Nuclear Disaster Current Affairs

Kakrapar nuclear plant shut down after coolant system develops leak

Recently, power generation unit 1 at Kakrapar Atomic Power Station (KAPS) in Gujarat was shut down for indefinitely period after leakage of heavy water.

The reactor was shut down as per design provisions after a small leak in the Primary Heat Transport (PHT) System of the plant was detected.

The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL), operator of KAPS has confirmed that there was no harmful, radioactive leakage and the backup safety mechanisms for emergency situation are working as intended.

Kakrapar nuclear plant

  • The nuclear plant is located near Vyara in south Gujarat. It consists of two units of pressurised heavy water reactors (PHWR) of 220 MW each. NPCIL is operator the plant.
  • The first reactor was commissioned in September 1992 and it started commercial power production in May 1993.
  • The second reactor was commissioned in January 1995 and began commercial production in September 1995. Since July 2015, the second unit has been shut for maintenance.

Heavy water (deuterium oxide D2O): It is used for cooling the nuclear reactor core i.e. as coolant and neutron moderator. PHWR is commonly using unenriched natural uranium as its fuel.

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India ratifies Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage

India has ratified Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage (CSC), 1997 which sets parameters on a nuclear operator’s financial liability.

In this regard, India has submitted the Instrument of Ratification of the CSC to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and shall come into force after 90 days i.e May 2016.

Benefits

  • Facilitate and boost India’s nuclear commerce with international partners.
  • Contribute to strengthen an international convention and global nuclear liability regime.

About Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage (CSC)

  • Seeks to establish a uniform global legal regime for compensation to victims in the unlikely event of a nuclear accident.
  • It was adopted on 12 September 1997. It can enter into force after ratification by at least 5 countries having minimum of 400,000 units of installed nuclear capacity.
  • It has been framed in consistent with the principles of Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage (1963) and the Paris Convention on Third Party Liability in the Field of Nuclear Energy (1960).
  • It provides a uniform framework for channelling liability and providing speedy compensation after the nuclear accident.
  • Seeks to encourage regional and global co-operation to promote a higher level of nuclear safety in accordance with the principles of international partnership and solidarity.
  • All states are free to participate in it regardless of their presence of nuclear installations on their territories or involvement in existing nuclear liability conventions.
  • India had signed it in 2010 for delivering its commitments for stemming the landmark 2005 nuclear agreement with the United States.

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