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Panel seeks added measures for protection of reactors near shores

Staff Reporter

NPCIL committed to incorporating special committee's recommendations

Mumbai: A high-level special committee, formed by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) to study the incident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan, has sought added provisions for the protection of shores at the Madras and Tarapur Atomic Power Stations, according to a press release by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) on Wednesday.

The committee's list of recommendations include “additional shore protection measures at the Madras Atomic Power Station [MAPS] and the Tarapur Atomic Power Station [TAPS], which are located on sea coasts; automatic reactor shutdown initiation on sensing seismic activity; increasing the passive power source capacity for monitoring and control purposes, for longer durations”, among others.

Studies by the committee showed that Indian reactors were equipped to handle natural events and “extended loss of power scenarios”. In addition to the examining the two aforementioned stations, the committee reviewed the Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWR) at the Rajasthan Atomic Power Station (RAPS) 1 and 2, the Narora Atomic Power Project (NAPP) and Standardised PHWR type of reactors.

“In the case of the MAPS, the finished floor-levels of the buildings are higher than the maximum flood-level postulated. This station had already handled the Indian Ocean Tsunami in December, 2004, successfully. Core cooling was maintained without any interruption. Additional measures, in the form of tsunami bunds, have been constructed along the shore. This will further reduce the intensity of tsunami,” the NPCIL said.

The NPCIL said: “TAPS 1 and 2… have been modernised and brought on par with the current requirements by doing a number of modifications in the period 2004-2006. The seismic capability of both structures has been found to be adequate for the seismic zone in which they are located. The plant is found to be safe for the maximum height of tsunami that can be generated by the Makran fault. Additional shore protection measures are also being undertaken, which will absorb considerable energy from the tsunami waves. .”

For the first PHWR reactors at the RAPS 1and 2, “a separate, Station Blackout Diesel generator is provided at a height of about three metres above flood-level. Water resources available in several tanks at a higher elevation are adequate for the safety systems.”

For the Standardized PHWR type of reactors, “the seismic design is adequate to cater to all seismic events that can occur in the seismic zone in which the plants are located. There is also a margin of 1-4 metres above flood-level, postulated for the respective sites. The water inventory at these sites will also suffice for meeting the requirements for a period of more than 10 days and in some cases up to even 30 days. The spent-fuel-pool-water inventory is also assessed to be adequate for more than 10 days,” the NPCIL said.

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