What is the Kaiga Atomic Power Center?

The indigenously designed Kaiga Atomic Power Station’s (KAPS) Units 1 and 2 began operations in 2000. The Kaiga-1 nuclear power unit started its continuous operation in 2016. Both had cost the exchequer Rs 2,800 crore.

For a long time, international sanctions following the 1994 and 1998 nuclear tests kept India’s nuclear program in limbo. The sanctions were lifted only when the Indo-US Civilian Nuclear Deal was signed.

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Third Largest Atomic Power Station in India

It is the third-largest nuclear power plant in India, Kaiga Atomic Power Station (KAPS), located in Karwar district, is near river Kali in Karwar district of Karnataka. Surrounded by verdant rainforest, KAPS is run by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL).

Beneficiary states

The Kaiga Atomic Power Station supplies 67% of the power generated by its nuclear reactors to Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Puducherry. The remaining 33% is reserved for the home state Karnataka.

Kaiga Atomic Plant – World Record

The Kaiga Atomic Power Station currently has four working nuclear power units. Units 5 and 6 were proposed but faced opposition. In 2018, Unit-1 ran uninterrupted for 941 days, a world record. Prime Minister Narendra Modi called it a “major feat.” KAPS Unit 1 beat a British reactor’s world record of 940 days.

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BHEL equipment

The Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited is the only supplier of nuclear power equipment to the Kaiga Atomic Power Station. The indigenously-developed 220 MW Unit 1, which created the world record for uninterrupted operation, was built with BHEL equipment. All the plant equipment, including the 220 MW steam turbine generator set, plus the four steam generators for Unit 1, was manufactured by the Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited.

Environmentalists’ Opposition

Environmentalists have opposed the Kaiga Atomic Power Station since the beginning. The Centre went ahead, and in the year 2000, KAPS began operations. Since then, the protests have been over the proposed expansion of KAPS by the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC).

For details about Thermal Power Plants in India, visit the linked article.

More opposition

In November of 2011, inhabitants of several villages in the vicinity of KAPS staged a protest, alleging a threat to their lives from the nuclear plant. Scientists and environmentalists of Karwar have been opposing moves for the expansion of KAPS, citing damage and danger to the ecology. They have asked the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) to stop expansion.

Conclusion

In 2009, an insider poisoned the nuclear power plant’s drinking water with tritium, a radioactive substance. Some 50 workers were exposed to high doses of radioactivity. The saboteur was, however, never identified. Incidentally, Kaiga Atomic Power Station is the only nuclear power plant set up in a rainforest. A bunch of environmentalists and scientists have been calling for the plant’s shut down. These same environmentalists have been agitating against any move to add more nuclear reactors to Kaiga.

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Frequently Asked Questions on Kaiga Atomic Power Station

Does Kaiga Atomic Power Station pose danger to the Western Ghats?

According to environmentalists, the Kaiga Atomic Power Station, located in the foothills of the Western Ghats, is in the middle of verdant rainforests of the Western Ghats, the source of water for all the south Indian states. Damaging the forest cover would spell death to the ecology of the region.

How does Kaiga Atomic Power Station pose a threat to the Western Ghats?

There are four dams upstream on river Kali. The 2018-like deluge which left Kerala reeling, causing immense damage, could be a possibility in the Western Ghats, too, with tragic results for the people, flora, and fauna of the region.

Who are leading the opposition against Kaiga Atomic Power Station?

Environmental bodies—Uttara Kannada Zilla Psrisara Samrakshana Samiti, Bedti Aghanashini Kolla Samiti, and Vruksha Laksha Andolana—were leading the protests.

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