An important milestone was surpassed this morning at the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant in Tamil Nadu where an agitation had stalled the progress on the plant for several months. According to the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL), India's nuclear operator, a mock drill was 'successfully' completed at Kudankulam that simulated a Fukushima type of disaster.
A sample mock drill was conducted at Kudankulam where it was simulated that there has been a meltdown in the plant and radiation had leaked out. An off-site emergency was declared at Nakkanery village which is situated at about seven kilometres from the plant. According to the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant Site director R S Sundar, "the drill was absolutely successful." The district collector of Tirunelvelli district was the in-charge for this exercise and nuclear officials acted under his command.
This mock drill is a mandatory requirement by India's atomic regulator, the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB), before the actual uranium fuel could be loaded into the two 1000 MW reactors being made there with Russian help.
This is the last and final mock drill that was to be conducted before the reactors can be operated. If all goes well the reactors could start operation in a few weeks.
But the moot point is will this satisfy the people who have been agitating against the commissioning of the nuclear plant, who have demanded a complete review of the safety of the plant.