Indian safety response to Fukushima

26 July 2011

India has outlined its plans to bolster plant defence and preparedness to handle events of the scale of the tsunami that engulfed Fukushima Daiichi.

The owner and operator of India's 20 nuclear power reactors is Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL). It said that "adequate provisions exist at Indian nuclear power plants to handle station blackout situations and maintain continuous cooling of reactor cores for decay heat removal."


The conclusion came after task forces were dispatched to consider the situation of each of India's four reactor types, based on boiling water, pressurized water with two kinds of containment, and pressurized heavy water.


The report - Safety Evaluation of Indian Nuclear Power Plants Post Fukushima Incident - notes the successful management of incidents of prolonged loss of power supplies at the Narora plant in 1993, a flood at Kakrapara in 1994, and the impact of the Indian Ocean tsunami at Madras in 2004.


Nevertheless, it went on to make several recommendations to boost safety levels and included a roadmap for their implementation, with deadlines ranging from two to 14 months.


Among the main suggestions were installing systems to improve the detection of seismic activity and improve automatic shut down; revising existing emergency operating procedures; re-training workers to deal with such emergencies; and establishing flood-proof enclosures for important electrical power sources.


The capability to top-up coolant water, emergency core cooling systems and used fuel ponds from external sources is to be added in a year-long project. The duration of battery power for instrumentation of basic plant parameters will also be improved.


Over about 14 months, extra sea protection is to be installed at Tarapur and Madras plants. The first step in this project is to determine the size of the required shore protection barriers. At Tarapur, the atmosphere in the containment is to be made inert.


This review is to be thought of as an interim measure, it said, based on the present understanding of the Fukushima event. It will be updated "at a later stage" when Fukushima is understood in finer detail.
Reporting by Raghavendra Verma
for World Nuclear News