Sunday, October 21, 2012

Useful Science and Technology Updates

Conversion of Sea Water into Potable Water

An eighteen lakh (18 lakh) litres per day capacity desalination plant operating on the Reverse Osmosis (RO) process has been setup, as part of Nuclear Desalination Demonstration Project (NDDP) at Kalpakkam, Tamil Nadu. Another plant, a Multi-Stage Flash (MSF) Desalination Plant with a capacity of forty five lakh (45 lakh) litres per day has also been setup at Kalpakkam as a part of NDDP. It is located adjacent to Madras Atomic Power Station (MAPS) and uses low pressure steam as energy input for MSF desalination plant. The hybrid MSF-RO plant is operated to produce distilled water for high end industrial applications and potable water for drinking and other applications.
The per litre cost of conversion of seawater into potable water by atomic energy varies between 5 & 10 paise depending on site conditions, end product quality and the technology in use.
The technology for setting up desalination plants is available with the Government in the Department of Atomic Energy for large scale conversion of sea water into potable water.

Flood Early Warning System Project

The Flood Early Warning System (FLEWS) project is aimed to provide advance information on flood events as an input to disaster preparedness. However, FLEWS is not intended to prevent an impending flood event. FLEWS was initiated as Research and Development (R&D) project, at the behest of North Eastern Council (NEC) during 2009. It is currently extended to 14 districts in Assam covering both Brahmaputra and Barak valley on an operational basis.
The FLEWS project has been improving over the years both in terms of success rate in forecasting flood events (i.e., actual flood occurrence or rise in river level) and also in improving the lead time (time difference between the forecast issued and event occurrence). The success rate of flood prediction has improved from 25% in the year 2009 to 75% in the year 2011. During the current year the success rate has further improved to 80% for a total of 21 forecasted events in the 14 districts. The maximum lead time of forecast has improved from 7 hours to 18 hours during the same period.
The FLEWS model is terrain specific and in addition to satellite based inputs, in-situ data on rainfall and river discharge at critical points is also required. The Central Water Commission (CWC), Ministry of Water Resources is mandated for flood forecasts in India and Department of Space does not have any plan for extending FLEWS to other States including Odisha.

Operation of Chandrayaan II:

Government has approved Chandrayaan-II Project in September 2008. Chandrayaan –II is envisaged as a Indo-Russian joint project consisting of (i) an unmanned Orbiter with scientific instruments to orbit the Moon; (ii) Lander module to be supplied by Russia and a Rover module by India for in-situ scientific exploration of the Moon. The work on Chandrayaan-II is in progress. Chandrayaan-II does not envisage manned lunar expedition.
There is no immediate plan for manned mission to Moon.

Satellite to Mars:

Government has approved in August 2012 the proposal to undertake the first unmanned mission to planet Mars to be launched during October- November 2013 using India's Polar Satellite Launch vehicle (PSLV-XL) from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota. The spacecraft will be placed in an elliptical orbit of 500 km X 80,000 km around Mars by September 2014 after a voyage of nearly 300 days from the Earth's orbit.
The primary aim and objective of the Mars Orbiter mission is to demonstrate India's technological capability to reach Martian orbit. Further during the orbital life of the orbiter around Mars, scientific studies would be undertaken.
The proposed Indian initiative to Mars will pave the way for future scientific missions, and bring a strategic advantage to India. The Mars Orbiter mission would also generate national pride and excitement in the young minds.

Thorium Reserve in the Country

Exploration activities carried out by Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research (AMD), a constituent unit of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), has resulted in establishing 3.74 million tones of Monazite in Andhra Pradesh which contains about 3,36,600 tonnes of thorium oxide equivalent to 2,96,000 tonnes of thorium metal.
These reserves are explored and established.
Indian three stage nuclear power programme is aimed at long term energy independence including use of thorium resources in the third stage. In order to realize this goal, presently, the first stage of programme is accomplished through the nuclear reactors based on natural uranium fuel. The second stage envisages setting up of Fast Breeder Reactors. A Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor is planned at Kalpakkam. The utilization of thorium would be technically possible only in the third stage. Since the country is still in the first stage of the nuclear power programme, the requirement of Thorium by 2020 is quite modest.

Atomic Power Plants Presently Working in States:

Nuclear Power Plants are currently operational in Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.  The details are as under:-
Note:  RAPS-1 (100 MW) is under extended shutdown for techno-economic assessment on continuation of operations.
State Station & Location Capacity (MW) Electricity generated (MU) 2011-12
Maharashtra Tarapur Atomic Power Station (TAPS), Units 1 to 4, Tarapur 2X160+
Rajasthan Rajasthan Atomic Power Station (RAPS), Units 2 to 6, Rajasthan 200+
Tamil Nadu Madras Atomic Power Station (MAPS), Units 1 & 2, Kalpakkam 2X220 2516
Uttar Pradesh Narora Atomic Power Station (NAPS), Units 1 & 2, Narora 2X220 1984
Gujarat Kakrapar Atomic Power Station (KAPS), Units 1 & 2, Kakrapar 2X220 3787
Karnataka Kaiga Generating Station (KGS), Units 1 to 4, Kaiga 4X220 5212
         Nuclear power plants are presently under construction in Gujarat, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu.  The details are as under:-
Project Location & State Capacity (MW)
Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) Units 1 & 2 Kudankulam, Tamil Nadu 2X1000
Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR) Kalpakkam, Tamil Nadu 500
Kakrapar Atomic Power Project (KAPP), Units 3&4 Kakrapar, Gujarat 2X700
Rajasthan Atomic Power Project (RAPP), Units 7&8 Rawatbhata, Rajasthan 2X700
 The XII Five Year Plan proposals envisage start of work on new projects in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.  The details are as under:-
Location & State Project Capacity (MW)
Gorakhpur, Haryana Gorakhpur Units 1&2 2X700
Chutka, Madhya Pradesh Chutka Units 1&2 2X700
Mahi Banswara, Rajasthan Mahi Banswara Units 1&2 2X700
Kaiga, Karnataka Kaiga Units 5&6 2X700
Kudankulam, Tamil Nadu Kudankulam Units 3&4 2X1000
Jaitapur, Maharashtra Jaitapur Units 1&2 2X1650
Kovvada, Andhra Pradesh Kovvada Units 1&2 2X1500
Chhaya Mithi Virdi, Gujarat Chhaya Mithi Virdi Units 1&2 2X1100
Kalpakkam, Tamil Nadu Fast Breeder Reactor (FBR) Units 1&2 2X500
Location to be decided Advanced Heavy Water Reactor (AHWR) 300
In addition, pre-project activities at Bhimpur in Madhya Pradesh and Haripur in West Bengal are planned in the XII Five Year Plan.
The Sector wise and break up of XII Five Year Plan capacity addition programme (excluding nuclear) is as under:-
                     (in MW)
Total thermal total
    Coal Gas/LNG
Central 5632 10600 826 11426 17058
State 1456 12080 260 12340 13796
Private 2116 40015 0 40015 42131
Total 9204 62695 1086 63781 72985
          Further, capacity addition target of 29800 MW power from different renewable energy sources, which includes 15000 MW from wind; 2100 MW from small hydro project; 10,000 MW from solar energy; 2000 MW from biomass & cogeneration and 700 MW from urban & industrial waste has been envisaged during the Twelfth Five Year Plan.

Radiation Levels Around Nuclear Power Projects

Radiation dose levels around nuclear power plants are negligibly higher than those arising out of natural background radiation.  The average radiation dose received by an individual from natural background is 2400 micro-Sievert per year.  The radiation levels at Indian nuclear power plant sites are higher from the average natural background level yielding a additional radiation dose of 1 to 25 micro-Sievert per year at a plant boundary. 
Therefore, there are no ill effects of radiation around nuclear power plants.  Epidemiological surveys for health assessment in respect of employees working in close proximity to radiation and their families at each of the operating nuclear power plants have been carried out.  Nearby villages have been covered in the studies to the extent of employees and their families residing there. 
The studies were carried out by reputed local medical colleges in association with Tata Memorial Centre (TMC), Mumbai, a premier cancer research centre in the country.  These studies comprised filling a questionnaire with respect to demographic, medical data and other relevant details, and carrying out a medical examination.  The primary emphasis of these studies was on prevalence of cancer and congenital anomalies (birth defects) among the employees and their families.  The studies have been conducted at all the operating nuclear power plants located at the six sites across the country as per the following details:-
Site Year of study
Tarapur, Maharashtra 1992 to 1994
Rawatbhata, Rajasthan 1995
Narora, Uttar Pradesh 1997
Kakrapar, Gujarat 1995
Kalpakkam, Tamil Nadu 1997 to 1998 & 2006
Kaiga, Karnataka 1998
Epidemiological studies were also conducted for the villagers living in the vicinity of nuclear power plant sites at Kaiga, Kakrapar and Kudankulam before start of operation of these plants.  These form the baseline for comparison with studies at a later date.        
The studies have established that there has not been any rise in cancer morbidity, birth defects or any other ailments amongst the employees, who are at work or live in close proximity of nuclear power plants, in comparison to the national average.  In addition, the medical examination of occupational workers at each of the operating nuclear power plant is carried out every year in accordance with regulatory requirement prescribed by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB).  The scientific data of these annual medical examinations collated and analysed by Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) during 1995 to 2010 (16 years) establishes that the cancer prevalence among the employees is lower, at 54.05 per lakh, compared to national prevalence of 98.05 per lakh.
The above information was given by the Minister of State in the Ministry Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions and in the Prime Minister's Office, Shri V. Narayanasamy in a written reply in the Lok Sabha in Aug.2012

Source : PIB

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