Kudankulam reactor faces corrosion riskNovember 9th, 2011 - 8:49 pm ICT by IANS
Chennai, Nov 9 (IANS) The stagnant coolant water in the reactor vessel and pipes in the first unit of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) is giving sleepless nights to scientists and engineers, who say the risk of damage to the equipment is increasing each day.
“Water has to be circulating so that the components are not exposed to the risk of corrosion. However, the quality of stagnant water will deteriorate over a period of time, which in turn poses a risk to the reactor components like the primary pipes and the reactor vessel,” said a KNPP official, preferring anonymity.
Project work since last month has come to a standstill with intensifying protests by villagers on grounds of safety. Roads have been blocked and the local administration has advised the KNPP staff to sit tight inside their homes, fearing violence.
India’s nuclear power plant operator Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) is building two 1,000 MW nuclear power reactors with Russian technology and equipment in Kudankulam, around 650 km from here. The first unit is expected to go on stream in December. The project is estimated to cost around Rs.13,160 crore.
Citing the completion of the “hot run” — a trial run of the reactor with dummy fuel — NPCIL officials say the coolant water should be continuously circulated.
“It is the demineralised water - water in pure form - which is fed into the systems. However, to maintain its purity, the water should be circulated as stagnant water will interact with the metal surface and quality will change,” K.S. Parthasarathy, former secretary of Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB), told IANS.
Parthasarathy said there would be a water chemistry group to look at the quality of water used in reactors.
“Water is a hostile fluid. It is not desirable to have stagnant water inside a reactor. However, it is not a serious issue as the number of days that the water remains stagnant is comparatively low,” Parthasarathy added.
The water passes through ion exchange system and when there is stagnant water, the purification is not possible.
“Maintaining the purity of stagnant water is an issue that is facing us. We are not able to check the chemistry of the water that is inside the power plant,” an NPCIL official told IANS.
The helpless officials confined to their homes for nearly a month are hoping that there is no major damage to the reactor components, resulting in further delays to the project.
“The reactor vessel is a huge component and cannot be bought off the shelf or fabricated at a short notice. I hope nothing happens to the vessel,” a worried NPCIL official told IANS.
“The systems cannot be stopped and restarted. Decommissioning a reactor is different as one need not bother about the damages the systems would undergo after the plant is stopped,” said the official.
On Sep 22, the Tamil Nadu government passed a resolution urging Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the central government to halt work at Kudankulam till the people’s fears are allayed.
M. Pushparayan, convenor of the Coastal People’s Federation and member of the state committee representing the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE), told IANS: “The plant should not be restarted at any cost. We want the plant to be shut down.”
Meanwhile, more than 100 anti-nuclear energy activists would go on yatra from Madurai to Kudankulam in Tirunelveli district Thursday and meet the people fighting against the project.
According to a statement issued here by Chennai Solidarity Group for Kudankulam Struggle Wednesday, the yatra will stop at various towns and villages enroute to Kudankulam to warn the people about the environmental and health effects of nuclear energy.
- Plans to circulate coolant in Kudankulam reactor - Nov 19, 2011
- Nuclear Corp now turns to catchy jingles to push Kudankalam - Nov 25, 2011
- AERB clears fuel loading in Kudankulam nuclear reactor - Aug 10, 2012
- Kudankulam: First reactor might miss March deadline - Nov 17, 2011
- Kudankulam inspections on after removal of dummy fuel - Jun 04, 2012
- Nuclear Power Corp transfers engineers from Kudankulam - Jan 09, 2012
- Change of guard at Kudankulam N-plant - Apr 30, 2012
- Major pre-fuel loading exercise over at Kudankulam - Sep 12, 2012
- NPCIL inspection at Kudankulam to end soon - Jul 14, 2012
- Removal of dummy fuel assemblies begins at Kudankulam - May 25, 2012
- Reactor pressure vessel inspected at Kudankulam - Jun 30, 2012
- Dusting, housekeeping major initial job at Kundankulam - Mar 21, 2012
- Kudankulam n-plant a step closer to going on stream - May 12, 2012
- Kudankulam reactor to be fuelled mid-August - Aug 05, 2012
- Top nuclear officials meet Kudankulam expert panel, protests on - Oct 29, 2011
Tags: atomic energy regulatory board, chemistry group, coolant water, day water, demineralised water, hot run, india ltd, local administration, metal surface, npcil, nuclear power corporation, nuclear power plant, nuclear power project, nuclear power reactors, power plant operator, reactor components, reactor vessel, russian technology, stagnant water, water chemistry