No radiation effect in India, affirms AEC chief

March 18th, 2011 - 9:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, March 18 (IANS) There has been no effect in India of radiation exposure from the quake-hit reactors in Japan, said Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) chief Srikumar Banerjee Friday.

“I can categorically say that because of Japan incident, there has been no recognizable difference in radiation in any part of India,” Banerjee said in an interaction at the Indian Women’s Press Corps.

He assured the media persons that radiation was being measured in 87 points across the country and there has not been any difference in their results.

Japan has been reeling from a nuclear crisis after the Fukushima nuclear plant facility was damaged due to last week’s magnitude-9 earthquake and the ensuing tsunami, in which more than 6,000 people have been confirmed dead so far.

He pointed out that India had two major quake faults - the Sumatran fault towards the east and the Makran fault running below Pakistan.

The troubled Fukushima nuclear reactor was just 140 km from the fault line, which meant that the period between the quake and the tsunami was just one hour.

“(In India) the nearest nuclear power plant from a fault is Tarapur, which is 900 km away from the Makran fault… therefore, we do not expect that the arrival of quake and tsunami is such a short period,” he said, adding that the minimum time should be at least six hours.

India’s two boiling water reactors at Tarapur have a passive heat removal system, which means that they can be operational without any electricity or manpower for eight hours, said Banerjee.

This is crucial as the power supply in the Japanese reactor was only restored Thursday, which hampered the efforts to deal with restoration of the coolant system.

The rest of Indian power plants have pressurized heavy water reactors, where the steam generators are at a height which is above the calculated tsunami height for the Indian situation.

India has so far suffered only two tsunamis - one in 2004 and another on west coast in 1945.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has asked for a review of all power plants after the Fukushima incident.

The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board will be doing a review of safety and emergency mitigation systems in all nuclear power plants. The state operator, Nuclear Power Corporation India Limited, has also four groups of experts to re-assess the capability of the power plants to cope with a Fukushima-type accident.

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