Thiruvananthapuram faces high risk from Kudankulam nuclear plant and people of the city will have to be evacuated if an explosion occurs at Kudankulam nuclear plant, T. Shivaji Rao, Director, Environmental Studies, GITAM University, Visakhapatnam, has said.

If the wind flows from South East during an accident, Thiruvanathapuram district would be exposed to high levels of radiation and lakhs of people would be forced to vacate their homes, offices, agriculture fields and industries and run for safety within two days of the accident.

They would be able to return only after 10 years, that too after decontamination of the area, he said.

Dr. Rao said that similar situation would arise in Tamil Nadu, and urban areas such Tirunelveli and Palayamkotta would be hit if the wind is blowing in that direction.

In an email to The Hindu, Dr. Rao said that several questions ought to be asked by the people before the expert committee on Koodankulam nuclear plant.

These would include questions whether the Nuclear Power Corporation and the Central government had prepared environment assessment reports including risk analysis and disaster management plans to deal with all kinds of accidents including terrorist attacks.

Questions also needed to be asked as demarcation of emergency planning zones and preparedness to evacuate lakhs of people in case of accident.

The economic costs of damage and decommissioning of the reactors also needed to be worked out.

He noted that probabilistic risk assessment of nuclear reactors in United States had shown unacceptable accident frequency.

Nuclear accidents were bound to happen in India for various reasons such as lack of training and understanding of the system and poor work culture.

Passive systems incorporated as additional feature in new reactors might not help in case of internal sabotage, bombings or terrorist attacks.