The Kaiga nuclear complex is not bereft of controversies.
In a major accomplishment for India’s Department of Atomic Energy, the 220 MW nuclear reactor at Kaiga in Karnataka has completed a continuous run of 941 days to become the world’s longest running reactor without a shutdown in this marathon run.
The earlier record of 940 days of continuous operation was held by a British reactor called Heysham-2, Unit-8 reactor, which set the benchmark in 2016.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called it a ‘major feat’ saying it was another world record by Indian scientists and engineers.
Applauding the efforts, PM Modi tweeted, “Congratulations to all those associated with India’s nuclear energy programme. Their untiring efforts have enhanced India’s progress. The nation is proud of them.”
During the stint, the indigenously designed Kaiga-1 nuclear power unit has been under continuous operation from May 13, 2016, and has generated revenues of Rs 1,500 crore.
The twin Indian made units of Kaiga 1 and 2 were started in 2000 at a total cost of Rs 2,800 crore.
According to India’s Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL), “this landmark demonstrates the excellence in design, construction, safety, quality and operation and maintenance practices of India.”
This achievement comes on the back of extended technology denial and sanctions that the Indian nuclear establishment lived under after testing atom bombs in 1974 and in 1998 at Pokharan.
It was the culmination of the Indo-US Civilian Nuclear Deal that led to lifting of sanctions on India’s atomic establishment.
The Kaiga nuclear complex is not bereft of controversies. When it was set up many environmentalists protested against locating the atomic complex amidst the verdant forests.
In 2009 it faced its worst crisis when an ‘insider’ poisoned the water cooler within the secure nuclear island by adding radioactive tritium to the drinking water.
Several workers were exposed to this radioactivity and even after a lot of investigation, till last reports, the person responsible had not been nailed down.
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