`Kudankulam power plant built with full safety`

Kudankulam plant is the country`s biggest nuclear power project and is designed to help meet the rising demand for electricity in India.

Chennai: Responding to the protests over the activating of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP) as also on the safety issue, site director RS Sundar assured that all necessary safety precautions to prevent hazards have been kept in mind while building the nuclear plant.

"So many features are there in the systems to take care of the safety of the plant, people, personnel. Safety means we always talk about three things, about the plant personnel, the general public and the environment. Three things, safety is always ensured that is why 40 percent of the cost has gone only for ensuring the safety of the plant, public and the environment," said Sunder.

The People`s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) organised a black flag protest on July 15 in villages near the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP), alleging that the plant has been made operational to avoid further scrutiny.

Recently, many protesters and social activists had raised the question of damage caused to the plant in case of a tsunami and the subsequent radiation leakage and devastation that follows.

RS Sundar said that the plant structure was built at least 25 feet above sea level to cover the risks of natural disasters such as tsunami.

"There is an analysis that has been carried out, if there is a tsunami what will be the rise in the sea level what will be the wave run-up, put together what will be the rise in the level. So how safe is it to build a plant structure. So our plant structures are all built 25 feet above the main sea level, so we are well protected against the tsunami and there is no concern at all as far a tsunami is concerned in fact our Indian local villages, our coastal villages they will be badly affected," he Sunder.

Sunder explained that one unit of the nuclear power plant was active and had reached criticality, a stage when the nuclear reactor reaches a self sustainable nuclear fission reaction, while dummy tests were smoothly progressing on other.

He also spoke of features introduced in the nuclear plant to catch any radioactive leakage and a cooling system to ensure the reactor never overheats.

When the issue of environmental pollution due to improper disposal of nuclear waste was brought up, Sunder explained that nothing in a nuclear reaction was a waste and the leftover uranium could first be treated and preserved and then re-used.

Kudankulam plant is the country`s biggest nuclear power project and is designed to help meet the rising demand for electricity in Asia`s third-largest economy where power blackouts are frequent.

This project was delayed because of repeated protests and agitations by the locals over safety issues. The Supreme Court gave a green signal to this project in May. Tamil Nadu is expected to receive 400 MW from the plant during the initial production to tackle the problem of power deficit in the state.


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