has supplied the following equipment and parts to the KKNPP: “Steam Generators, Cation and anion filters, Mechanical Filter, Moisture Separator and Reheater, Boric solution storage tanks, Regenerative blow down heat exchanger, Pipelines and fittings of different systems, Insulation materials, PHRS Heat exchanger.” In other words, the Koodankulam project in its entirety is unsafe and dangerous.
Another Russian court has convicted one Mr. Alexander Murach, Director of another notorious Russian company, Informtech, for fraud and sentenced him to three years in prison for selling counterfeit measuring equipment for nuclear and hydro power plants’ turbines. The NPCIL has just confirmed in its letter dated May 24, 2013 (No. NPCIL/VSB/CPIO/2670/HQ/2013/884) that they have received “Communication equipment” from Informtech.
Some ten Czech and Slovak companies have also supplied valves, pumps and cables to the Koodankulam project. Leoš Tomíček, Executive Vice-president of Rusatom Overseas says: “We already work with Czechs today. For example, for two blocks of the Indian Koodankulam nuclear power plant, nine Czech companies supplied us with valves, pumps, cables and other equipment worth 58 million dollars.” There have been many cable-related accidents and deaths at the KKNPP. T. S. Subramanian says in a 2009 article: “Cabling is under way in the state-of-the-art control room for Unit-1, which is akin to an aircraft’s cockpit. M.I. Joy, Additional Chief Engineer (Site Planning), KKNPP, said, “Once the cabling is completed, the entire control of the plant, including the reactor and turbine, will be done from the control room.” The plant’s control room is humidity-controlled. “The atmosphere is so pure here that the cables will not be spoiled,” said Joy.
(http://www.frontline.in/navigation/?type=static&page=flonnet&rdurl=fl2616/stories/20090814261612). It is this “so pure” atmosphere that has killed six workers in the past three months in electrocution accidents. The quality of the Czech cables and the checkered electrical work, and the role of Mr. M. I. Joy in all these are important questions must be looked into.
Since shoddy and substandard equipment and parts in a massive nuclear power park pose enormous dangers of epic proportion to millions and millions of innocent people in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and elsewhere, this issue has to be thoroughly and comprehensively probed in collaboration with the officials of Rosatom, Atomstroyexport, Federal Security Service (FSB) and most importantly, with independent nuclear experts in India.
[2] The Reactor Pressure Vessel (RPV) Lies!
Izhorskiye Zavody, which is part of United Machinery Plants (OMZ) holding, signed a contract with India for the construction of two nuclear reactor bodies for Kudankulam’s station in 2002. They shipped a new nuclear reactor body that would be the first power unit of India’s Kudankulam nuclear power plant to the city’s sea port. Yevgeny Sergeyev, general director of Izhorskiye Zavody, said at a ceremony sending off the reactor: “We were so sure of our partners that we started to produce the first reactor bodies four months before the official contract was signed.” Sergeyev said the reactor was completed six months before deadline (The St Petersburg Times, 19 November 2004,http://sptimes.ru/index.php?action_id=2&story_id=2135).
The Koodankulam reactor pressure vessel (RPV) arrived at the Tuticorin Port in January 2004. The first unit of the power plant was expected to be synchronized in December 2007, and the second unit by December 2008. Mr. S. K. Aggarwal, the then project director said: “The project officials have targeted to complete the works for synchronisation of both the units in March and September 2007 respectively.”
The Russian Federal Service for Ecological, Technological and Nuclear Supervision, Rostekhnadzor, claimed in 2009: “The main causes of violations in the NPP construction works are insufficient qualifications, and the personnel’s meagre (sic) knowledge of federal norms and rules, design documentation, and of the technological processes of equipment manufacturing. In particular, the top management of Izhorskiye Zavody have been advised of the low quality of the enterprise’s products and have been warned that sanctions might be enforced, up to suspending the enterprise’s equipment production licence”
(http://www.gosnadzor.ru/osnovnaya_deyatelnost_slujby/otcheti-o-deyatelnosti-sluzhbi-godovie/). Unlike the original design of the Koodankulam RPVs, the erected ones have beltline welds, questionable quality and corruption charges.
[3] Fiddling with the Reactor Design and Doing an Unauthorized Refit
When the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE)’s dialogue with the Central Government’s Expert Group got aborted due to the violent attack on us by some anti-social elements, the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister appointed a team of four members to study the KKNPP issue. When that group included Dr. M. R. Srinivasan, the former Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), we objected to his inclusion in the team. However, he continued to be part of the team and we did have a dialogue with the team on February 19, 2012 in Tirunelveli.
During our interaction that was held in the presence of the Tirunelveli District Collector and other officials, Dr. Srinivasan never mentioned once that the DAE had made changes in the core of the reactor. It is also not revealed to the public until now if he and the team included this unauthorized fiddling in the report they submitted to the CM. However, Dr. Srinivasan has publicly acknowledged now: “We sought an additional safety mechanism well before the Fukushima disaster. The safety mechanism consists of valves. The original reactor design had to be altered and I feel this is the basic cause for delay.” According to him, the valves were designed partially in India and Russia and compatibility with the reactor led to some hiccups (http://newindianexpress.com/states/tamil_nadu/article1517314.ece).
After fiddling with the original design of the KKNPP reactors, the Indian authorities went back and did an unauthorized “refit” without revealing the details to anyone. All these things point out the inherent deficiencies of the Russian reactors, their vulnerability due to all the fiddling, and their untrustworthiness after the refit. Since this matter has to do with the lives and sustenance of millions and millions of people, all the relevant details must be made public.
[4] Blaming the Protests for Atomic Inefficiency and Inept Engineering
The Russian and the Indian nuclear authorities are hiding their corruption, wastefulness and inefficiency by conveniently blaming the struggling people for all the delay and cost overrun. The Indian Express newspaper asserts that the “delay is on the supply side from Russia as a whole lot of components have been replaced, some of which had to be shipped in.” The KKNPP sources have also confessed that the “containment vessel of the nuclear core too has been changed since the old one had sprung a leak, which was detected three months ago during testing” (http://newindianexpress.com/states/tamil_nadu/article1517314.ece).
The KKNPP authorities claim that “most components meant for Unit-II that were already in the warehouse were used as replacements for Unit-I.” It is not clear why they were kept in the warehouse since Unit 2 was also being concurrently constructed along with Unit 1. The nuclear authorities are hiding the plain truth that Unit 1 is a complete failure and hence they are trying to revive it with the parts of Unit 2. Nobody knows the total loss that India has suffered because of all these shifting and shuffling.
The Srinivasan-confessed “refit” of KKNPP-1 is being blamed on its “idling for months together because of a major agitation plus litigation in the Supreme Court.” This is an outrageous falsehood! Even when our agitation was going on between September 2011 and March 2012, regular and full-swing maintenance work was going on at the Koodankulam plant on a daily basis. When the Tamil Nadu government changed its stand on our agitation on March 19, 2012 and pushed us to the village of Idinthakarai, the Site Director of KKNPP Reactors I and II, Mr. R.S. Sundar, said the “water chemistry” of the water being used in the coolant was encouraging as proper maintenance had been carried out with skeletal staff during the protests (P. Sudhakar, “Croatian experts to inspect the condition of equipment,” The Hindu, March 23, 2012).
Mr. S. T. Arasu, Senior Maintenance Engineer at KKNPP said: “We have operated all the pumps to measure the vibration level, which is less than the desirable baseline data and it shows the quality of our skilled workforce. Though this section could not be given complete attention during the past five-and-a-half months, the equipment are functioning in an amazing fashion” (P. Sudhakar, “Employees at Kudankulam project site a charged lot,” The Hindu, March 24, 2012).
Mr. Yevgeniy N. Dudkin, the head of the Russian Specialists Group, said that none of the Russian specialists of Atomstroyexport had left the project site during the protests. He pointed out that some additional works needed to be done and said, “It is not a huge work.” (P. Sudhakar and S. Sundar, “Primary coolant pumps to undergo another trial,” The Hindu, March 29, 2012.)
Similarly, when the Supreme Court began its hearing on a batch of petitions in September 2012, they refused to give a ‘stay’ to halt the ongoing work at KKNPP and allowed the authorities to continue with their work. Accordingly, the AERB allowed fuel loading in September 2012 dismissing the feelings and sentiments of millions of struggling people in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Now the Supreme Court has given a green signal to run the project subject to 15 stringent recommendations.
But the KKNPP, NPCIL, AERB, and the DAE officials are conveniently blaming their inordinate delay in commissioning the KKNPP-1 on the “corrosion and leakage since sea water was used as the coolant.” If the pipes leak and corrode within such a short time, the government should order a probe into the quality of these pipes, the quality of the various equipment and spares that were sent by the Russians. If these pipes and parts cannot withstand one year of sea water circulation, how are they going to function safely for 40-60 years?
[5] Mounting Costs and Massive Corruption
Every single deal that India has signed with Russia has proved to be a disaster and big loss for India. The INS Vikramaditya/Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier has been delayed by five years with the final cost hovering in the $2.9 billion range. The time overrun and cost escalation also plagues another mega Indo-Russian defense deal of upgrading MiG-29 fighter planes. The KKNPP is yet another disaster.
The approved cost of the KKNPP 1 & 2 project is Rs. 13,171 crores. But the DAE and the NPCIL claim that they have spent an additional amount of Rs. 4,000 crores on the non-performing project. Nobody knows the exact end cost of the KKNPP or the breakdown of the final amount. The former AERB Chief, Dr. A. Gopalakrishnan, has claimed that the decision to import 40,000 MW capacity Light Water Reactors (LWRs) in early 2006 was taken without any techno-economic evaluation by the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) or any other agency. According to Dr. Gopalakrishnan, “The decisions, price negotiations and supply terms are being negotiated by the UPA- 2 government in haste, with the intention of fulfilling the PM’s commitments to these foreign governments and their companies before he demits office. .The decision was merely a quid-pro-quo to give business to the reactor manufacturers in those countries which helped India get a Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG) waiver” (DNA, February 16, 2013).
The Russian nuclear company, Atomstroyexport, has just released its financial statement for the year 2011. The company claims that losses in 2011 were twice bigger than the losses of 2010, and that the company is on the brink of bankruptcy. This has seriously affected the Russian nuclear projects at Koodankulam in India and Busher in Iran <http://www.interfax.ru/business/txt.asp?id=283928>. We wonder if the Indian government is secretly helping the Russian company with its losses and bankruptcy.
The NPCIL authorities have claimed that the Rs.4,000 crores cost overrun at Koodankulam is due to the “increase in interest during construction (IDC), escalation on works, contractor’s overheads and establishment charges” (RTI reply dated February 20, 2013). It is pertinent to note that the Russian government is not making such financial compensation to India for all the delay and cost overrun in all of the above projects.
Instead of explaining these mounting costs and massive irregularities, the Russian Ambassador to India Mr. Alexander Kadakin simply misleads Indians by unnecessary and unacceptable comments on our internal affairs. We wonder if the Indian nuclear establishment is secretly helping the Russian company with its losses and bankruptcy.  We wonder if the Koodankulam financial irregularities involve both Indian and Russian nuclearocrats, diplomats and politicians.
[6] Commissioning the KKNPP Every 15 Days
Instead of reporting to the citizens of India inside India about the largest and imported nuclear power park at Koodankulam, the Prime Minister of India goes to South Africa and reassures the President of Russia of its commissioning process (no pun intended). When the Prime Minister had announced in Moscow that the KKNPP would be commissioned “in a couple of weeks” on December 15, 2011, the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister expressed her dissent and displeasure immediately.
The calendar for commissioning of KKNPP-1 has been shifted some 20 times in the past one year by politicians, bureaucrats and the nuclear authorities. In fact, this “commission dating” process has been going on from 2005 onwards and the Union Minister of State, Mr. V. Narayanasamy has set a record of sorts for himself in this calculated and irresponsible misinformation campaign. All these people have been lyingto the nation repeatedly and recklessly and hence we cannot trust these authorities with our and our families’ safety and well-being. If there is any truth and decorum in public life in India, all these officials should resign from their respective posts.
[7] No Information, No Liability, No Pollution Safeguard
The Government of India and the DAE have not shared any basic information with us about the KKNPP. Even after the Central Information Commission (CIC) has instructed them, they have not shared the Site Evaluation Report (SER) and the Safety Analysis Report (SAR) with us. They have not heard our opinions or allayed our fears and concerns about the lack of fresh water resources, the changes in the design of the Reactor Pressure Vessel (RPV), the management of liquid and solid waste and so on.
Neither have the Indian nuclear authorities got any liability from the Russian government and/or companies for KKNPP 1 and 2. The Government of India is not even willing to share the secretive Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) that they signed with the Russian government in 2008. Even as we are dealing with KKNPP 1 and 2, the Government of India is announcing the agreement on KKNPP 3 and 4 with utter disregard for the sentiments of the local people and the people of Tamil Nadu as a whole.
The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) has also given consent to discharge enormous amounts of sewage, trade effluent, desalination plant effluent, demineralization effluent, steam generator effluent, suspended solids, dissolved solids, and many other waste products into the sea. The TNPCB fixed the temperature of the effluents at the discharge point as 45 degrees and later summarily reduced it to 36 or 37 degrees. They have also allowed the KKNPP to release significant amounts of Sulphur Dioxide, Nitrogen Dioxide, particulate matters and many other harmful radioactive pollutants into the air. Nobody seems to bother about the impact of all these on the sea, sea food, crops, dairy, food security, nutrition, health and wellbeing of us, our children and grandchildren.
Furthermore, it is revealed now that the NPCIL does not hold valid and legitimate clearances for all the various buildings and installations in the KKNPP from the Tamil Nadu Coastal Zone Management Authority under the Coastal Regulation Zone Notification of 2011.
[8] The Tamils Get Elegy and the Others Get Energy!
Even though the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister has written to the Prime Minister on March 31, April 25 and August 19, 2012, demanding all the power from the KKNPP to Tamil Nadu, the Prime Minister or his PMO never even acknowledged those letters. Earlier the CM had demanded more power from the Central Pool and financial help for various power generation schemes, but the UPA government always ignored her genuine requests and earnest efforts.
If this is the way the UPA government treats the Chief Minister of an important State and popular leader of millions of Tamil people, one can possibly imagine the feelings and attitude they may have towards the poorest of the poor who have been struggling on our own for almost two years now. The Congress Party and the UPA government seem to have scant regards for the Tamil fishermen, Tamil women, and the Tamil people as a whole.
It is also strange that our neighboring states would not share the Nature-given river waters with us but we, the Tamil people, have to suffer nuclear waste, thermal pollution, saline refuse, and most importantly, nuclear radiation and give them all risk-free electricity. It is quite preposterous that the Congress government in Kerala stakes a claim for 500 MW from the KKNPP; in fact, the Congress governments in Delhi and Thiruvananthapuram can together decide to set up a few nuclear power plants somewhere in Kerala. The intelligent and Nature-loving people of Kerala would never allow that and the political parties there, whether Congress or Communists or BJP or others, would never let that happen also.
Given the above situation, may we request you to demand an inquiry into the construction, equipment, overall quality, performance and the viability of the entire Koodankulam nuclear power project; removal of the fuel rods from the core of the Unit 1 reactor; conversion of the KKNPP into a pro-people and Nature-friendly Model New Energy Park; bringing about renewable energy projects all over our country; rectifying the transmission and distribution issues, and protecting the interests and well-being of the Tamil people and our progeny please.
If we let this shoddy, substandard, unsafe, and corruption-ridden nuclear power project to go critical and fail in our collective historic duty to protect our people, preserve our Natural resources and prop up the interests of newborn and unborn generations of India, we all will be held responsible and answerable for all the upcoming calamities and uncalculable harms to our people.

 

 

 

 

Koodankulam Must Be Stopped: Dr. A Gopalakrishnan #nuclear


DiaNuke

Dr. A Gopalakrishnan, the former Chairman of India’s Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, has raised some urgent issues in his article in the New Indian Express today that the government must address before commissioning Koodankulam.

Please click on the picture to read the article in the E-paperPlease click on the picture to read the article in the E-paper

The first of the two 1000 MWe VVER nuclear reactors at Koodankulam Project (KKNP-1), under commissioning and testing , is supplied by the Russian atomic energy corporation, Rosatom ,through its subsidiary, Atomstroyexport. On the Indian side , the KKNP project is owned by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) , a public sector undertaking of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) . The overall safety regulation responsibility is with the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) .

Crucial materials and reactor parts have been exported to KKNP-1 & 2 by a Russian government-owned company called Machine-Building Plant ZiO-Podolsk (ZiO) , which is another Rosatom subsidiary. ZiO-Podolsk supplies have been sent for years to all the Russian nuclear power plants, and to most of the VVER plants exported to countries like India, Iran, China and Bulgaria. These include important safety subsystems , equipment , components and materials supplied over the years to KKNP-1 & 2 .

KKNP-1 was originally scheduled to start operation in early 2010 , but presently even the final start-up testing is not completed . In January 2013 , the Secretary, DAE, stated that he was totally certain that the reactor would be started that month itself, but it did not happen.

From NPCIL’s continuing inability to start-up KKNP-1 till now , it is very obvious that the Indo-Russian commissioning team at Koodankulam is facing some serious problems which they never anticipated.

The congenital lack of transparency from which the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the nuclear sector organisations are suffering always prevents the public from knowing the real story. The DAE Secretary’s reasons for the delay in KKNP-1 start-up is that “ the engineers have opened up a few of the valves and such components for maintenance and it’s taking some time.” M.R Srinivasan, Member (AEC), is reported to have said, “We sought an additional safety mechanism , which consists of valves. The original reactor design had to be altered and I believe this is the basic cause for delay . The valves were designed partially in India and Russia and compatibility with the reactor led to some hiccups.”

The fact that a high-cost , high-risk nuclear reactor is facing defects and deficiencies in its components and equipment even before it is started up is highly unusual, and this indicates gross failures at several levels in the DAE-AERB-NPCIL-Atomstroyexport combine.

If designs have been checked and followed , procurement of materials and fabrication have been done as per technical specifications, testing and quality control at the manufacturer’s shops were comprehensive, and NPCIL’s Quality Assurance (QA) before acceptance of supplies at site were strictly as per nuclear norms, these problems could not have arisen at the commissioning stage.

If news trickling out of KKNP-1 site is to be trusted, the Russian special check valves in the passive long-term core flooding system (hydroaccumulator system- stage 2) are defective as received and, at this late hour an order to manufacture one or more such valves has been placed on a reputed Hyderabad company. One or more of the new Russian valves show cracks even at the finish of initial commissioning tests. Similarly, the passive heat removal system (PHRS) is not functioning as per specifications, because the damper — air heat exchanger — vane system has not been integrally tested at the Russian manufaturer’s works as required and problems were not sorted out there itself . There are other problems to list, but the above are typical of the flaws holding up the reactor commissioning. Almost all these malfunctioning components and sub-systems have been produced by ZiO-Podolsk, and all of them are crucial to the safety of the plant, under beyond-design-basis accidents.

The Bellona Foundation, an international environmental NGO based in Norway
(), stated (http://www.anti-atom.ru/en/node/3468 ) in February 2012 that the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) had arrested Sergei Shutov, the procurement director of ZiO-Podolsk, on charges of corruption and fraud. The FSB has charged Shutov with buying low-quality raw materials on the cheap over the years, passing them off as high-quality materials, and pocketing the difference.

It is not clear how many reactors have been impacted by this alleged crime, but reactors built by Russia in India, Bulgaria, Iran and China are among those suspected to have received sub-standard equipment and components, given the timeframe of work completed.

Bulgaria has already asked Atomstroyexport and ZiO-Podolsk to provide details of materials used in their reactors, including quality certificates. Similarly , China’s Tianwan plant has two VVER-1000 reactors, and the Chinese have raised several hundred queries regarding the low quality of materials and components.

Investigative Journalists, an NGO based in the Armenian capital, has said that the use of substandard materials could lead to a nuclear disaster. “Stopping and conducting full scale checks of reactors where equipment from ZiO-Podolsk has been installed is absolutely necessary,” Vladimir Slivyak, co-chair of Russian environmental NGO Ecodefence, said recently.“Otherwise the risk of a serious accident at a nuclear power plant, whose clean-up bill, stretching into the tens and even hundreds of millions of dollars, will have to be footed by taxpayers.”

The problems with ZiO-Podolsk supplies to the KKNP-1 Project, seen in the context of the widespread allegations of corruption and poor quality, indicate that the root cause of KKNP-1 problems lies in those sub-standard supplies. Recent questions raised under RTI to the AERB and NPCIL resulted only in evasive and pointless replies. Asked about parts supplied by ZiO, AERB says “the selection of a company for supplying any equipment to NPCIL is not under the purview of AERB.” For the same query, NPCIL says, “No information regarding any investigation against ZiO-Podolsk is available to NPCIL”. Both these DAE organisations were lying in these replies, as is evident from the following facts.

The website of the Russian Embassy in India carries the news of a senior Indian delegation headed by AP Joshi, Special Secretary, DAE having visited ZiO-Podolsk from July 15-18, 2012, just about five months after the arrest of Sergei Shutov, Zio-Podolsk’s Procurement Director, for fraud and corruption in sending out inferior products to national and foreign reactor projects , including KKNP-1 & 2.

The Indian Embassy in Moscow and the NPCIL / DAE personnel stationed there must have certainly known about Shutov’s arrest , and the inherent serious implications of his actions on the safety of KKNP-1 & 2. They would have briefed the DAE Secretary about it immediately and through him the PMO would also have been alerted . And yet , both AERB and NPCIL pretend to take the ZiO-Podolsk matter very lightly and feign ignorance .

One can only surmise that the PMO & the DAE quickly realied the gravity of the potentially explosive situation that could develop vis-a-vis Koodankulam reactor safety, following Shutov’s arrest, because by then several crucial equipment, components and materials with alleged poor quality and deficiencies have been already installed in various parts of both units at KKNP and Unit-1 was on its way to commissioning. The PMO & DAE seem to have decided to weather the storm through the joint execution of an Indo-Russian cover-up plan, and hold a firm position that all is well with KKNP supplies.

After a fire-fighting strategy was framed in India , it would appear that the PMO despatched the Special Secretary, DAE, and his team to visit ZiO-Podolsk and spent three days to firm up the modus operandi of tackling the rather tricky situation which could develop in India once the protesters and the courts of law come to know of the scam details. After all , the PMO’s top priority is to meet the PM’s promise to President Putin that KKNP-1 will be started up in April 2013, and public safety and corruption come only after that .

There could be a large number of equipment, components and materials of substandard quality from ZiO-Podolsk already installed in various parts of KKNP-1& 2 whose deficiencies and defects are dormant today, but these very same shortcomings may cause such parts to catastrophically fail when the reactor is operated for some time .

Many such parts and materials may have been installed within the reactor pressure vessel itself, which is now closed and sealed in preparation for the start-up. Once the reactor is made critical and reaches power operation, much of these components and materials inside will become radioactive and/or will be in environments where they cannot be properly tested for quality or performance.

Under the circumstances , KKNP Unit-1 commissioning and KKNP-2 construction work must be stopped forthwith, and there can be no question of resuming these works towards start-up of both these reactors until a thorough and impartial investigation is carried out into the impact of this corruption scandal and sub-standard supplies on the safety of these reactors.

And these investigations must be carried out by a team, where majority membership must not be from DAE , NPCIL and AERB, but include subject experts from other organisations in the country.

India must also seriously consider inviting an IAEA expert team specially constituted to investigate the specific issues which this scandal has thrown up.

 

Zio-Podolsk Scandal – Save Our Souls Part – 3 #nuclear


Rosatom-owned company accused of selling shoddy equipment to reactors at home and abroad, pocketing profits

CharlesDigges, 28-02-2012

Russian Federal Prosecutors have accused a company owned by the country’s nuclear energy corporation, Rosatom, with massive corruption and manufacturing substandard equipment for nuclear reactors under construction both at home and abroad.

The ZiO-Podolsk machine building plant’s procurement director, Sergei Shutov, has been arrested for buying low quality raw materials on the cheap and pocketing the difference as the result of an investigation by the Federal Security Service, or FSB, the successor organization to the KGB.

It is not clear how many reactors have been impacted by the alleged crime, but reactors built by Russia in India, Bulgaria, Iran, China as well as several reactor construction and repair projects in Russia itself may have been affected by cheap equipment, given the time frame of works completed at the stations and the scope of the investigation as it has been revealed by authorities.

“The scope of this scandal could reach every reactor in Russian and every reactor built by Russia over the past several years and demands immediate investigation,” said Bellona President Frederic Hauge. “Were is the political leadership in the Russian government to deal with such a crime?”

Hauge expressed outrage that an alleged crime of such a massive scale was not leading to immediate action to check each reactor that may have been affected by the profit pocketing scheme, and he was frustrated that the FSB and prosecutors were not naming specific reactors that may be involved.

“As long as the Russian government is not investigating this case correctly, we will have to ask international society to do it,” he said.  “Bellona will be taking further action in this case.” Vladimir Slivyak, co-chair of Russia’s Ecodefense agreed.

“Stopping and conducting full-scale checks of reactors where equipment from ZiO-Podolsk has been installed is absolutely necessary,” said Slivyak. “Otherwise [there is] the risk of a serious accident at a nuclear power plant with cleanup bills stretching into the tens and even hundreds of millions of dollars [that] will have to be footed by taxpayers.”

The criminal case was opened against ZiO-Poldolsk in December, but information about the investigation was released in the Russia media via the official Rosbalt agency only last week –  a common circumstance in FSB-associated investigations.

The charges leveled against ZiO-Podolsk, which is Russia’s only manufacturer of steam generators for nuclear plants built by Rosatom domestically and by its international reactor construction subsidiary Atomstroiproyekt are a staggering blow to Rosatom’s credibility.

ZiO-Podolsk is a subsidiary organization of Atomenergomash, founded in 2006. Atomenergomash was acquired by Atomenergoprom, which is 100-percent state-owned, in 2007. Atomenergoprom is a part of Rosatom.

But the paperwork is rather a technicality for a machine works that has been involved with the nuclear industry since its inception. Founded in 1919, ZiO-Podolsk produced the boiler for the first electricity-producing nuclear reactor at Obninsk in 1952, and has produced the boilers for every Russian reactor built ever since.

A shudder in the environmental community

According to prosecutors, ZiO-Podolsk began shipping shoddy equipment in 2007 or perhaps even earlier. This has implications for the safety of nuclear power plants built by, or that bought equipment from, Rosatom in Bulgaria, China, India and Iran – as well as Russia – striking a chord of outrage and distress among environmental groups.

ZiO-Podolsk is also making critical parts for the reactor pressure vessel and other main equipment for the BN-800 fast reactor at Beloyarsk Nuclear Power Plant, in Russia’s Sverdlovsk Region in the Urals, a source told Bellona on the condition of anonymity.

The machine works giant is also making steam generators for Russia’s Novovoronezh, Kalinin, and Leningrad Nuclear Power Plants, and Belene in Bulgaria, according to the London-based World Nuclear Association.

The case assembled against ZiO-Podolsk involves embezzlement of state funding intended for purchases of raw material that are compatible with contemporary safety standards for nuclear reactors, Rosbalt reported.

The FSB investigation

According to the FSB investigation – which was described in unusual detail by the news wire – procurement director Shutov allegedly purchased low-grade steel for equipment in collusion with ZiO-Podolsk’s supplier AТОМ-Industriya. That company’s general director, Dmitry Golubev, is currently at large after embezzlement charges were filed against him by the same Moscow court that ordered Shutov’s arrest, Rosbalt quoted FSB sources as saying.

The scheme between Shutov and Golubev allegedly involved Shutov turning a blind eye to inferior quality steel in return for a large portion of the profits reaped by ATOM-Industriya, the FSB told Rosbalt, citing transactions that were accounted for in bookkeeping documents the security service said it confiscated from the financial director of ATOM-Industriya.

“This company purchased cheap steel in Ukraine and then passed it off as [a] more expensive [grade]; the revenues were shared by the scam’s organizers,” an FSB source was quoted by Rosbalt as saying.

FSB agents said that ATOM-Industriya produced some 100 million roubles’ (€2.5 million) worth of pipe sheets, reactor pit bottoms, and reservoirs for ZiO-Podolsk – equipment that was delivered to Russian and foreign reactors – including an order of so-called tube plates for high-pressure heaters at Bulgaria’s Kozloduy NPP. High-pressure heaters, while having no relation to the safe operation of reactors, are used to improve efficiency of power output.

Bulgarian plant expressing concern

When Rosbalt ran its detailed story last week, the management of Kozloduy NPP was quick to respond by releasing an early statement saying its two heaters had been “functioning flawlessly”  since their installation dates in 2010 and 2011.

A statement released 10 hours later that day carried by a different news agency, however, reported that Kozloduy NPP CEO Alexander Nikolov had sent off a letter to ZiO-Podolsk and Atomstroiexport demanding that they certify the quality of the metal in the heaters.

The FSB alleged to Rosbalt that the use of shoddy steel in the case of the heaters manufactured for Kozloduy NPP alone netted a black profit of 39 million roubles (€1 million) for ATOM-Industriya.

Detailed report likely true

Ecodefense’s Slivyak said he believed the Rosbalt report and its copious quotations from the typically secretive FSB to be on the level.

Aside from the suspicions raised by Kozloduy NPP, Slivyak also said that the Russian built Tianwan Nuclear Power Plant in China had previously complained to Rosatom with over 3,000 grievances regarding the low quality of materials delivered to construct the plant, lending credence to the FSB’s version of events.

Slivyak further noted the FSB, which functions as an attack dog for the government of Vladimir Putin, has nothing politically to gain by giving Rosatom – a pet corporation in Putin’s  “power vertical” – a black eye.

The week following Robalt’s article, Rosatom, which had previously refused comment, and Atomenergomash, released a bristling denial as interesting for what it does say as for what it leaves unsaid.

“Rosatom and Atomenergomash deny information related to substandard equipment at nuclear power station that was delivered by ZiO-Podolsk,” read the joint statement. The companies say that “all possible announcements about unsuitable production quality at ZiO-Podolsk are knowingly incorrect and mistaken.”

The statement continued, saying: “A stringent multi-layered system of quality control is in place at ZiO-Podolsk, encompassing all level of production: from expert evaluations of received materials and ores to final inspection of products. Evaluations of the compliance of equipment’s quality delivered to foreign nuclear power stations is carried out by the authorized organization OAO Zarubezhatomenergostroi.”

But the joint statement failed to contradict information supplied to Rosbalt by prosecutors concerning the arrests of upper-management officials at ZiO-Podolsk and ATOM-Industriya.

Two spokesmen for the FSB contacted by Bellona confirmed the version of events their colleagues described to Rosbalt, but refused to discuss “an ongoing investigation” further. They also refused to comment on what other nuclear power plants besides Kozloduy may have been affected by defective materials from ZiO-Podolsk.

http://www.bellona.org/articles/articles_2012/podolsk_corruption

https://kractivist.wordpress.com/2013/04/14/zio-podolsk-scandal-save-our-souls-part-1-nuclear/

https://kractivist.wordpress.com/2013/04/14/zio-podolsk-scandal-save-our-souls-part-2-nuclear/

https://kractivist.wordpress.com/2013/04/14/india-zio-podolsk-scandal-save-our-souls-part-4-nuclear/

 

Zio-Podolsk Scandal – Save Our Souls – Part 2 #Nuclear


Zio-Podolsk: The Complete Story

By- CharlesDigges

It all started on May 2, 1919 as the repair assembly plant called the Steam-Engine. Repair of locomotives was carried out until 1930. A total of 863 locomotives repaired.

In 1931, the plant was converted to KES – Cracking-electric locomotive and in the same year, in a record time (for 3 months and 25 days), produced the first Soviet cracking unit for the petrochemical industry. In those years, the company, except for crackers, produced narrow-gauge steam locomotives, railroad cars, industrial and mining locomotives locomotives, tubing for the Moscow metro, and many other products.

At the request of the workers on April 8, 1936 the plant was named commissar of heavy industry, and the plant was called Podolsk Engineering Plant named after Ordzhonikidze (ZIO).

In 1941 the factory ceased production of civilian products (part of the equipment along with the workers had been evacuated to the Urals), and all the facilities were transferred to large-scale production for the needs of the defense industry. The plant manufactured the case of grenades, anti-tank obstacles, repairing tanks and guns were equipped with armored combat aircraft IL-2.

In 1942, after the evacuation in Podolsk Taganrog Boiler plant, ZIO was carrying out repair of steam boilers, and then, in 1946, made the first steam boiler with the trademark “ZIO”. The plant has priority in the field of domestic quick steam generators, production of which began in the late 40’s. For 70 years, has produced over 700 boilers of different capacities and options for 152 domestic and foreign power plants with total capacity of over 66 million kW, including more than 16 million kWh for export.

Since 1952, starting with the construction of the world’s first nuclear power plant in Obninsk, the plant produced the most responsible of mechanical equipment for nuclear power plants. Equipment labeled “ZIO” installed on all nuclear power plants built in the Soviet Union. Foreign nuclear power plants with VVER-440 and VVER-1000 is also equipped with the equipment of the plant.

Since 2000, the plant is called of “Mashinostroitelnyyzavod” ZIO-Podolsk. ” Since 2007, the factory is a holding company “Atomenergomash” – power engineering division of the State Corporation “Rosatom”. The main customers include the State Corporation “Rosatom”, OAO “Gazprom”, and “Mosenergo.”

General manager:        Igor Kotov

Tel.: +7 (495) 747 25 October dob.2022
Fax: +7 (495) 747 25 October dob.2325
E-mail: zio@eatom.ru

Executive director :     Andrei Davydov, S.

Tel.: +7 (495) 747-10-02
Fax: +7 (495) 747-10-25 ext. 2325
E-mail: zio@eatom.ru

Chief engineer:                        Anatoly Rubtsov

Tel.: +7 (495) 747-10-25 ext. 2012
Fax: +7 (495) 747-10-25 dob.2325
E-mail: m.dragomir @eatom.ru

Director of Production: Sergeants Vladimir V.

Tel.: +7 (495) 747-10-25 dob.2004, +7 (4967) 65-42-89
Fax: +7 (495) 747-10-25 dob.2211
E-mail: ziopr@eatom.ru

Chief Technologist – Deputy Chief Engineer: Viktor Terekhov

Tel.: +7 (495) 747-10-25 ext. 2031
Fax: +7 (495) 747-10-25 ext. 2213
E-mail: ogt@eatom.ru

Director of Quality:    Lizunova Tatiana

Tel.: +7 (495) 747-10-25 ext. 2013
Fax: +7 (495) 747-10-23
E-mail: t.lizunova @eatom.ru

Purchasing Director:   Bruises Andrey

Tel.: +7 (495) 747 10 25 * 2002
Tel.: +7 (495) 747 May 10
Fax: +7 (495) 747 25 October 2170 *
E-mail: a.sinyakov@eatom.ru

Director of Development and Investment: Arkady V. Kuznetsov

Tel.: +7 (495) 747 25 October 2007 *
E-mail: av.kuznecov@eatom.ru

FSB looked into nuclear reactor, atom industry

As the “Rosbaltu,” the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation is investigating the theft in the production of assemblies for nuclear power plants operating in Russia and abroad. According to the Russian Federal Security Service, the equipment for nuclear power plants was made from cheaper than normal steels, and the proceeds of fraud were divided among managers of several major companies of the nuclear industry. The Purchasing Director of Engineering Plant “ZIO-Podolsk” Sergei Shutov has been taken into custody.

As the “Rosbaltu” RF IC criminal case filed back in 2011 based on the Federal Security Service (into the theft of funds allocated by the state for the purchase of blanks for equipment for nuclear power plants). In December, in fact there were specific suspects. It is the leaders of the “Atom-Industry” (the supplier of products for the nuclear and power engineering) CEO Dmitry Golubev and Managing Director Olga Fedorova, as well as purchasing director of “Machine-Building Plant” ZIO-Podolsk “Sergei Shutov.” ZIO-Podolsk “- one of the largest Russian manufacturers of equipment for the nuclear industry (in particular, it supplies the machines for the nuclear power plants in Iran, India, Bulgaria and China ).

In the “Atom-industry” and “ZIO Podolsk” SK and the FSB raided, during which, according to a source in the security services agency, were seized documents showing that the misappropriation of funds of the nuclear industry have been put on stream. Believe in the RF IC, “Atom-Industry” supplied the blanks from cheaper brands of metal “ZIO-Podolsk,” and there are manufactured equipment for nuclear power plants. The plant on the poor quality of incoming goods “blind eye” Purchasing Director Sergei Shutov.

During a search of the “Atom-Industry” has been removed “black accounting”, hosted by Chief Financial Officer Diane Dmitrieva. The documents indicated that Shutov receive a share of profits received by JSC “Atom-industry” of large-scale fraud. The decision of the Basmanny Court of Moscow December 27, 2011 Sergei Shutov was arrested. He was charged under Section 4 of Article 159 of the Criminal Code (fraud on a large scale). Similar charges were brought against the leaders of the “Atom-industry”, and Dmitry Golubev – in absentia.

As explained by “Rosbalt” a source in the security services, “ZIO-Podolsk” since 2007, signed with JSC “Atom-industry” a series of agreements (the supply pipe plates, heads, shells, etc.) for a total amount of more than 100 million rubles. These blanks later used for the production of equipment supplied to the largest nuclear power plants in Russia and other countries. In particular, the tube sheets shipped “Atom-industry”, used in the production of high pressure heaters for the NPP “Kozloduy” (Bulgaria). Later, however, it became clear that the “Atom-Industry” delivered “ZIO-Podolsk” tube plate and the bottom, made of much cheaper grades of steel than was stipulated in the contract.

As a result of such substitution only on the supply of four tube sheets illegal proceeds “Atom-Industry” was 39 million rubles. “This company bought cheap steel in the Ukraine, and then betrayed her for the more expensive, the proceeds divided between the organizers of the fraud,” – said the source “Rosbalta” in the security services. He declined to say whether such fraud has affected the quality of the machinery supplied to nuclear power plants, as well as what other stations, except for Bulgaria, was sent with the equipment to use products from the “Atom-industry.”

In most of the “Atom-Industry” correspondent “Rosbalt” said they would not comment on the situation until the investigation is completed. “In 2010, the materials were considered SU UPC Russia in St. Petersburg, there passed a resolution not to institute proceedings in connection with the absence of crime, – one of the company’s employees. – However, more than a year after that the RF IC case filed. We did not do anything illegal, confirmed our right of arbitration awards. ” It is noteworthy that the site is “Atom-Industry” states that in March 2010, the company delivered the blanks for the hydro-power plant, which was then rebuilt after a major industrial disaster.

Notes:

[1] http://aozio.ru/company/predpr/

[2] Alexander Shvarev, http://www.rosbalt.ru/moscow/2012/02/22/949018.html

https://kractivist.wordpress.com/2013/04/14/zio-podolsk-scandal-save-our-souls-part-1-nuclear/

https://kractivist.wordpress.com/2013/04/14/zio-podolsk-scandal-save-our-souls-part-3-nuclear/

https://kractivist.wordpress.com/2013/04/14/india-zio-podolsk-scandal-save-our-souls-part-4-nuclear/

Koodankulam: Shoddy equipment develops leaks, #India Wake up call


February 17, 2013, 8:21 pm
article_image

by Sam Rajappa

 

ACCORDING to the Department of Atomic Energy and the authorities of Nuclear Power Corporation of India, the loading of uranium fuel rods at the 1,000 MWe-capacity first unit of the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project was completed on 2 October last year, but has not produced a single unit of electricity so far.  Critical equipment supplied by Atomstroyexport of Russia, building nuclear reactors abroad, were found to be shoddy and have developed leaks even before commissioning of the plant. The financial statement released by Atomstroyexport shows its losses have doubled in the last year and it is on the brink of bankruptcy.  Russian engineers at the Koodankulam plant site have not been able to plug the leaks.  In a desperate attempt to commission the plant, as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has made it a prestige issue, NPCIL has flown in technicians from Croatia and Germany to carry out repairs in the Russian designed and erected plant. NPCIL claims to have spent an excess of Rs. 4,500 crore on the non-functioning power plant. The People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy has threatened to lay siege on the Koodankulam nuclear complex in a non-violent manner if the Centre commissions the first unit in haste and secrecy without attending to its safety requirements, and sought a White Paper on the KKNPP and its reactors from the Centre. It was turned down.

 

An official statement issued by NPCIL on 25 January said the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board has given permission to “repeat the full systems test at the first unit.”  One needs to repeat a test only if it failed in the first instance. NPCIL’s desire to gloss over its failure and make it seem as if the ‘permission’ is a hard-won victory is understandable. But why is the AERB condescending even after RK Sinha, chairman of Atomic Energy Commission, had said that “there are some system parameters like flow, pressure, temperature that need to be maintained within particular values.” During the first hydro test conducted last December, certain valves did not behave the way the manufacturer claimed they would. These valves were opened, repaired, and some components replaced. The fact that brand new valves malfunctioned raises questions about the quality of equipment supplied. Identification of defective valves at this late pre-commissioning stage suggests that the quality of assurance of individual components was deficient.

 

In February last year, Russia’s Federal Security Service arrested Sergei Shutov, procurement director of Rosatom subsidiary Zio-Podolsk, on charges of corruption and fraud. Zio-Podolsk is the sole supplier of steam generators and some other key components for Russian nuclear reactors worldwide, including India.  Shutov was charged with using cheap Ukranian steel blanks in nuclear reactors. NPCIL should reveal whether the leaky valves were supplied by Zio-Podolsk. A PTI feature issued in July 2011 reveals, quoting DAE sources, that the Koodankulam plant was expected to be commissioned in March 2009, long before protesters held up work on the project for nearly six months, but was delayed because of difficulties experienced in receiving equipment from Russia “in sequential order.” The article says: “The designers discovered that several kilometers of power and control cables in the reactor were missed after the completion of double containment of the reactor.” The problem was rectified after the cables meant for power supply to instrumentation in different buildings were incorporated by breaking open the concrete walls in the containment domes and was sealed again bringing the cables from the switch yard to inside. Breaking open and resealing the containment dome is unprecedented in nuclear power industry.

 

As the Manmohan Singh government is determined to unleash all kinds of atrocities on peaceful protesters against the shaky Koodankulam plant like filing 325 cases including sedition, waging war on the Indian State and on other serious sections of the Cr PC and IPC with 5,296 named as accused and 221,483 unnamed accused at one police station alone near the plant site, PMANE has taken up the issue with Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi who had earlier reached out to the tribal people opposed to Vedanta Resource’s Rs. 4,500-crore bauxite mining project in Orissa’s Niyamgiri Hills. Rahul had then said: “True development takes place by respecting the interests of the poor,” and offered to be their sipahi in Delhi.  SP Udayakumar, coordinator of PMANE, in a letter to Rahul, said if the Congress did not respect people’s power, democracy and peaceful struggles, and starts the Koodankulam plant forcibly, it would prompt the voters at least in Tamil Nadu and Kerala to shun the Congress.

 

Unmindful of the people’s fears about the breaking open and resealing of the dome of the Koodankulam plant, the AERB, DAE and NPCIL remain tight-lipped. Even a small mishap in a nuclear facility will have the potential to destroy millions of people in our densely populated country. In a recent report, the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India has passed strictures on the ‘toothless’ AERB for not even ensuring nuclear and radiation safety in any of the atomic installations in the country. The long-awaited Nuclear Safety Regulatory Authority Bill, tabled in the Lok Sabha on 7 September 2011, ostensibly to bring about much needed independence and transparency in administering safety of nuclear operations, remains a non-starter.  According to A Gopalakrishnan, former chairman of AERB, the Bill fails to serve any of its laudable objectives in its present form.

 

The Bill seeks to establish a Council of Nuclear Safety to be chaired by the Prime Minister and will have as its members five or more Cabinet ministers, the Cabinet Secretary, chairman of the AEC and experts nominated by the Union government. The CAS will constitute two search committees, one to select the chairperson and the other to select members of the NSRA. The CNS is empowered to create an Appellate Authority to hear any appeals on any order or decision of the NSRA. The same Appellate Authority will also decide on appeals from the government against the NSRA. What the government tries to do under this Bill is to create a high level council under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister to control and curb the freedom of action of the NSRA.  Clause 20 of the Bill stipulates the NSRA should function in a manner consistent with the international obligations of India.

 

If the NSRA were to find the equipment supplied by Russia to the Koodankulam plant substandard and do not conform to safety norms, the regulatory body dare not act for it would be contrary to “India’s international obligations” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has promised unilaterally to his Russian counterpart while on a visit to Moscow in December 2011.

 

The same clause also says the NSRA “shall not interact with bodies outside India without the prior approval of the government.” The subservient nature of the proposed NSRA has been made abundantly clear in Clause 48(1) which says: “the Central government may, by notification, supersede the regulatory authority for such a period not exceeding six months. Upon notification, the chairperson and members of the NSRA shall vacate their offices as such; … all the powers, functions and duties shall, until the authority is reconstituted, be exercised and discharged by the Central government.” The NSRA can never be independent unless the appointment of its chairperson and selection of members of the regulatory authority as well as supersession of the NSRA are left to Parliament and not to the ruling party of the day. (The Statesman/ANN)

 

The writer is a veteran journalist and former Director of Statesman Print Journalism School

http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=72856

 

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