An emergency has been declared within the nuclear plant at Kakrapar in Gujarat after a major heavy water leak in a nuclear reactor reports NDTV. No worker has been exposed to radiation, said officials, adding that the employees remained sequestered till their shift ended, which is standard operating procedure for a crisis.
The workers were allowed to go home after they had been counted and accounted for as officials checked to ensure that no radioactivity was reported outside the plant.
According to Business Standard’s report leakage in the PHT system had led to the reactor being shut down at even as all safety systems were reportedly working as intended. "The leakage was inside the reactor and the radiation levels at the site are normal. The coolant leakage has been brought under control. All workers are safe. The district administration has also been informed about the same," said site officials, adding that the reactor would take about 24 hours to cool down.
Earlier, in an statement, Kakrapar Gujarat site director Lalit Kumar Jain of NPCIL said that unit-1 of the Atomic Power Station which was operating at its rated power was shutdown at about 9 am on Friday morning.
"Consequent to a small leak in Primary Heat Transport (PHT) system, the reactor was shut down as intended as per design provisions. All safety systems are working as intended. The radioactivity/radiation levels in the plant premises and outside are normal. KAPS-1&2 consists of two units of pressurised heavy water reactor of 220 MWe each," Jain of NPCIL stated.
According to Vyara district collectorate, the district administration as well as emergency services were alerted in the morning.
KAPS-1&2 comprises two units of pressurised heavy water reactor of 220 Mw each which were commissioned in 1993 and 1995, respectively.
Officials said the safety checks and systems kicked in as intended for emergencies.
The nuclear reactor is slowly cooling down and is in a "safe stage" confirmed Dr Sekhar Basu, Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission.
The heavy water leak affected the reactor's cooling system. If emergency cooling systems do not kick in after this sort of glitch, the temperature can rise so much that the core of the reactor can melt down completely.
Heavy water, formed with a hydrogen isotope, is used in Indian reactors as a preferred cooling agent.