Chennai, India: The Kalpakkam atomic power station near Chennai in Tamil Nadu, India, at risk of being affected by the anticipated one-metre sea level rise (SLR) as early as 2050 due to climate change, according to a GIS-based study by Centre for Development Finance (CDF), Chennai, India.
The report quoted, “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.”
“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 one-metre SLR,” said Sujatha Byravan, senior researcher at the Centre for Development Finance (CDF) in Chennai and principal author of the study.
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 revealed they used GIS and information available in the public domain to calculate the financial implications of SLR. They estimate the total replacement value of infrastructure (ports, power plants and major roads in the state to be INR474 billion-INR535 billion.
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.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change expects a maximum SLR of 59 cm by 2100 while the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research suggests a rise in mean sea level of up to 1.4 metres by 2100 and other scientists anticipate SLR of one to several metres, Byravan said.
The study warns that unless advanced planning is made to deal with the impacts of climate change, “the country is in danger of finding itself in extremely dire circumstances”.
The study concentrates on the impact of SLR in India’s southern-most state of Tamil Nadu that has a coastline of about 1,076 km – about 15 percent of India’s total.