Spotlight/News Analysis (10th August 2016)
Dedication of Kudankulam Plant to the Nation
India Russia relationship has moved a mile ahead with the dedication of the 1st Unit of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant. With 1000 Mega Watt, Kudankulam Unit 1 has become the largest single unit of electrical power in India. This also signals the joint commitment of both the nations to develop a partnership ahead for green growth.
The first unit of this plant attained criticality in July 2013. Since then, more than 10,800 million units of power have been generated. It was further integrated with the southern grid and commercial power generation began by the end of December 2014.
- For a grossly power deficient nation like India, this is a big boost in power generation to meet the demand-supply gap. With 1000 MW power generation, up to some extent Kudankulam Power Plant will be successful in decreasing the power starving of states like Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
- Being a clean source of energy, it will help in reducing the dependence on fossil fuels and further addresses the issue of global warming due to Greenhouse effect.
- In a small area high power generation is possible. There is no such requirement like coal loads to be transported to the power stations through wagons in this case. Thus, there is no question of fly ash disposal.
- India depends on other nations for supply of Uranium. There are not much resources of Uranium in the country itself. Taking into account the sanctions implemented on transportation of nuclear elements, India cannot be said to be fully secure in terms of energy.
- Design of this plant has been done using Russian technologies. Although there are a lot of inputs from Indian nuclear technologists to make the nuclear reactors work according to India’s conditions but we still need support from other nations.
Public Opposition and their Perception:
The opposition from public has delayed the operation of the plant by ten years already. It appeared that most of the agitators were fishermen concerned with their safety. However, it has been assured by the Indian technologists that Kudankulam nuclear reactors are one of the safest in the world. There have been no nuclear accidents so far in India and this is a very good safety record for the country. There are rumors among local people which can be eliminated when the Atomic Energy Department and Nuclear Power Generating Companies interact with these people to increase awareness among them and remove their fears.
Safety Measures Taken:
- KKNPP is well protected from a possible rise in sea level by locating the entire plant site at a higher elevation. The safe grade elevation of KKNPP site has been kept at 7.5 metres above the MSL (mean sea level) and a shore protection bund has been constructed all along the shore to a height of + 8.0 metres to the MSL.
- Passive heat removal system to provide cooling automatically.
- Double containment.
- Core catcher to provide safety in the unlikely event of fuel meltdown.
- Passive hydrogen recombiners which do not need any power supply to absorb hydrogen liberated inside the containment.
Thus it can be safely concluded that Kudankulam reactors are built with state of the art technology, with best safety features that will not impact our environment and the public. It will further take Indo-Russia strategic partnership to a new level.