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“40% of expenditure on nuke plants goes for safety measures”

Special Correspondent
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Only a nuclear bomb can damage a plant, says IGCAR officer

Shivaramu, Scientific Officer, IGCAR, Kalpakkam, speaking at an awareness programme in Vellore on Saturday.— Photo: D.Gopalakrishnan
Shivaramu, Scientific Officer, IGCAR, Kalpakkam, speaking at an awareness programme in Vellore on Saturday.— Photo: D.Gopalakrishnan

Forty per cent of the money spent on nuclear power plants goes for implementation of safety measures, according to Shivaramu, Scientific Officer, Radiological Safety Division, Safety Group, Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR), Kalpakkam.

Speaking at an awareness programme for school students on ‘Nuclear Energy in Future’ organised by the VIT University here on Saturday, Mr. Shivaramu said nuclear power plants assume significance today in the light of the fact that within the next 50 to 100 years, the world would face a situation where there would be no petrol. To generate 12,000 units of power, we need a tonne of oil or 1.5 tonnes of coal, whereas six gm of uranium is sufficient to generate that much power. India has 78,000 tonnes of uranium which can support production of 10,000 MW of power per year for the next 50 years. The Kalpakkam Atomic Power Plant uses all three fuels - uranium, thorium and plutonium, he said.

The Scientific Officer said that in future, Tamil Nadu would be the highest producer of nuclear energy in the country, provided people cooperate. While two units of 1,000 MW each are likely to be commissioned at the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) soon, another four units of 1,000 MW each are planned for the KKNPP. While the Kalpakkam plant was producing 390 MW with two units of 220 MW and 170 MW respectively, another 500 MW unit is likely to be commissioned next year. Answering a question on whether nuclear plants could withstand natural disasters such as tsunami and earthquake, Mr. Shivaramu said that during the 2004 tsunami, 40 persons were killed in Kalpakkam. But, there was no damage to the nuclear plant as it was shut down immediately after the killer waves truck. “Except a nuclear bomb, nothing can damage the nuclear plants,” he said.

Answering another question on whether there was any possibility of damage to a nuclear plant due to acid rains and pollution, he said that there is a system of regular monitoring of corrosion in nuclear plants and there was no need for any fear on this account.

Sankar Viswanathan, vice-president, VIT, presided.

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