SC rejects plea to shut down Kudankulam plant till AFR facility is built

The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a plea to shut down the Kudankulam nuclear power plant until an Away From Reactor facility is built, and granted the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) an extension till April 30, 2022, to build the same.

A three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said public interest necessitates the court to agree to the request made by NPCIL for an extension in time to construct the Away From Reactor (AFR) facility to store spent fuel.

The AFR facility was supposed to be built in five years, but this had not been done. In 2013, the court granted five years to NPCIL, till July 2018, to build the storage unit.

Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant is situated in Koodankulam in the Tirunelveli district of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

It is the single largest nuclear power station in India.

The reactors are pressurized water reactor of Russian design.

KKNPP is scheduled to have six VVER-1000 reactors with an installed capacity of 6,000 MW of electricity.

They are one of three types of light water reactor (LWR), the other types being boiling water reactors (BWRs) and supercritical water reactors (SCWRs). In a PWR, the primary coolant (water) is pumped under high pressure to the reactor core where it is heated by the energy released by the fission of atoms. The heated water then flows to a steam generator where it transfers its thermal energy to a secondary system where steam is generated and flows to turbines which, in turn, spin an electric generator. In contrast to a boiling water reactor, the pressure in the primary coolant loop prevents the water from boiling within the reactor. All LWRs use ordinary water as both coolant and neutron moderator.

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