India’s Post-Fukushima Nuclear Safety Task Force: Not so sure about TAPS Safety

VT Padmanabhan,  R Ramesh and V Pugazhendi

Though the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) has been assertive about the fail-safe features of the reactors in India, the Post Fukushima Task Force appointed by SK Jain, CMD of NPCIL speaks in a different tone.  Read the following quotes from the report on TAPS:


 “3.1.1 Design Basis Accident (DBA) Related to Large Loss of Coolant Accident (LOCA)

“The postulated design basis accident involving double ended rupture of recirculation line may empty out reactor pressure vessel within 12 secs., during which initiation of automatic injection of core spray may disallow fuel core heat up, thus, prevents hydrogen generation. The reactor will automatically scram on sensing any of the parameters during the event.

“iii) Feed Water flow may remain same or may increase depending on size of leak Station Black Out Scenario (SBO) 

“SBO involving simultaneous loss of offsite and on site power immediately scrams the reactor by inserting the control rod drive into the core sensing loss of power. The reactor core cooling is provided by automatic valving in of emergency condenser system which continues to remove core decay heat. The reactor has inherent design feature that water inventory is retained above core top upto 6 hrs in the event of Loss of Station Power without any feed to reactor vessel and Emergency Condenser system removing decay heat. Availability of Emergency condenser as a passive system heat sink for reactor core for 8 hrs without the need for any operator action and beyond 8 hrs with make up on shell side may be carried out with the operator action. Additionally, there is a provision of SBO DG which may provide dedicated power supply to the Station to meet Station load should emergency diesel generators be rendered unavailable. Thus, in the event of SBO reactor can be safely shutdown, maintained cool for long period keeping containment isolated ensuring plant and public safety against any radiological risk.”



In the above two paragraphs taken out from the TAPS TASK Force report, the word may appears five times.  That is the level of safety.  In the case of a severe accident, their safety gadgets may work and we may live happily ever after.

TAPS located literally in line of sight of Mumbai the commercial capital of India, home to 12 million people, the headquarters of the Department of Atomic Energy and the brain of India’s nuclear deterrence.  TAPS reactors generate 120 MW(e) and their contribution is less than 5% of the energy consumption of Greater Mumbai.  Moreover, TAPS 1 reactor is 42 years old, two years older than Fukushima




Reference:  S. Bhattacharjee (K.R.Anil Kumar  P.K.Malhotra  V.S.Daniel , (2011)  SAFETY EVALUATION OF INDIAN NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS BWRs AT TARAPUR ATOMIC POWER STATION (TAPS-1&2),




One Comment

    Join discussion: leave a comment