Concern over proposed nuke plant in Jaitapur

The Geological Survey of India, in reply to an RTI application, revealed that the site and the surrounding area experienced 91 tremors between 1985 and 2005, ranging from 2.9 to 6.3 on the Richter Scale and the area falls in Zone IV.

Anti-nuclear activists have been questioning the safety of the Jaitapur plant, which, according to the quake hazard zoning of India, comes under Zone III—a moderate risk zone— on the scale of I to V.

Activists arguing against the project say fears about the safety of Indian civil nuclear plants increased as Japan scrambled to avert a disastrous meltdown at Fukushima plant that was damaged when a massive earthquake and tsunami struck the northeast coast, killing over 1,000 people. But the authorities say there was nothing to worry about.

The government-owned Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd, which operates all nuclear plants in India, said the reactors in the country were adequately safe to meet any emergency. S K Malhotra, who heads the public awareness division of the Department of Atomic Energy, said the Indian plants “are designed to operate safely, even in the unlikely event of any accident. It is so strong that the plants can even withstand a missile strike. All modern nuclear reactors, including those in India, are designed and built strong enough so that the fuel inside the reactor does not spill out.”

He said in case of an accident, the design of the plants are made such “that the reactor automatically goes into safe mode, switches itself off but continues cooling the plant. This prevents leakage.” 

Nuclear scientist and former secretary of Atomic Energy Regulatory Board K S Parthasarathi is confident that “the country (India) will stand” any calamity.

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