Dramatically donning the “angelic doctor” role for the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited, which has built the plant in Tirunelveli district, Kalam from Saturday midnight to Sunday afternoon did a thorough review of all safety aspects of KNPP comprising two units of 1000 mw each, after which he declared that it is safe in all aspects.
“Kalam surprised us all with his short-notice visit and landed in Kudankulam last night itself,” a top KNPP official, who accompanied the former President all through the complex inspection, told Deccan Herald over the phone on Sunday from Kudankulam. At the KNPP township, Kalam promptly sat down for business on Saturday and did a detailed review of all aspects of the plant with the NPCIL officials, including its CMD S K Jain, the official said. After a lengthy interaction, he “barely slept for three hours,” he said.
On Sunday Kalam visited the plant complex. “He particularly wanted to check two important safety systems, namely the “passive heat removal system and the core catcher system that will instantly get activated in the event of any emergency,” he said.
Kalam reviewed both these along with the other scientists and engineers.
The former DRDO scientist, who had played a crucial role in the Pokhran II nuclear tests under the erstwhile Vajpayee regime, then inspected the first unit’s reactor building, followed by a review of the functions at the “main control centre.” Kalam took a look at the water intake structures and quizzed about the height of the various structures above sea level. “Kalam was fully satisfied with all safety and other systems,” the KNPP official said.
Later, addressing the media at Kudankulam, the former President said the objective of his KNPP mission was to see for himself all the safety systems in place.
In a reassuring message to the people, particularly the local community, Kalam asserted the plant was safe and well protected.
Making several points at the press conference, Kalam said that even in the event of an “atomic explosion,” the plant was very safe as everything will be contained within the reactor itself. “There will not be any radioactive materials diffusion,” he assured the people.
Kalam said 75 per cent of the enriched uranium, the fuel, will be consumed within the reactor itself in the power generating process, while the remaining 25 per cent radioactive waste will be stored in a safe “underground facility they (KNPP) have generated”.