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HindustanTimes Mon,20 Oct 2014

Kalpakkam nuclear complex safe: officials

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Chennai, October 31, 2012
First Published: 19:39 IST(31/10/2012) | Last Updated: 19:43 IST(31/10/2012)

Kalpakkam nuclear complex, located about 70km south of Chennai, is absolutely safe after Cyclone Nilam hit the coastal areas of Tamil Nadu and both the units are operating normally, officials said on Wednesday.

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Talking to the Hindustan Times from sea shore, M Venkatachalam, Madras Atomic Power Station (MAPS) operating superintendent, said that all emergency systems are go and are activated.

"We are on high alert, adequate additional manpower and resources have been pressed into service and there is absolutely no cause for any concern," he said after a preliminary inspection of the nuclear complex that also houses a fast breeder reactor (500 MW) which is being set up.

"I am standing on the sea shore as the cyclone is crossing and I see no problem whatsoever," he told HT over the phone from Kalpakkam.

Earlier, plant site director K Ramamurthy, his last day in office after superannuating, in a statement said "all structures and equipment were designed to withstand even the wind velocity of 160 kmph."

The met office expected wind speeds of up to 80kmph to 90kmph to lash the coast as cyclone crosses over.

"All agencies have been given instructions for remedial measures and kept in standby alert. Additional personnel have been deployed to keep vigil on important systems," Ramamurthy said in the statement.

"We do not expect any flooding here due to cyclone," said Prabhat Kumar, chairman and managing director of Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Ltd (Bhavini), which is erecting the fast breeder reactor.

"The sodium tanks (sodium is the coolant in the reactor) have been fully covered to prevent any risk of water contact. Firefighting equipment is also in place," he said.

Another official said since the waves are only a meter high, they would pose no threat at all to the complex, which can withstand up to 3 meter high waves.

The met office predicted waves to rise up to 1-1.5 metres due to Cyclone Nilam.

Incidentally, when Cyclone Thane hit Cuddalore and Puduchery last December, there was no disruption at Kalpakkam.


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