Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

India will not trust N-plant safety reviews by vendors: Banerjee

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

New Delhi, May 20, IRNA -- Seeking to allay apprehensions on the Jaitapur nuclear power project, Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Srikumar Banerjee on Friday said India would do its own safety reviews on the nuclear reactors it plans to purchase from French company Areva.

'We are not trusting the safety reviews done by the vendors. The licensing and safety reviews for the Jaitapur reactors will be done by our own nuclear regulators,' he said in an interactive session at the National Physical Laboratory here, pti reported.

He pointed out that the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) has been working closely with Russian companies for the Kudankulam nuclear power plant.

Banerjee sought to downplay suggestions that the European Pressurised Reactors (EPR) were 'untested' and contended that the reactors were based on an evolutionary design.

'Ours will be the fifth reactor. Finland, France and China have already signed up for installing the EPR reactors,' he said, adding that the nuclear power plants being set up in Jaitapur will have several additional safety measures.

The Jaitapur nuclear power project has run into controversy with anti-nuclear activists voicing apprehension on the safety of the project and its impact on the sensitive bio-diversity and marine life in the Konkan region.

Banerjee said eight universities and ecology departments had carried out studies on the impact on the environment due to the project.

He said the studies had concluded that the rise in sea temperature due to discharge of hot water from the plant would not be more than 4.5 degrees Celsius in the hottest months.

Banerjee said the water from the plant would be discharged at a distance of 1.5-2.5 km from the sea shore in an area of about 500 meter diameter.

He pointed out that Europe allowed a 10-degree Celsius rise in the sea water temperature due to discharge of hot water from power plants.

However, considering the tropical conditions in India this has been capped at less than seven degrees Celsius.

On concerns related to seismicity of the Jaitapur site, Banerjee said the plant site was located in seismic zone III and not in seismic zone IV as has been the belief.

'We will have to design the plant for that level. All the equipment will be seismically qualified,' he said.

Areva and Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited plan to build six nuclear reactors each of 1650 MW capacity at Jaitapur.

Agreements have been signed for building two reactors to start with.

Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 30394450

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