Indian N-Plants Withstood Quake, Tsunami: NPCIL

Indian N-Plants Withstood Quake, Tsunami: NPCIL
With the devastating earthquake in Japan sending alarm bells concerning the safety of nuclear installations worldwide, NCPIL today said Indian nuclear plants have remained "safe" during two natural calamities in the last decade but there was no room for "complacency".

"However, we can not be complacent and therefore (we are) closely observing the experiences of the rarest event that is taking place in Japan where nuclear plants in northeast part are affected following severe and devastating earthquake and tsunami," Nuclear Power Corporation of India said.

Despite the major earthquake in Bhuj on January 26, 2001, the Kakrapar Atomic Power Station near Surat in Gujarat continued to operate "safely".

"Similarly, during the Tsunami in Tamil Nadu in December 2004, Madras Atomic Power Station (MAPS) was safely shut down without any radiological consequences. The plant was restarted in a matter of days after regulatory review," NPCIL said in a statement here.

The KKNPP (Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant) in Tamil Nadu, where two new reactors of 1000 MW capacity each are under construction, also remained unaffected by the Tsunami because of the higher than sea-level site of the plant.

Authorities said all the 20 operating plants of NPCIL undergo periodical safety review and upgradation of required safety features with clearance from the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board.

NPCIL currently operates 20 reactors with installed capacity of 4780 MW. Of these, two are Boiling Water Reactors (BWRs) of 160 MW each (units 1 and 2), while others are Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs).

The safety of these BWR plants was reanalysed a few years ago and was reviewed further by Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB).

Following this, the two BWRs at TAPS-1&2 have been renovated, and upgraded with additional safety features to meet the latest safety standards, NPCIL said.

The PHWRs are of different design than BWRs and have multiple, redundant and diverse shutdown systems as well as cooling water systems.

In depth review of events such as quake, Tsunami, etc have been made for all the plants, and necessary reinforcement features based on the outcome of these reviews have been incorporated, it said.

The developments in Japan will be reviewed in detail in the due course, as the detailed information becomes available. NPCIL is gathering information from various agencies like World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO), International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Tokyo Electric Power company (TEPCO) in this regard, the statement added.

Meanwhile, seismologists here have said earlier that not all Indian reactors are on the coast.

The Indian coastline is more than 2000 km away from Sunda trench where major earthquakes can occur as against Japanese reactors affected by Tsunami are located a few hundred km away from zones that are "highly" prone to quakes.
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