The Narora power station in Uttar Pradesh is surrounded by one of the densest concentrations of population among the 21l nuclear reactors spread across the world, making any accident there riskier, international scientific analysis has concluded.
The plant has the fourth highest population — 16 million — within a radius of 75 km among all nuclear reactors the world over, the analysis by journal Nature and researchers at Columbia University’s NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SDAC).The analysis was carried out following the Fukushima disaster after which the Japanese government has forced or advised all 1,72,000 citizens living within a 30 km radius to evacuate. The Fukushima incident has reignited debate on the need to focus on population density near nuclear power plants as a risk factor to take into account to tackle with possible accidents.
The analysis found that the KANNUP plant in Karachi, Pakistan has the highest population within a radius of 30 km. A total of 21 plants have a population in excess of 1 million within a 30 km radius, with five plants located amid more than 3 million civilians in the 30 km radius area.
The research next analysed plants in terms of population density in a 75 km radius, and found the Guangdong and Lindau twin plants in southern China the most dangerous on this parameter. The twin plants have a population of 28 million within the 75 km zone — largely because of Hong Kong, Nature has said.
The Indian Point plant near New York has the third highest population (17.3 million) in the 75 km zone followed by the Narora plant.
The Narora plant has 79 million civilians within a 150 km radius — including Delhi — which the researchers suggest is an approximate distance to which any direct consequences from an accident at Narora can effect. The Fukushima plant, by comparison, had 7.7 million in the same zone around it.