Scientist bats for Koodankulam nuke plant

Last Updated: Saturday, September 24, 2011 - 16:47

Chennai: Batting for nuclear power as an alternative green source of energy auguring well for India`s future energy needs, a senior scientist on Saturday vouched for the safety of the controversial Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project, in the eye of a storm following demands for its closure.

Holding that the very design of the power plant was drawn incorporating various requirements, former vice chairman of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) GR Srinivasan said the power plant was also equipped with some of the most
advanced technical and safety features.

"There will be a requirement of almost none or minimum security measures in case of a Fukushima-like incident. The generation station design too is a collaboration of major requirements," he said at a meeting here organised by Chemical Industries Association to discuss the matter.

Further, different independent equipment with individual power supply to monitor various aspects were also in place and even if one of them detected any problem, it will be immediately communicated, he said.

Citing safety concerns, the local villagers and fishermen in and around Koodankulam have been demanding scrapping of the Indo-Russian collaboration project, set to begin commercial production in December with the commissioning of the first of the 2x1000 MWe reactors.

Srinivasan, also a former director, Projects, Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL), said the plant had features such as better seismic and tsunami resistance and could withstand a Fukushima-like accident and others.

Further, higher life and operatability at 90 percent of
the capacity were other features, he said.

Holding that nuclear energy remains the "safest energy
source," he said world over, countries such as China and Iran
besides India were "going full swing" with the construction of
atomic reactors.

With India possessing 25 per cent of the world`s thorium
deposits, it would help the country generate lakhs of
megawatts of power in the next several decades, he said.

Indicating that India had a safe nuclear regime with
adequate precautionary and safety measures, he said emergency
preparedness exercises were carried out in more frequencies
than other countries.

"We are the only country which includes cattle evacuation
as part of the exercises as people would not move without
them," he said.

He said people living in and around nuclear power plants
such as Tarapore or Kalpakkam had no problems and that marine
life did not sustain any damage as being claimed by
anti-nuclear lobbies.

Performance of nuclear power plants the world over has
been "fairly satisfactory," he said, adding that only three
accidents have occurred in 4,500 reactor years.

Quoting statistics, he said more people died in accidents
and others rather than radiation.

Dr V Venugopal, former Director, Radiochemistry and
Isotope Group, BARC, Mumbai, said nuclear energy would be one
of the key components to meet India`s "large energy
requirements."

He said nuclear energy was "clean," and said any
technology was a "double-edged sword," but it was imperative
to use the "best part of it."

PTI



First Published: Saturday, September 24, 2011 - 16:47

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