Sudden outburst of solar energy can damage N-plant: Researcher - The New Indian Express

Sudden outburst of solar energy can damage N-plant: Researcher

Published: 08th October 2012 08:54 AM

Last Updated: 08th October 2012 08:54 AM

Giving a ‘solar twist’ to the safety of Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project, a radiation researcher has claimed that nuclear plants in the country do not have the technology to escape from Coronal Mass Ejection (CME), an occasional release of massive energy from the sun.

Addressing a meeting organised by the Human Rights Lawyers Centre in support of the anti-KKNPP stir on Saturday, Dr Pugazhenthi said nuclear plants had a narrow escape from the recent CME, happened a couple of weeks before. CME is a form of solar activity, where there will be a sudden release of energy or a sudden solar wind, which permeates into the space. When the CME hits the atmosphere, it can interact with earth’s magnetic field and cause severe electromagnetic variations, which can leads to the disaster in electricity grids. The recent CME happened on August 31 and reached the earth’s atmosphere on September 3 by travelling at a speed of 1,200 km/sec.

“This is a space phenomenon which cause every hundred years. Last time it happened in 1912,” Pugazhenthi, a doctor by profession, said.

Speaking to the Express, he said the scientists from NASA alerted earlier this year that a CME can happen between 2012 - 2013. “The CME can have an effect over electricity grids and possibilities are there to damage nuclear plants,” he said.

On March 13, 1989, a solar storm affected the Pressurised Water Reactor (PWR) in Salem Nuclear Power Plant, located in Delaware Bay, New Jersey, US. The storm damaged a transformer in Unit I of the plant, which resulted in melting of copper at a large scale. It cost millions of dollars to replace the transformer, he claimed. “When we raised a question on this with Prof Muthunayagam committee appointed by the Centre, they said it is totally imaginary,” he pointed out.

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