Business Standard

No need to close Kalpakkam plant post withdrawal of tsunami alert

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State-run (NPC) has made it clear that the operations at the 440 MW Kalpakkam plant was quite normal and there was no need to either cut the power generation or shut down the plant following the withdrawal of warning by Indonesia and National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).

NPC Chairman and Managing Director SK Jain told Business Standard: "The warning was issued at around 2 pm after a quake with a preliminary magnitude of 8.9 hit waters off westernmost Aceh province of Indonesia. There has not been any effect in Andaman and Nicobar. Subsequently, the warning has been withdrawn by Indonesia and NDMA and therefore Kalpakkam plant will not be shut down neither generation will be reduced. The plant is functioning quite normal."

He informed that an emergency control room headed by one of the NPC directors would be in operation 24X7 and it would keep constant touch with plants.

Jain admitted that had the tsunami waves reached Indian coast NPC may have explored an option of shut down of the Kalpakkam plant.

As far as Kudankulam plant is concerned, Jain said it was absolutely safe as it was 7.5 metre above the coast. Kalpakkam and Kudankulam plants are situated in seismic zone II which are the lowest sesmic hazard zones.

Jain recalled that the tsunami, which was generated in December 2004, was due to high intensity earthquake in Indonesia-Sumatra island. The plant was not damaged during 2004 tsunami. Subsequently, NPC constructed a tsunami wall by spending Rs 10 crore by involving IIT, Chennai and couple of other organisations. Besides, Jain informed that special trees have been planted which would reduce the impact of tsunami waves near the Kalpakkam plant.

However,  the department of atomic energy had said in its release in December 2004 that 61 people had died in townships and villages surrounding the plant, of which 31 worked at the plant.

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