- Sonali Ranade made several tweets supporting the go ahead for the Kodankulam plant. I see things differently. This is not to say either of us is right or wrong, but the need for debate (that the government desperately strives to avoid)
- I find that the activists have provided far more factual data, statistics and examples than the government. If there is exploitation, I see the activists at least making a stab at transparency and education, unlike the government, so this comment makes no sense to me.
- It would be extremely difficult to pinpoint the cause of problems at Fukushima to technical and human error. Evidence points to damage and failure.
- To begin with, “a diesel generator” that failed. There were *13* diesel generators at Fukushima. There have been doubts raised as to their quality and if they were functioning at all.
- An interesting debate into the failure of so many diesel generators at once on a forum has many insights and a participant saying…
- “I read recently that someone who tests backup diesel generators said many of them fail when tested, and many times the periodic tests to make sure they work are not demanding tests — they are turned on briefly and not subjected to serious stress. When needed, they can fail. Unreliability is not uncommon among all backup generators, and may have little to do with nuclear power, tsunamis, or flooding.
- An unrelated example to illustrate that this is not impossible is that 4 diesel backup generators failed in the US between April and October 2011 – with no Tsunami in sight or any kind of flooding. Three of them in the same plant and same event – North Anna plant post an earthquake in August.
- “In the U.S., an average of roughly one diesel generator has failed when needed each year since 1997. Government researchers who examined diesel generator failures in the U.S. from 1997 to 2003 calculated the average odds that a diesel generator would fail to work at some point during an eight-hour run were slightly greater than 2 or 3 percent, depending on which database was analyzed.
- This has rightfully highlighted the need for evaluating the adequacy of emergency systems. However the evaluation has not been done yet and no new protocol or checks are yet in place that could be adopted at Kudankulam (or other plants).
- I don’t know what you mean by that. The reactors had their own cooling. The battery back up died, the diesel backup didn’t work. The cooling system itself had few problems with the possible exception of pipes broken from the earthquake. In fact, the struggle was to get power to them. Or there is something about the crisis I am completely unaware of. Possible. Much has happened.
- All the spent fuel pools were on top of the reactors. The problem with the one at Reactor 4 isn’t its location or capacity but that the building has become too weak from the explosions to support it reliably. A new crisis won’t require collapse. A leak that is faster than the capacity to fill water will do it.About the loading beyond capacity – this is a problem with many reactors around the world. As we struggle at Kudankulam, our reactor at Tarapore has 40 years worth fuel filling its pools. Where to put it? Facilities are being created, but not fast enough yet. Transporting will also be a risk. Currently, there is no place ready for the fuel from Kudankulam either. We are still in the process of building one for the reactors we have functioning for decades.
- This is a big problem. And we are duplicating it. If you see the photos of Kudankulam, they aren’t all that far apart. The danger isn’t only from hydrogen explosions, but the very real risk that a crisis at one may make operating the others impossible due to radiation. There is very real fear that any one of the reactors or pools getting problems enough to make working impossible for humans will be the end of them all (they are still pumping water to cool them and systems aren’t autonomous. Besides, even if they were, radiation waits for a long, long time)At Jaitapur, we are planning a mega complex and calling it a “nuclear park”. Sounds almost like a health spa.
- This is a concern. This is also a potential concern for Indian plants. Including the upcoming Koodankulam. Actually, specially for the reactors at Kudankulam, since our current experience doesn’t include this technology and there are no operating reactors to share practical operating knowledge with.
- Actually, it was the head of staff taking charge, going against orders and dumping seawater that broke the TEPCO hesitation.
- True. It should have been done sooner. But this is not an emergency procedure at all. It was unprecedented and jugaad born in desperation. It is possible they took time to think of this as a possible solution.
- True, but I don’t think that was the only reason. Post the explosions, few thought the reactors could be used again. Also, it weakens the reactor, so you have to find a permanent solution that much faster, because the reactor will fail.
- TEPCO has much to answer for. Both before and after the accident.
- Many things can be repeated in modern reactors. Failure of cooling systems can happen at any plant. The last few months, a plant in California has been reporting unusual wear in its cooling tubes – the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. Initially, Unit 2 was being investigated, people reassured, etc, but now Unit 3 has been shut down after the leak on January 31st 2012, till the problem can be investigated and fixed.No one knows what kind of checks are done at Indian plants, and there is little confidence that any problems would be reported in mainstream media like in the US. The main problem is our attitude. After being a nuclear power for decades, as the world watched in horror, our authorities were in denial. To quote the article by the excellent M V Ramana (a physicist and professor at Princeton and someone who has regularly brought up concerns about India’s nuclear Industry):
- “On 15 March 2011, NPCIL Chairman SK Jain trivialised what was going on in Japan saying, “There is no nuclear accident or incident in Fukushima… It is a well-planned emergency preparedness programme… (that) the nuclear operators of the Tokyo Electric Power Company are carrying out to contain the residual heat after the plants had an automatic shutdown following a major earthquake.” Such denial would be laughable but when the person thus opining is in charge of India’s power reactor fleet, it ceases to be amusing.
- But there are many others. BARC’s staple response to anything nuclear is to declare it not a concern. The DAE claimed in November 2011 that the total casualties of Fukushima were zero. This was ironic, because my news feed showed the news before that as one of a worker at the plant having been found dead – heart attacks are common deaths for those exposed to radiation. They have risen many times over since the accident in the entire region, and the plant and decontamination works in particular.There isn’t a single reply from the government that answers very valid questions raised by the activists – the impact of the plant on immediate marine life, impact on drinking and agriculture water, evacuation plans, radiation releases as a normal part of the operation of the plant… none. There are questions raised on the Environmental clearance. Even IAEA the great promoter of nuclear energy recommends that plants be built at a distance from population centers. Here, there are homes within a kilometer of the plant.On the other hand, our very unverbal Prime Minister spoke twice. Once to declare that the plant would be started at any cost and the other to declare the activists as being funded by foreign interests.With this kind of a bombastic attitude, I don’t feel reassured on the front of safety at all. Worse, I feel certain that in the event of an radiation leak, unless it was something like Fukushima, the government may not inform people at all to avoid expense and “complications”. It is not as though previous radiation leaks have led to anyone being relocated.
- I don’t believe that the GoI studies at all. It decides to its own profit, collects information, and selectively uses it to point to what it wants to say. If indeed there was such a report, and if indeed it supported the governments stance, it would have been plastered all over the country by now.
Founder at Aam Janata
Vidyut has a keen interest in mass psychology and using it as a lens to understand contemporary politics, social inequality and other dynamics of power within the country. She is also into Linux and internet applications and servers and has sees technology as an important area India lacks security in.
Latest posts by Vidyut (see all)
- Open letter to the Chief Justice of India - April 13, 2019
- Nationwide Protest by NREGA workers #NREGASangharshMorcha - March 2, 2019
- Repression of Activists cannot stop the second Kisan Long March - February 16, 2019