Near miss

A mechanical snag at the Narora Atomic Power plant has put a question mark on the safety of India's nuclear establishment

Published: Monday 15 November 1999

On September 30, a door of the containment section of Unit 2 of the Narora Atomic Power plant near Delhi collapsed. The incident reportedly took place when the airlock doors of the reactor, which is leak-proof and electronically operated, was tested for tightness. Since the locking pins of this particular door were not properly in place, the five-tonne airlock door, came off its hinges. Officials say that the mechanical snag took place due to human error. This is the second time when there has been an accident in the plant. In 1993, the turbine generator of the unit was destroyed by a fire.

However, the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) and the Nuclear Power Corporation (NPC), said that there was no radiation leak. Although the unit could have been operated, the plant has been closed down as a precautionary measure. It is expected to reopen by the end of October.

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