Monday March 19, 2018
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Kudankulam n-reactor to restart generation in December


Chennai: India’s atomic power company Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) is likely to restart its first 1,000 MW unit at Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) only in December this year, said a source.

The source, not wanting to be named, told IANS: “The first unit is expected to restart generation only in December. The second unit may take longer time to start power generation.”

The NPCIL is building two 1,000 MW atomic power plants with Russian equipment at an outlay of over Rs.17,000 crore.

The first unit was connected to the southern grid in December 2014. The unit was operating at 60 percent capacity for some time before it was shut down for annual maintenance.

At the time of its shut down in June, NPCIL said the unit will restart after 60 days post annual maintenance and refuelling.

According to Power System Operation Corporation Ltd (PSOC), the KNPP first unit is expected to restart power generation on October 30. But this deadline is expected to be breached again.

Atomic Energy Commission chairman Sekhar Basu recently told IANS that as per current indications, the first KNPP unit is expected to restart later this year and the second unit would go on stream sometime next year.

He also said the restart of the first unit may happen this December.

Basu said lot of checks have to be carried out as the first KNPP unit was shut down for the first time since it started generating power.

Despite the unit being first of its kind in the country and that it has been shut down regularly, the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) this year issued a five year operating licence for the plant.

Normally AERB issues operating licence for a year if the plant is first of its kind in the country and based on the test reports the licence would be renewed, an NPCIL official told IANS earlier.

Despite several attempts by IANS, KNPP’s site director R.S. Sundar was not available for clarifications.


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Pentavalent vaccine: Doctors raise red flag

In spite of the data presented in this paper from a large cohort, the authors point out that the evidence is merely circumstantial and not conclusive

the new Hepatitis B vaccine for adults is called Heplisav-B.
India's PV to be reexamined because of its harmful effects. .
  • Pentavalent vaccine was introduced in India six years ago
  • It is since then have been a cause of many deaths
  • Doctors want it to be reexamined before continuing its use

Pentavalent vaccine (PV), that was introduced by India a little over six years ago, doubled the deaths of children soon after vaccination compared to the DPT (Diphtheria-Pertussis-Tetanus) vaccine, according to a new study that calls for a “rigorous review of the deaths following vaccination with PV”.

Health officials have launched a campaign targeting nearly 24 million people with a one-fifth dose of the vaccine. Wikimedia Commons
PV has been cause of many deaths in past years. Wikimedia Commons

Government records show that there were 10,612 deaths following vaccination (both PV and DPT) in the last 10 years. There was a huge increase in these numbers in 2017, which the Health Ministry has promised to study. “The present analysis could be a starting point in the quest to reduce the numbers of such deaths,” authors of the new study say.

The study by Dr Jacob Puliyel, Head of Pediatrics at St Stephens Hospital, and Dr V. Sreenivas, Professor of Biostatistics at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), both in New Delhi, is published in the peer-reviewed Medical Journal of Dr D.Y. Patil University.

PV is a combination of the DPT vaccine and two more vaccines against Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) and hepatitis B. Starting December 2011, PV was introduced into India’s immunisation programme to replace DPT vaccine in a staged manner with a view to adding protection against Hib and Hepatitis B without increasing the number of injections given to infants.

Doctors have raised concerns over these vaccines. Wikimedia Commons
Doctors have raised concerns over these vaccines. Wikimedia Commons

But sporadic reports of unexplained deaths following immunisation with PV had been a matter of concern. Puliyel, Sreenivas and their colleagues undertook the study to find out if these deaths were merely coincidental or vaccine-induced.

The authors obtained data of all deaths reported from April 2012 to May 2016 under the Right to Information Act. Data on deaths within 72 hours of administering DPT and PV from different states were used.

For their study, the authors assumed that all deaths within 72 hours of receiving DPT are natural deaths. Using this figure as the baseline, they presumed that any increase in the number of deaths above this baseline among children receiving PV must be caused by this vaccine.

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According to their analysis of the data provided by the government, there were 237 deaths within 72 hours of administering the Pentavalent vaccine — twice the death rate among infants who received DPT vaccine.

Extrapolating the data, the authors have estimated that vaccination of 26 million children each year in India would result in 122 additional deaths within 72 hours, due to the switch from DPT to PV.

“There is likely to be 7,020 to 8,190 deaths from PV each year if data from states with the better reporting, namely Manipur and Chandigarh, are projected nationwide,” their report says.

It is important to make sure that these vaccines are reexamined peroperly. VOA

The authors note that while the study looks at the short-term increase in deaths (within three days of vaccination) it does not calculate the potential benefits of PV on infant mortality, for example by protection against lethal diseases like Haemophilus influenza.

In spite of the data presented in this paper from a large cohort, the authors point out that the evidence is merely circumstantial and not conclusive. “These findings of differential death rates between DPT and PV do call for further rigorous prospective population-based investigations,” the study concludes. IANS