What after Japan?

11th march 2011, a 3-dimensional disaster struck Japan, which continues to haunt it until today. The offshore temblor of 9.0 on Richter scale, the first dimension, giving rise to a gigantic 23 feet tsunami, the second dimension, leading to the melt down of civil nuclear reactor, the third dimension, which altogether caused an enormous loss to life and property. A March 18th estimates puts the total human toll to over 16000 deaths. The quake being so powerful that it shifted the whole of HONSHU Island by a 2.4 metres from its original plac The meltdown of civil nuclear reactor at Fukushima-Daiichi plant added to the sorrows of Japanese in blockquotes. The knocking off of the calibrated course of electricity generation at this plant, and this happened not to one but several atomic energy reactors in Japan. This leakage, as we call it, posed a global threat of radioactive radiation exposure, which led several countries, as a reflex action, to withdraw their citizens from Japan to safer places. Japan being abreast of such an incident already, couldn’t do anything more than to sit back and watch it do the trick. Japan, considered as the global leader in infrastructures and technology, if was unable to contain this disaster, then the question of the hour is “Is India Ready To Tackle Such A Disaster?”, in context to nuclear emergency. The meltdown at Japan not only posed a question, but also compelled several countries to think and act to sought out answers before its too late. Talking of where we live it is hard to understand the nuclear energy strategy of this country, which has a large coastal line, blooming nuclear energy sector , old fashioned Nuclear plants, in fact much older that one at Fukushima-Daiichi plant and in addition a huge population to take care of. Recently PM called for full technical reviews of the safety of all the NPP (Nuclear Power Plants.). The consequences being the NPP are to get additional safety features. Setting up of advanced tsunami alerts mechanisms, additional shore protection, additional hook up points to bring water to spent fuel points, are a few to name. Area of concern transverses to the unit-1 and unit-2 of Tarapur Atomic Power Station (TAPS), which is older than the pre Mark-I design of Japan. If a liker event strikes India, there is not a liker but a bigger possibility of meltdown of core of atomic power plant. When it comes to a safe NPP, in a reactor the heat generated by the core should be equal to the heat removed from the core. There should be an uninterrupted access to Ultimate heat sink, which is usually an unlimited supply of water from a large water body to cool the reactor core during a loss of coolant emergency, which unfortunately was not available to Japan. In case of loss of coolant accident, when there is a design based safety shut down, the residual heat needs to be removed. When such a case occurs, the reactor is flooded to cool down the core. However, such systems at present are not available at Tarapur Atomic Power Station. Nevertheless, these power stations have almost lived 20 years more than what is permitted for such designs, but still are operational. In 2011, AERB formed a 10 member committee, consisting of experts from Indian Institute of Technology and Indian Meteorological Department, to assess the vulnerability of the Tarapur to earthquakes and tsunamis. Dr. A. Gopalakrishnan, former director of AERB, said that Tarapur 1 and 2 reactors are much older than the reactors involved in the Fukushima nuclear accident and argued that they should be immediately decommissioned. At present the still working status of this NPP poses a question to all of us “What after Japan?” . The public of India is unconcerned about such happening, but when disaster strikes it never knocks.


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