People have misconception on N plants: AEC chief

Strongly defending the importance of nuclear power plants in the nation, Atomic Energy Commission Chairperson and Department of Atomic Energy Secretary to Government of India, Dr Srikumar Banerjee said that there is misconception in the minds of the people about nuclear power plants which should be sorted out.

Atomic Energy Commission Chairperson Dr Srikumar Banerjee having a look at the facility after inaugurating the Centre for Application of Radioisotopes and Radiation Technology (CARRT) in Mangalore University on Thursday. DH PHOTOSpeaking to media persons after inaugurating the Centre for Application of Radioisotopes and Radiation Technology (CARRT) in Mangalore University on Thursday, he said that nuclear power plants are not harmful as they are deemed to be.

The Atomic Energy Commission takes every safety measure to assure that nuclear plant does not pose any environmental hazard and threat on the human life. No scientific evidences are available so far to prove that radiation from the nuclear plants has caused cancer disease.

“We are all aware of the radiation emitted from the nuclear power plants and every step is taken to minimise the amount of radiation leaked. The radiation level in a nuclear power plant is anywhere between one microsievert to ten microsievert, whereas it is as high as 50  microsievert when a flight operates. The radiation is much higher in granite, hence Hyderabad (produces granites) has high radiation,” he said.

On Kudankulam plant

When asked about the opposition for Kudankulam nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu, Dr Banerjee said, “why do people talk only about the opposition. Why don’t you count the number of people who are wanting it (the power plant), which is much more than the people who oppose the plant. There are no possibilities of any damage caused by Kudankulam power plant. Even the studies done by the universities have affirmed that there are no chances of any damage caused by the plant in case of the occurrence of earthquake. As far as radiation is concerned, we would take all care to reduce the radiation level. Extensive outreaching programmes should be conducted to bring awareness among the mass,” he said and added that Tamil Nadu has shortage of power for about 1000 MW.

With the functioning of Kudankulam power plant, the State would get 925 MW power. Affirming his stand that nuclear power plants do not cause any harm, he said there are 20 operating power plants in India and there are around 1400 power plants across the world. Hardly any incidents have occurred so far where nuclear plant has caused damage to the people and environment, he stated.

Seed irradiation

The AEC chairperson informed that 37 verities of seeds including black gram in Maharashtra have been improved through Gamma Irradiation facelift in India. The seeds will be cultivated for seven generations and will be tested. If the seeds show any negative effect even after cultivating for seven generations, then the irradiated seeds will be discarded. The approved seeds will benefit the Indian farming community. The laboratories in the centres like CAART could take up seed irradiating experiments, he said.

Responding to a query on the Kaiga power plant incident in 2009 where 500 workers were said to be exposed to radio active element, Dr Banerjee said, the police have not yet found the culprits and the investigation is still on.

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