Nuclear plants need to be hardened: Scientist

December 16th, 2011 - 8:27 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Dec 16 (IANS) Post-Fukushima, nuclear plants across the globe need to be hardened and re-evaluated beyond the design basis to withstand natural calamities and hazards, an energy scientist said Friday.

“There are about 400 nuclear plants across the globe. The plants need to re-evaluate beyond the design basis, if needed. They should harden the plant more to withstand any kind of natural calamity and disaster. The walls of Fukushima plant facing the sea were about 5 metres but during the tsunami, the water rose to a level of 15 metres so the problem occurred,” said Sanjoy Banerjee, director of the Energy Institute of The City University of New York.

“If it had a 20-metre wall, then nothing would have happened. The main lesson which comes out of Fukushima is to re-evaluate the nuclear plants beyond design basis and should be checked thoroughly for natural hazards,” he said at an event here.

Asked whether nuclear power projects can really pose a threat to the livelihood and health of the locals of the coastal area, Banerjee said there are scientific methods to address the apprehensions of the fishermen so that both the locals and a nuclear plant coexist.

“I don’t know the particular situation but nuclear plants particularly have very little radioactive emissions so that’s not the problems. They might be thinking of the hot water discharge from the plant but usually there are many ways to deal with that,” said Banerjee.

“It should be possible to deal with any problem because you get the hotter water coming out from the plant. That water needs to be dealt with so that it doesn’t have any adverse effect on the fish life or the plant life. But there are methods to deal with these problems. A plant in California which also had same sort of discharge has also taken up various steps to reduce fish kill and to regenerate fish embryos,” Banerjee told IANS.

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