Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Sea level rise may affect atomic plants in Tamil Nadu

IANS: The Kalpakkam atomic power station near Chennai in Tamil Nadu may have escaped the fury of the deadly tsunami six years ago, but it need not be second time lucky. A new study says the Madras Atomic Power Station - as it is formally called - and another station under construction in Kudankulam are at risk of being affected by the anticipated one-metre sea level rise (SLR) as early as 2050 due to climate change.

'A one-metre rise in average sea level will permanently inundate about 1,091 sq km along the Tamil Nadu coast, but the total area at risk will be nearly six times as much,' says the study released in Chennai. 'These nuclear power stations and their associated infrastructure are located just beyond the zone estimated to be directly at risk from storm surges from a 1-metre SLR,' says Sujatha Byravan, senior researcher at the Centre for Development Finance (CDF) in Chennai and principal author of the study.

The Madras Atomic Power Station 1&2 reactors are at elevations of 5-10 metres above current mean sea level, while the Kudankulam nuclear power plant is even higher. 'Nevertheless, both are very close to the shoreline and are of concern because of the risk associated with coastal erosion,' the study says.

The report was co-authored with Rajesh Rangarajan of CDF and Sudhir Chella Rajan, humanities and social sciences professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. The authors admit that the exact rise in sea level resulting from climate change is highly debatable and that their estimate of one-metre SLR by 2050 is 'conservative'….

Aerial view of Rama's Bridge (or Adam's Bridge) on the coast of Tamil Nadu, shot by Bodhitha

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