‘Inadequate draining of hot water caused last month’s accident’

The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) has ruled out any deficiency in the construction of a valve in Unit 1 of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant where six people were injured last month due to spillage of hot water during maintenance work. In a report, the nuclear regulator blamed the accident on “inadequate draining of hot water” before taking up the routine maintenance work of the valve.

On May 14, six people were injured — three workers of the NPCIL and three contract workers — during the maintenance of the three-way hot water inlet valve to a healer loop in the turbine of KNPP Unit 1.

The unit was shut down during the maintenance work.

“Preliminary investigation into the incident reveals that hot water fell on persons during dismantling of the valve of 500 mm size leading to burn injury.

“This was due to inadequate draining of the hot water before the maintenance work. It is concluded that there was no deficiency with respect to the construction of the said valve,” AERB said.

Sources in Rosatom, the Russian state atomic agency which has built the reactor, said that when the plant is closed for maintenance, the water should not be released in less than 24 hours. But in the case of KNPP, the accident occurred as the water was drained before that period.

Safety measures

India had earlier sought “enhanced safety measures” for KNPP after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident in Japan in 2011.

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