The Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) and Nuclear Power Corporation India Ltd (NPCIL), at a joint press conference on Monday, reiterated that Indian nuclear power plants were quite safe and the necessary strengthening of safety and security applications would be done in due course of time.
AEC and NPC officials, who do not want to be quoted, said under the Centre’s directive, a technical review would be undertaken of all the 20 plants in the country to ensure these can withstand the impact of a Japan-like earthquake and tsunami. They said India’s nuclear plants were situated in a less seismic zone compared to Japan and they do not pose similar threats.
The officials explained in case of the proposed 10,000-Mw Jaitapur plant in Maharashtra, the site was near the sea but located on a 25-metre high plateau.
AEC and NPC also made it clear that radiation from Fukushima plant would not reach India, as the distance was almost well over 5,500 km and the wind direction was north-east towards the Pacific. “There will be a large dilution of the activity by the time it reaches India. The expected travel time is more than two weeks. There is no danger of radiation coming to India,” said AEC member Ratan Kumar Sinha.
AEC chairman A K Banerjee said the designs of the country’s nuclear power plants were based on the maximum earthquake potential of a site, which was around 6.5 on the Richter scale in case of India. “Another factor of importance is the shortest distance of the causative fault from the plant site, which decides the acceleration value for which the plant structures are to be designed. This translates to 0.2g acceleration value, where g is acceleration due plus gravity. In some sites, where the potential is higher, a value of up to 0.3g has been chosen,” he added.
NPC Chairman and Managing Director SK Jain said that NPC had to take regulatory clearance from the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board every five years and therefore NPC did augment its safety and security applications. NPC’s director (technical) SA Bharadwaj said majority of Indian nuclear power plants have got a passive safety system where manual operations in the wake of Japan-like disasters are not required.