How Safe Are Nuclear Reactors in India?

India’s first prototype fast breeder reactor (PFBR), currently being built in Kalpakkam, Tamil Nadu, is expected to be operational in 2020. However, doubts have been raised regarding its operational safety. 

In their 2011 article, Ashwin Kumar and M V Ramana highlight some of the issues with the Kalpakkam reactor in their 2011 article. They argue that in the event of an accident in the reactor, the PFBR’s containment design is inadequate to prevent radiation from contaminating  the surrounding areas. S C Chetal and P Chellapandi of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) respond to Kumar and Ramana, arguing that the design of the PFBR is robust, and will be able to use the uranium ore in a safe and efficient manner. Ramana and Kumar respond to Chetal and Chellapandi’s justifications, and contend that the criterion under which the DAE considers the reactor “safe” is questionable. 


A few other works that are broadly related to this discussion:

  1. Levelised Cost of Electricity for Nuclear Power Using Light Water Reactor Technology in India, Anoop Singh, Saurabh Sharma, and M S Kalra, 2018
  2. Nuclear Power at What Cost? Manu V Mathai, 2013
  3. Nuclear Power in India, M S Srinivasan, R B Grover, and S A Bhardwaj, 2005
  4. Economics of Nuclear Power from Heavy Water Reactors, M V Ramana, Antonette D’Sa, and Amulya K N Reddy, 2005


Ed: To contribute to a more comprehensive discussion map, please share links to other relevant articles in the comments section or write to us at with the subject line—"Nuclear Power and Operational Risk."
Curated by Kieran Lobo []

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