No nuclear accident in Fukushima: Indian N-experts

Top officials of the Department of Atomic Energy said India`s civil nuclear programme will continue without any compromise on safety parameters.

Last Updated: Mar 14, 2011, 23:41 PM IST

Mumbai: Top officials of the Department of
Atomic Energy on Monday said India`s civil nuclear programme will
continue without any compromise on safety parameters, and
claimed what happened in Japan`s Fukushima plant in wake of
the deadly earthquake was not a "nuclear accident".

"Safety is the overriding parameter and DAE cannot take
any shortcut and Indian plants are safe but after analysing
the situation in the nuclear reactors of Fukushima, which have
been affected due to an unprecedented Tsunami preceded by
high magnitude earthquake, we will revisit the safety aspects
of our plants," top DAE officials said.

"There is no nuclear accident or incident in Japan`s
Fukushima plants. It is a well planned emergency preparedness
programme which the nuclear operators of the Tokyo Electric
Power Company are carrying out to contain the residual heat
after the plants had an automatic shutdown following a major
earthquake," said SK Jain, the Chairman and Managing Director
of Nuclear Power Corporation.

Once the plant shuts down after an emergency situation
automatically, the fission reaction stops and it is only the
residual heat that has to be quenched and that is what the
Japanese were doing, Chairman of Atomic Energy Commission, Dr
Srikumar Banerjee said.

"Because of the unprecedented Tsunami, the external power
was unavailable for the emergency diesel generators to take
over... during the process the pressure was building up in the
reactor which had to be released in a phased manner, that
resulted in the exothermic reaction due to hydrogen
generation.

"It was purely a chemical reaction and not a nuclear
emergency as described by some section of media," Banerjee
said.

"It is a big challenge for our colleagues in Japan to
fight an unusual situation due to natural disaster and we
salute them as they are managing in spite of the danger,"
Banerjee said.

Talking about Indian reactors, Jain said they were "safe"
but there was "no complacence on safety."

Regarding the French EPR reactors which are proposed for
Jaitapur plant in Ratnagiri district, Banerjee and Jain said
the design of EPR was based on the design experience of 58
reactors running in Europe, and when the Indian EPR will come
up it would have seen the experience of five such similar
plants in Finland, France, China and UK.

In the case of Japanese nuclear plants it was the
station blackout which was the root cause and such a thing
will not happen in the existing as well as future Indian
reactors, they said.

On the Jaitapur site, Banerjee said it was much above the
sea level, and on the western coast, probability of Tsunami
"is also very less".

Jain said India was uniquely placed as it had a
centralised emergency operating centre with well drawn
procedures scrutinised by regulators.

"Our plants also have multiple level of heat removal
system," he added.

PTI