New nuclear reactors at the Kudankulam nuclear plant will withstand crash of Cessna-type aircraft and tsunami waves several times more intense than the ones that damaged Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan last year.
These are some of the reasons likely to be cited by the environment ministry for giving approval to four new reactors at the Kudankulum nuclear plant which has witnessed a long spell of protests from local residents.
The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) has sought the ministry’s clearance under the coastal regulation zone act for the 6,000-MW plant being set up with a loan from the Russian government. The two reactors have already been built and NPCIL had sought permission to construct four more.
The ministry’s expert appraisal committee (EAC) has asked it to approve the expansion stating that the plant has most advanced safety features.
“Active safety systems have a backup of passive systems also. To increase redundancy, each active safety systems are supplied from four independent and separated channels,” the panel said.
On structural safety, it said the plant’s elevation was designed to cope with tsunami and subsequent flooding. The plant system, structures and components are designed to withstand quakes, explosions and other natural calamities and can bear Cessna-type aircraft crash, it said. Cessna is small aircraft that can fly at a high speed. The EAC, however, has not explained why not impact of a bigger aircraft crash was assessed.
The clearance comes at the time when Aruna Roy, a member of Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council, has sought Gandhi’s intervention to make the safety aspects of the plant public. Roy had written to Gandhi after the NPCIL failed to comply with the Central Information Commission’s decision to make the safety reports public.