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'Kudankulam plant can withstand Fukushima-like disaster'

All nuclear power plants being developed by Russia, including the one at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu, meet all post-Fukushima safety standards and would be able to withstand external influence like an earthquake or a tsunami, an official of Russia's Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corp said on Wednesday.

Vladimir Asmolov, Chairman of the Scientific and Technical Council number 1 of Rosatom in the field of nuclear power plants, told IANS that had Japan followed the principles based on global experience of nuclear power development, the accident at Fukushima plant in Japan on March 11, 2011 could have been avoided. 

Asmolov, who was sent by the Russian government to assist the Japanese in dealing with the situation five days after the Fukushima accident, said nuclear power was a safe energy source.

He said Kudankulam plant would be able to withstand a Fukushima-like accident and that active and passive safety systems were in place there. 

The plant is protected from natural and technological disasters including earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes and even plane crash. 

Asmolov, an Adviser to the General Director of ROSATOM, said the Fukushima disaster could have been avoided had all such safety precautions were in place.

"The prevention and mitigation principle was used in case of Japan. Here, the Japanese focused on the prevention principle without paying due attention to the mitigation principle as if it was sure that an accident was impossible," he told IANS.

He said the power unit of Fukushima plant was built on the basis of a design developed in 1960 and, therefore, the station was not ready for a crisis situation of the 21st century. 

"Emergency generators were not ready for autonomous operation after interruption of external power supply to the station," he added.

Asmolov said the main conclusion to be drawn from Fukushima is that all safety levels must be provided and hence stress-testing is performed at all nuclear power plants built by Russia. 

Not only that, seismicity level is checked at all power plant sites and additional diesel generators are installed to withstand any contingency, he added. 

(Vishav can be contacted at vishav@ians.in)
 

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