A Visit To The Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant: StudentSpeak


A Visit To The Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant: StudentSpeak

Pranav Krishnan & Jennifer (Grade 10 GPS-International)

On 23-Sept-2014, 46 students from the GPS-International block, embarked from school on an exciting, once in a lifetime experience. We were going on a visit to India’s largest nuclear power plant! A place , which the international science community itched to know what was going on, thanks to India’s pioneering steps forward in Nuclear Science.

We, Environment Management and Physics students from the 9th, 10th  and 11th  grades, got this amazing opportunity to visit the under construction second unit of the 1000 Mw producing Kudankulam Power Plant, near Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu. Normally, not a soul except the employees are allowed anywhere near the nuclear reactors. But thanks to communication between the school and NPCIL, the visit to the unit under construction was facilitated.

On the 24th when our visit was scheduled, we arrived at the sprawling plant by the waters of the Bay of Bengal. All of us underwent stringent security checks that were expected of an area of such government importance and strong security. Along with another school from near the
Kerala border, we were treated to a detailed, fascinating presentation and interactive session by an employee about the plant, its workings, and nearly everything about Nuclear Power there was to know!

 The interactive session was a very fruitful one as we gained a lot of knowledge about Nuclear Power, including the dangers, previous disasters and safety measures taken. We were then taken on a plant bus to the fish protection site that seeks to preserve local fauna and marine life. Next was a visit inside the simulation control room of the plant, followed by lunch. The proliferation of buttons, gauges and display screens in the control room looked like something out of a spaceship! And then was the pinnacle of the trip: The nuclear reactor itself!

Feeling quite in character with our white hardhats, we set off into the reactor. It was enthralling and loud, bright yellow floodlights lighting up the insides of the monstrous air-locked reactor chamber. We were pointed out the complex machinery that we saw in the presentation.

The reactor core, as yet unassembled, was tantalizingly out of view, for the few of us who desperately wanted to see something like that out of the movies about radioactive materials.On exiting the reactor, we bid goodbye to the friendly plant staff as we went back past the security checks.

Capping off a brilliant educational visit, we went to the Kanyakumari beach in the evening were the expert hagglers among us were seen fetching bargain deals while shopping on the quayside. We returned to Kochi in our bus the next morning, all the better after a memorable and interesting visit, one that is sure to stick with all Science aspirants for a long time to come!