Former President A P J Abdul Kalam on Sunday fully backed the operation of the Koodankulan Nuclear Power Plant, saying it was “safe” and was needed for the development of Tamil Nadu’s economy.
“The plant is safe in all aspects. There is no need to worry about the safety aspect of the plant, as it is in a low frequency seismic zone. There is also no threat of a Tsunami as the plant is 1,300 km away from the seismic centre point. Besides, the plant is 13.5 metres above sea level,” he said.
A votary of nuclear energy, Kalam, who is on a mission to allay fears about the safety of the plant, held discussions with scientists and engineers of the Indo-Russian joint venture, including Nuclear Power Corporation Chairman S K Jain.
Kalam’s visit comes amid the continuing standoff on the Rs 13,600 crore project, whose first unit was scheduled to be commissioned in December.
“I came here to know about the safety aspect of the plant and I will convey my opinion to the officials concerned, the committee and government.”
However, he expressed his willingness to clarify any doubts or questions raised by the people over the plant.
“People should have confidence in the government, in the experts and engineers who are building the plant,” he said.
He recalled an accident in which six scientists were injured while checking the Rohini satellite in 1979, but he became more resolute to work for the satellite system.
Similarly, people should have confidence in the safety of the plant and believe assurances given by officials, he said.
He said all safety aspects have been provided, including automatic cooling of the plant in the event of generator failure after power goes off, ‘double wall’ protection for KNPP workers inside and outside, structural safety and container to store the 25 per cent residual fuel from the plant.
Kalam said he was also sure that there would be no damage to the surrounding environment with the setting up of the plant.
The former President said ‘bath tub’ facility has been provided to flush core melt waste.
“There is a solution in the tub which will take care of all radiation problems. There will be no radiation at all. The workers inside and outside the plant are 100 per cent safe.”
Noting that six nuclear accidents have occurred so far, he said, “I can say there is no chance for the plant here to get affected in any way by earthquakes or Tsunami.”
On his earlier statement about going in for thorium-based nuclear reactors, Kalam said efforts are on in this direction and technology is being finetuned.
“In another 15 years thorium based reactors will come (to India)”