Friday, 25 November 2011

Current Affairs- FAQ on Kudankulam issue- Part 11

5.37) Russian and Indian liability issues:

Not addressed.

5.38) Project Cost and Russian Debt Analysis:

      On a query to NPCIL, they have given the following information
      “The sanctioned cost of the KKNPP 1&2, is Rs 13,171 crores including interest during construction. About half of the cost is financed by the credit facility extended from the Russian Federation. As per the agreement, the credit is to be utilised during the construction of the plant and is to be repaid in 14 annual installments, after commissioning of the plant.
      The set back in project completion schedule has resulted in revision of the cost estimates , mainly due to increase in the interest on borrowings, establishment cost and escalation on  the cost of balance works. The revision of cost estimates is in process”.

5.39) Generation and Transmission

      The transmission system was finalised taking into considerations the various requirements i.e reliability and security levels as stipulated in the “Transmission Planning criteria”  document issued by Ministry of Power Government of India, New Delhi.
2000MW(e) electrical power generated from KKNPP Unit#1 and Unit#2 is exported through the 400KVpower transmission lines.

      The power generated from KKNPP is exported to Tirunelveli through the four 400KV transmission lines. KKNPP station loads normally derive power from the four 400KV power supplies.

      Capacity factor is monitored by NPCIL.

5.41) Spent Fuel Transportation
      This is covered at 5.16) above.

5.42) Decommissioning   
      The objective of decommissioning is to release the NPP site for reuse or for unrestricted use, depending on the requirement, ensuring safety of members of the public and occupational workers as well as protection of the environment. Provisions for facilitating decommissioning in KKNPP1&2 have been made in the design.

      Decommissioning strategy consists of defuelling of reactor and removal of all radioactive fluids from the systems, at the end of its operating life. The SSCs are then kept in a safe storage mode for a period of time to allow for natural decay of radioactivity for ease of dismantling of components and their packaging and transportation for disposal. The necessary machinery, components, structures and the building are left intact for such safe keeping. Some of the conventional SSCs may be dismantled at this stage.
      The cost of decommissioning of NPPs in India has been worked out through a detailed exercise. The estimates indicate that decommissioning cost can be met by a decommissioning levy of 2 paise per KWh to be charged along with tariff to create a corpus to be used at the time of decommissioning. The levy will be reviewed periodically  to ascertain its adequacy to meet the decommissioning fund requirements and may be  revised if necessary.
      In this context, it may be noted that some of the Indian NPPs have undergone significant renovation and modernization activities. These included replacement of components like pressure tubes end fittings, feeder pipes etc. This experience has demonstrated that technology for such dismantlement activities that are similar to decommissioning, is available in the country. The experience also shows that costs involved are within the estimated values. The radioactive waste arising from decommissioning is not significantly different than the waste generated from normal operation of the NPP, except that its volume will be comparatively large. In India we have good experience in handling and disposal of such waste and therefore no difficulty is foreseen for handling and disposal of waste arising from decommissioning work.

5.43) Impact of increased sea patrol and militarization of the area:
      Sea Patrol and militarization of the area is governed by the requirements of National Security. KKNPP is also covered in these requirements.

5.44) Erosion of civil liberties

      Only the Plant area is a restricted area. Other than this area, movement and actions of the people are governed by the Laws of Land.

5.45) Noise Pollution
1. Base line data collection: M/s Engineers India Limited (EIL) has measured the noise   levels at the following places for preparing a rapid Environmental Impact Assessment
(EIA) for Kudankulam Nuclear units.

2. Standards: The standards prescribed as per the noise pollution rules 2000 are as
follows. Ambient Air Quality Standards in respect of Noise

Area Code
Category of Area/Zone
Limits in dB(A) Leq *

Day Time
Night Time
Industrial area
Commercial area
Residential area
Silence Zone

      1.   Day time shall mean from 6.00 a.m. to 10.00 p.m.
      2.   Night time shall mean from 10.00 p.m. to 6.00 a.m.
      3.   Silence zone is defined as an area comprising not less than 100 metres around        hospitals, educational institutions and courts. The silence zones are zones which are declared as such by the competent authority.
      4.   Mixed categories of areas may be declared as one of the four above mentionedcategories by the competent authority.
*dB(A) Leq denotes the time weighted average of the level of sound in decibels on scale A which is relatable to human hearing.

      A "decibel" is a unit in which noise is measured.
      "A", in dB(A) Leq, denotes the frequency weighting in the measurement of noise and      corresponds to frequency response characteristics of the human ear. Leq : It is an energy mean of the noise level, over a specified period.

3. Impacts due to Noise pollution:

      3.1 Construction phase: During construction phase the noise levels are minimal and there is no impact to the outside areas.
      3.2 Commissioning Phase: Nuclear Power Plants are relatively silent operators.
      However, during Hot Run test, the steam is vented to atmosphere through relief   valve. Testing and Venting of steam relief valves are occasional operations.

      3.3 Operation phase: During operation of the plant, there is no equipment, which will produce sound above the prescribed limits during continuous operation.

5.46) KKNPP Expansion Plans

      In principle approval for establishment of KK3 to 6 exists from Govt of India.

5.47) IAEA Safeguards

      Government of India has entered into an agreement with International Atomic Energy Agency for the application of Safeguards for the nuclear fuel to be supplied for KKNPP by the Russian Federation. The agreement entered into force on 27th September 1988 and follows the guideline available in . ‘INFCIRC/360’ available on IAEA website. We have long experience in implementation of safeguards on nuclear fuel in some of our NPPs and the procedures to be  followed at KKNPP will be o different. Hence there are no problems in implementation of IAEA safeguards for the nuclear fuel in KKNPP.

5.48) NSG related issues
      Not addressed

5.49) Setting up of possible weapon facility at KKNPP
      Not addressed

5.50) any other related issues

Current Affairs- FAQ on Kudankulam issue- Part 10


Gulf of Mannar Biosphere reserve:

·        The nearest biodiversity richness region of Gulf of Mannar biosphere reserve is located north of Tuticorin which is more than 80 Kms from the plant site.

·        CMFRI while preparing the marine EIA had conducted exhaustive sampling covering 60      Sq Kms of the site. They have clearly stated that “the marine ecosystem of the KKNPP    region has characteristics of an oceanic region which is different from the productive ecosystems of the west coast , gulfs and bays.”
·        Another significant ecological feature of KKNPP Site is the absence of sensitive habitats    like mangrove and coral reefs in KKNPP coast. The CMFRI have confirmed that there are          no formations of coral reefs south of Tuticorin and along the Kanyakumari coast (including the Plant neighborhood).
Western Ghats:
·        The EIA document confirms that there is no forest area within 15 km of the plant site.
·        As such there is no impact on the Western Ghat due to setting up of KKNPP.

5.32) Terrorist and Security Threats

      Elaborate measures have been taken for the security of KKNPP as is done for all the NPP in    the country. An exhaustive physical protection system with 24X7 monitoring is      implemented for the plant areas. These systems consist of multilayered security and        online surveillances which are regularly reviewed with regard to threat perception to ensure adequate protection.
5.33) Bilateral relations
      Not addressed

5.34) Impact of mining activities
No mining activity is carried out by KKNPP.

5.35) Severe Accident Management:

      NPPs are designed and operated following the principle of defenseindepth. This principle requires that there be successive barriers against release of radioactivity and several layers of protection be provided for each of the safety functions.
      The first level of defenseindepth is achieved by ensuring that the plant is designed in such a way that all safety parameters like pressure, temperature flow etc. are maintained   with in the specified limits.

      The second level corresponds to upset operating conditions that can be expected during  plant operation, like, failure of grid power supply. The design ensures that safety is not jeopardized on account of such upset conditions.
      The third level relates to the situation where plant parameters exceed the prescribed      safety limits. The safety design of the NPP ensures that the reactor is promptly shut down  automatically and cooling of fuel is adequately maintained to prevent it from overheating and cause any release of radioactivity.
      The fourth level corresponds to a situation where adequate cooling of the fuel cannot be maintained for some reason whereby the reactor gets into the accident mode. Even for such accident conditions, the NPP design provides the means to be able to control the progression of the accident and prevent any major release of radioactivity to the environment such that there are no significant adverse radiological consequences in the public domain.
      The fifth level of defenseindepth assumes, in a hypothetical manner that due to unforeseen reasons or due to any failures in design or operating procedures or in their implementation, radioactivity release does take place. Hence an emergency preparedness plan must be in place which can be executed, if required, to mitigate the consequences of such a release.

      The emergency preparedness plans should therefore be viewed in the overall context of            the safety philosophy of defenseindepth. Needless to mention that for any plan to be effective, it must be tested periodically. The emergency exercise including the offsite emergency exercise that may require evacuation of a section of the population, are   carried out accordingly. It must, however, be reiterated that the possibility of an emergency situation arising is extremely remote and the exercises are done only to be in a state of preparedness, should the need arise.
      In India, NPPs have been in operation over the last more than 40 years and there has     never been any accident of the need for any emergency actions in the public domain. Even in the entire world where over 430 NPPs are in operation, the need for emergency action in the public domain has arisen only twice; once in 1986 from the Chernobyl accident and the other in 2011 from the Fukushima accident.

5.36) Emergency Preparedness at KKNPP:

      It may be noted that in KK reactor design, many advanced safety features are deployed. These include the passive heat removal system, which ensures cooling of the fuel even if power is not available (as was the case in Fukushima) and other safety provisions like the double containment and core catcher that strengthen the plant safety such that any intervention in the public domain outside the plant exclusion zone will not be required even in case of an accident. However, as a matter of abundant caution following the defense–indepth safety philosophy, emergency plan for actions to be taken in public domain during any offsite emergency were prepared and provided to District Authorities.

      These procedures are accordingly included in the “Emergency Preparedness Plans” Vol1 and Vol2 duly approved for Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project. Volume– 1 covers Plant Emergency and Site Emergency conditions which have been prepared by the KKNPP Site,            reviewed and approved by Atomic Energy Regulatory Board. The document no. is   I01.KK.0.0.TM.MN.WD001. Volume 2 is for the Offsite Emergency Preparedness which has been prepared by NPCIL in consultation with the State authorities, concurred by Atomic Energy Regulatory Board and approved by the District Collector, Tirunelveli District.  Document No. is I01.KK.0.0.TM.MN.WD002. Both of these documents are in place.

      These emergency preparedness plans brings out the conditions at which plant, site and off site emergencies may be declared by the respective authorities. They also bring out in    detail the roles and responsibilities of various agencies involved. The plants are tested periodically by conduct of emergency exercises such that any deficiency can be observed and corrected and to keep the plant updated. Plant emergency exercise is conducted once    in 3 months, site emergency is conducted once in a year. The offsite emergency is conducted once is two years. Prior to first criticality, plant, site and offsite emergency exercises have to be conducted once.

      For the plant and site emergency, all the KKNPP employees and the CISF personnel have been trained. First plant emergency mock exercise has been conducted involving KKNPP personnel and contract personnel.

Implementation of offsite Emergency plan involves various State Government Departments like District Revenue, Social Welfare, Fire, Health, Horticulture & Agriculture,  Fisheries, Irrigation, For est, Animal Husbandry, Electricity Board, Transport, Local Administration & Police Departments. A detailed training programme was conducted as per the schedule provided by the District Collectorate for the officials from all the above departments in the month of August 2011 about the roles and responsibilities of the respective departments.  Around 600 officials from these departments have been trained on offsite emergency  preparedness.

      Fresh Fuel transportation will be done with due consents from AERB, following all the     stipulations.
      No Radioactive Waste will be transported out of the plant premises.
      All the above are subject to AERB approval and audit.

Current Affairs- FAQ on Kudankulam issue- Part 9


Impact on Land:

      Beneficial impacts would be felt on land use pattern and topographical features of the    area due to greening of the area through plantation and green belt development. Under operating conditions, there will not be any impact on the land environment as discharges are insignificant as compared to the combined natural background   parameters.

      As of now, a total of 23890 plants and trees have been developed for green belting, at   Kudankulam site (KKNPP). The area covered by lawns and gardens is 16419 Squaremeters. Hedges accounts for 2467 Running meters and this will help to improve the quality of environment around NPP. The green belt development will be continued in future which will attract more fauna specially avian species resulting in improvement in biodiversity as evident in other nuclear power station like Kaiga, Kalpakkam,Tarapur etc.

Impact on Agriculture, live stock and food security:

            National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) has prepared the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report and had documented the land use classification in 30 Kms radius of the plant site based on satellite mapping.
      The land use/ land cover classification indicates 8.73% area covered by vegetation, 8.73%  are covered by Barren land, 23.39% area covered by scrubland, 8.52% area covered by   sandy area, 0.08% builtup area, 49.68% water body including sea, river/nala etc.

            This is the baseline data. However data from the other nuclear power plants in the country indicate that operation of NPPs do not have any adverse impact on agriculture, live stock and food security.
      As such the land acquired has been dry and barren and hence there is no impact on the            flora and fauna inside the plant area. NEERI has conducted the base line study of the   biological environment in and around KK site and is well documented.

      Also as on June 2011, a total of 23890 plants and trees have been developed for green            belting, at KKNPP. The area covered by lawns and gardens is 16419 Square meters. Hedges accounts for 2467 running meters.
      The Green Belt programme will be continued to develop a green belt in the vacant land,             after assigning the plant structures of KKNPP 3 to 6.

      Because of the green belt developed, the area around plant and township has become a hub for migratory birds.

Already discussed at 5.26) above.
5.30) Seismology

      Structures, systems and components (SSC) of Indian nuclear power plant (NPP) are      designed for two levels of earthquakes which are estimated according to safety requirements laid down by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) which are in line with the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) guidelines (IAEA Guide 50SGS1):

            1) S1 level of ground motion or OBE (Operating Basis Earthquake).
            2) S2 level of ground motion or SSE (Safe Shutdown Earthquake).

            S1 level corresponds to the maximum ground motion which can be expected to be experienced at the Site during the life of the NPP i.e. once in a 100 years. All SSC necessary for power generation are designed for this level of ground motion.

      S2 level corresponds to the conservatively estimated level of ground motion which can be expected to occur once in 10,000 years. All SSC important to safety are designed to         remain functional during a S2 level earthquake.
      SSE is derived on the basis of maximum earthquake potential associated with the tectonic structures and seismotectonic province in the region and takes into account,

      I.    The maximum earthquake potential inside the seismic tectonic province of the site associated with specific tectonic structures

      II.    The maximum earthquake potential inside the seismic province of the site not associated with specific tectonic structures
      III.   The maximum earthquake potential for the adjoining seismotectonic provinces associated with specific tectonic structures and
      IV.  the maximum earthquake potential for the adjoining seismotectonic provinces not associated with a specific tectonic structure.

Earthquake Design Basis for Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP) ‐1 & 2

      Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant is located in Indian Seismic Zone II which is the least  seismic potential region of our country. (ref. IS 1893). However, for designing of the Plant,          detailed studies are conducted to conservatively estimate extent of ground motion applicable to the specific Site with reference to Seismotectonic and Geological conditions around it so that NPPs are designed for a SSE level earthquake which has a very low probability of being exceeded (return period of 1 in 10,000 years).
      For Kudankulam NPP, the following tasks were undertaken for detailed evaluation of Site  specific conditions as below:
            a)         Study of the seismotectonic and geological setup of the region.

b) Selection of a set of recorded accelerograms with source and site conditions resembling those at Site for computing response spectra.

      c)   Generation of response spectra of the selected timehistories for various values of damping and statistical analysis of the ensemble of response spectra.

      d)   Collection of additional information on earthquakes, regional and local geology and tectonics pertinent to evaluating fault activity and design basis ground motion parameters.

e)     Integration of the above information to arrive at the Earthquake Design Basis (EDB). This involves the generation of peak ground acceleration and response spectral shapes for various components of ground motion for both S1 and S2.
      f)    Generation of spectral compatible accelerograms.

      All potential, active and nonactive faults, lineaments and seismic history within a radius 300 kms have been analyzed to arrive at the SSE and OBE levels of earthquake. As per above data, there are no faults / lineaments in the near vicinity of the site. The most intense earthquake experienced in this 300km region is the earthquake that occurred at  Coimbatore (307 km) on 08/02/1900 which had an epicentral intensity of VII on the MMI scale (6.0 in the Richter scale).

      Towards enhanced conservation, the high intensity earthquakes that occurred in this seismotectonic region have been assumed to act at the closest faults/ lineaments near the site in arriving at the SSE level. The Site specific response spectra for SSE at KKNPP has       been derived from the envelope of these hypothetical events.

      Considering the above events, a rocksitespecific formula for the maximum peak ground acceleration valid for the range of magnitude and distance of interest has been derived.
      The peak ground accelerations thus evaluated for KKNPP are as follows.

Peak ground acceleration (g)



      i) Report on “Earthquake Design Basis for Kudankulam Site” prepared by Dr.A.K.Gosh,            BARC & Shri D.C. Banerjee, AMD.

Conclusion: the seismic parameters for the design of SSC of KKNPP have been arrived at in a highly conservative manner following the AERB stipulations and thus the seismic safety of the plant is assured with a large safety margin.

Current Affairs- FAQ on Kudankulam issue- Part 8

5.19) Routine Emissions:
This has been covered at 5.18) above.

5.20) Worker’s safety and well‐being:
This has been covered at 5.18) above.

5.21) People’s safety and well‐being:
This has been covered at 5.18) above.

5.22) Health Survey and baseline data
This has been covered at 5.18) above.

5.23) Radiation illness
      The limits of radiation exposure from the nuclear power plants, for the public and             occupational workers in India, are such that, the question of radiation illness is not    relevant.

5.24) Population:

      The 2001 census population figures for the area around KKNPP are as follows:



02 km
25 km
516 km

5.25) Oceanography

1.0 Flood design of KKNPP and Important plant levels and locations
      1.1 Design Basis Flood Level

      The safe grade elevation of KKNPP site has been kept at 7.5 Mtr above MSL and a shore        protection bund is constructed all along the shore to a height of + 8.0 Mtr to MSL.
      The detail of arriving at the safe grade elevation, considering either tsunami or storm      surge is listed in the table below.

Sl No
Rise Water level Due to ( m )

Run up

Max. Tide
Storm Surge
(w.r.t CD)



Therefore the maximum water level = 5.92 – 0.481 = 5.439m
with respect to MSL.
Keeping a further safety margin of 2.0m, the safe grade elevation is kept as 7.44m (say 7.5m ) w.r.t MSL

1.2 KKNPP Building elevations.

In addition to the safe grade elevation, sufficient margins are available in each building. Elevations and locations of important safety buildings are given in the table below.


Elevations in meters
above MSL

Margin available

Pump house grade elevation
+7.65 m

Reactor Building grade elevation
+8.7 m

Safety DG building (sealed building)

+9.3 m
Diesel tanks in DG building

+13.8 m
Battery Banks (sealed building)

+16.5 m
Passive Heat Removal System
Heat exchangers
+ 52.2m

Main control Room

In addition, having a higher grade elevation, all the safety related buildings are closed
with double gasket leak tight doors.

            1.3 Shore stability

       No potential of shore instability exists at Kudankulam site area, as protruding rock outcrops are present all along the coast protecting the shore from erosion. Also, nohistorical shore erosion has been recorded in the area.

2.0 Tsunami warning systems available:
      Tsunami Event Identification: Possible Tsunami occurrence can be known as alerts form           the following agencies:

·        KKNPP is registered with INCOIS, Hyderabad (Indian National centre for ocean information service). In case of any Tsunami warnings, information in the mobile numbers of the station management will be received.
·        Madras Atomic Power station, Kalpakkam has established PC based Earthquake Notification System (ENS) which gives alarm in the control room in case of an earthquake.  ENS is an application which scans USGS (US Geological survey) and EMSC (European Mediterranean Seismic Centre) sites. Immediate alert will be given to KKNPP control room from Kalpakkam in case of any alarm.


Base line data collection
The baseline data of the marine environment of KKNPP has been well established through the studies undertaken by

            a. Manonmaniam Sundaranar University,.
            b. Institute of Ocean Management, Anna University
            c. Engineers India Limited/ CMFRI

Special feature in intake: Fish Protection system

      Kudankulam project uses sea water for condenser cooling for which water is drawn from           intake dykes. . To save the fishes from coming into the fore bay / pump house area and getting trapped, KKNPP houses a unique “fish protection system” where in all the fishes which are coming into the intake will be separated by means of a unique air curtain and “Oogee weirs” and are safely returned back into the sea. This is an unique facility to protect the marine organisms.

Effect of Condenser cooling water in the marine life

      The approximate quantity of coolant water, when the plant is in operation released in sea       will be 70,00,000 CuM per day per unit with a maximum delta T of 7 degree Celsius.
      The seasonal variation in surface water temperature of Kudankulam Marine Environment       ranged from 23°C during monsoon and winter season to 29°C during summer season, with       an annual average of 26.6°C.
      The studies on the lethal affects of temperature on selected fishes and prawns of   Kudankulam Marine Environment showed that the lethal temperature of fin & shell fishes was found to be between 38.2 and 43.2° C. Considering maximum possible surface sea water temperature of Kudankulam areas as 29°C, during summer months and the rising the temperature as stipulated by MoEF as 7°C, the maximum temperature at discharge point will be 36°C, which may not harm any fish even in the vicinity of discharge point. But during  monsoon and winter season the ambient surface water temperature will be    considerably low ( 23°C) and hence no effect will be envisaged in the discharge area.In fact the mixing will be very fast due to wave action and other water currents. Due to the wave action the mixing of warm water from condenser with ambient sea water will be instantaneous and a possible reduction of ambient sea water temperature will be expected.  Considering the fact it is obvious that there may not be any harm to the fishery potential of   Kudankulam Marine Environment due to the establishment of KKNPP. It is again supported by the fact that fish, being a cold blooded animal, it can adjust the body temperature with that of environment within the sub lethal temperature and a rise in body temperature will enhance all biological activities, including growth and production. In addition, the fish and prawns will have the capacity to sense the change in temperature in ambient water and try to avoid and move away from the adverse condition, if any.,  from the point of discharge The operation of Nuclear Power Plant in the country at the  coastal locations at TAPS, Tarapur in Maharashtra and MAPS at Kalpakkam in Tamil Nadu  has also not shown any adverse effects on Marine life including the fish.