After strict precautions were taken for the establishment of the two units of India’s Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP), it is reported that it can survive an accident like the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan, during the Tsunami of 2011. In an interview with The Hindu,Vladimir Angelov, Director of projects for the ASE group of companies in India, said that the Units 1 and 2 were analysed in terms of the lessons learnt from the disaster, that followed the Tsunami. The Indo- Russia cooperation, the Rosatom state nuclear corporation is to construct six units of VVER-1000 light water reactors at Kundankulam. Even as Russian nuclear officials claim to have taken strict measures to avoid any such incident, anti-nuclear activists dub the reactors as “unsafe”, calling them massive risk for the people living in close proximity to the reactors. The fishermen inhabiting the village closest to the reactors reportedly protested against the establishment and forced the authorities to delay the start of the reactors. Such concerns are of genuine interest as the Kakrapar Atomic Power Station in Gujurat has been shut for nearly four months after a leak forced the emercency shutting of a fully operational plant.
Additional safety measures are being taken in Units 3 and 4 to withstand any seismic, climatic or technical impact. “There are a number of advanced active and passive safety systems which ensure unprecedented design-level nuclear and ecological safety of the plant,” Angelov said. The reactors are protected from the impact of any earthquakes, tsunamis or any kind of anamolies, he added. Double localising and protective containment, passive heat removal system, core catcher and closed industrial water intake are some of the incorporated safety features.
Angelov even went on to say that the reactor can take the impact from from a falling airplane and still stand. He claims that Kulamkulam is the safest nuclear plant in the world. Considering the huge amount of seawater that gets drawn to the cool the reactors, measures have been implemented to preserve the biological diversity of the Mannar Bay. Seawater is to be supplied from the “bucket” constructed in the sea, allowing the fish and planktons to return to the sea.
The first unit supplies power to Tamil Nadu (562.5 MW), Puducherry (33.5 MW), Kerala (133 MW), Karnataka (221 MW) and Andhra Pradesh (50 MW). The total outlay on the two units of Kudankulam project has been over Rs 17,000 crore. As the second unit generates power to its full capacity, the total atomic power capacity in Tamil Nadu would go up to 2,440 MW.
As India is ready to receive 12 reactorsa for two sites, as per the joint statement by India and Russia in December 2015, one can only hope that Angelov’s words hold true and thousands do not have to face another Fukushima.
(with agency inputs)