Scientists say all is well with K'kulam

Allegations have no factual basis

A workshop for journalists on Tuesday came in handy for the DAE to ring in not only all the safety aspects of India’s nuclear power programme, but also to whittle down “ill-informed criticisms” against nuclear power by NGOs. Almost all the facilities at Kalpakkam were thrown open to the media as part of the event.

Referring to the anti-KNPP protests, IGCAR Director S C Chetal said, “We have no answers for imagination. Any aspect on the safety of a nuclear plant will be answered, if they are based on scientific fact.”   

Dispelling apprehensions about the safety of  the 20 operating nuclear reactors and the upcoming projects, Chetal said whether it was nuclear or thermal power plant, all guidelines of the Ministry of Environment and Forests had to be complied with, including coolant water discharge into the sea or occupational safety of the radiation workers. Both the (Russian-built) reactors at Kudankulam and the Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR), a wholly indigenous effort in building India’s first fast reactor with a mixed oxide fuel are equally safe, he said.

The construction of the 500 MW PFBR  “will be completed by middle of 2012,” said Dr. Prabhat Kumar, Project Director, ‘Bhavini’, the special purpose vehicle of Nuclear Power Corporation of India.  

“India has not seen a single case of thyroid cancer so far due to radiation, at least in the vicinity of a nuclear plant,” claimed B Venkatraman, Associate Director, Radiological Safety and Environmental Group, IGCAR.

Regarding cancer cases in villages around Kalpakkam, he said studies have shown that they were not due to radiation or any incident of over-exposure of radioactive rays.
It was part of the normal incidence of cancer in any population and the cancer cases reported here “is below national average.”

“We monitor the radiation received by occupational workers on a daily basis. We have  built a model that predicts the wind speed and direction of noxious fumes to help in evacuating people in case of any emergency,” he added.
 

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