Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Nuclear power is safe: Department of Atomic Energy launches massive awareness campaign

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, April 2: With the Nuclear Power Corporation of India
Limited planning to set up 20 mega nuclear power plants in the country
including a “nuclear park” at Kovvada in Srikakulam district, the
Bhabha Atomic Research Centre has launched a mass awareness campaign
explaining to people that a nuclear power plant cannot explode like a
nuclear bomb.

Dr RK Singh, chief of public awareness section, Barc, on Monday sought
to dispel the myth that a nuclear power plant can explode like an atom
bomb. “Contrary to popular perception, it is impossible for a nuclear
reactor to explode like a nuclear bomb. Uranium-235 concentration
within the reactor fuel is far too low to be explosive and reactors
are self-limiting. Nuclear fuel in a bomb has different enrichment and
configuration which is not there in the nuclear reactor,” he clarified.

Dr Singh was delivering the keynote address at the national conference
on emerging trends in nuclear and chemical technology, organised by
Gitam University, Hyderabad campus. The Indian Nuclear Society of
which Dr Singh is the secretary supported the conference.

“In public nuclear means Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Nuclear power is
viewed with suspicion,” he said adding that nuclear reactors are safe
and there is no threat from them to the human, plant or animal life.
He said discharges from nuclear power plants have the same limits that
of thermal power plants. The effects of discharges on marine life and
flora and fauna have been studied in detail and documentation has been
made. “Reports of this study clearly indicate that there is no damage
to marine life due to discharges from nuclear power plants at
Kalpakkam and Kaiga” Dr Singh clarified.

Stating that nuclear power plants have controlled and monitored
emissions of radiation, Dr Singh said the amount is extremely small
and poses no threat to the public or the environment. To put this in
perspective, one millirem is one thousandth of the radiation exposure
from a single whole-body CAT scan. The average citizen is exposed to
620 millirem of radiation every year.

He said Andhra Pradesh had emerged as the uranium capital of India
with a number of atomic and related agencies located in Hyderabad and
other parts of the State. “Andhra Pradesh is now fuelling the nuclear
power stations in the country,” he added.

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