Competitive Exams: Current Affairs 2012: Nuclear Safety

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Issues from Fukushima

  • First, it was triggered by a very rare natural event-the occurrence together of an earthquake of magnitude 9 on the Richter scale and a 15-metre tsunami which completely overwhelmed the plant and its safety systems.
  • Second, the analysts exposed the close ties between public regulators and the private plant operators that could have led them to collude and neglect safety and other features.
  • Third, although the physical structure of the Fukushima plant withstood the earthquake, together with the tsunami, the earthquake led to the loss of offsite and onsite power.
  • Fourth, radiation leaks from the disabled plant spread far beyond what had been deemed likely, affected rice crops, milk and other products for domestic consumption and exports.

Concerns in Kudankulam

  • Just a few hundred metric tonnes of steam could pose a serious threat to the containment՚s structural integrity of Kudankulam with its VVER-type reactor.
  • Kudankulam is located in the rice and milk producing, heavily populated and fast growing southern state of Tamil Nadu near Sri Lanka.
  • Social cost/benefit analysis of alternative responses to very low probability events, which, were they to occur could inflict large social costs in terms of population loss, damages to structures and long term health consequences is a difficult analytical problem.
  • The Fukushima accident highlighted the need for the independence of regulators from plant operators. The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) has long been criticised for being subservient to DAE, the promoting organisation for nuclear power.

Courtesy: The Hindu