MUMBAI: Nuclear plants in India are safe but a safety review would be carried out in light of the massive earthquake in Japan, the establishment has assured as it attempted to allay fears following the damage to nuclear plants in that country.
The Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) are closely monitoring the situation. They are in touch with the World Association of Nuclear Operators, Tokyo Centre, the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum, World Nuclear Association and the International Atomic Energy Agency.
“In-depth review of all such events has been done for all the plants and necessary reinforcement features based on the outcome of these reviews have been incorporated as a laid-down procedure. The event of Japan will be reviewed in detail in due course as the detailed information becomes available. Resulting out of such a review, any reinforcement as needed in Indian reactors will be implemented,” the NPCIL said in a statement released late Sunday.
An NPCIL official said in the statement that Indian nuclear plants maintain the highest levels of safety as per international norms and have withstood major natural disasters in the past. In India, NPCIL currently operates 20 nuclear power reactors – as compared to 54 in Japan – with an installed capacity of 4,780 MW, including two Boiling Water Reactors (BWRs) and the rest Pressurised Heavy Water Reactor (PHWRs). Their safety was re-analysed some years back and reviewed by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board.
The PHWRs are designed differently than the BWRs and they also have multiple shutdown systems as well as cooling water systems. The Indian nuclear plants have proven their safety during the severe trembler in Gujarat in 2001 when the Kakrapar Atomic Power continued to operate safely and supplied much-needed energy to the affected regions, the statement said.