CHENNAI: Dispelling the myth peddled by sections of the scientific community that nuclear reactors were 100 per cent risk proof, Russian scientists on Thursday said no nuclear plant in the world can make such a claim. Oleg Tashlykov, professor and reader at the Russian Federal University Nuclear Energy department, was candid about safety issues while admitting to technical glitches in the turbine of Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant’s (KKNPP) Unit I. He, however, sought to give it a positive spin, saying the defects in the turbine were detected and Unit I stopped before things could get out of control, which indicated robust safeguards.
Rejecting accusations that VVER reactors at Koodankulam were sub-standard, he said such plants installed in any country undergo one-year trial before starting commercial operations.
He also said the lifespan of the Koodankulam reactor is 40 years, which could be increased by 20 more years after modifications.
In response to a query on spent fuel, Tashlykov said Russia usually takes back it from countries where it has set up its reactor. “We are looking at a new site before 2030 so that we can store the nuclear waste,” he said. He added 96 per cent of the spent fuel from the VVER reactor can be reused while the rest would have to be stored in a container.
The scientists also lauded India for its fast breeder nuclear technology.
Michael J Gorbatov, vice consul of Consulate General of Russia and director of Russian Centre of Science and Culture, said his country was against the liability clause as it was not there when the KKNPP agreement was first signed. “This will make the deal expensive for Russia,” he said.