Topical prize: Invest in our Planet

Dr Pradeep Kumar Dammala

Pradeep Kumar Dammala headshot

Dr Pradeep Kumar Dammala is the winner of the 2023 RIA topical prize for his research addressing the Earth Day 2023 theme, Invest in our Planet: act (boldly), innovate (broadly), and implement (equitably). His article, Offshore wind farms as additional coolant power sources to enhance seismic resilience of nuclear power plants– A case study, is published in Nuclear Engineering and Design.

Dr Dammala is a 2016 Commonwealth Split-site Scholar from India who gained a PhD in Civil Engineering at the University of Surrey and the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati. His article proposes a seismic resilient strategy to enhance the robustness of cooling power for nuclear power plants during seismic events using sustainable wind power.

To address the anticipated 50% increase in global energy demand by 2050 and tackle concerns regarding energy consumption, there is a growing emphasis on expanding renewable energy sources. According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), over 80% of global energy is currently derived from fossil fuels, contributing to more than 60% of greenhouse gas emissions, which negatively impacts the environment.

Nuclear energy is considered a viable alternative to fossil fuels. A reliable supply of cooling power is crucial for the operation of Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs) and design engineers must adhere to strict guidelines to ensure multiple layers of safety for NPPs. However, unforeseen events, such as earthquakes and tsunamis, can lead to the loss of coolant, with potentially devastating consequences.

Dr Dammala’s research proposes a seismic strengthening strategy for NPPs, integrating sustainable wind energy as an alternative cooling power source during emergencies. This strategy involves estimating cooling power requirements, designing offshore turbines and foundations, and evaluating the foundation’s safety under anticipated seismic scenarios. The proposed methodology is illustrated through a case study of an existing NPP in India located along the southern coastline, which is at risk to geohazards such as tsunamis and earthquakes.

His research has been published in Indian media and shared through an international workshop for over 200 participants organised by Dr Dammala through the CSC’s Alumni Community Engagement Fund (ACEF). You can read more about this workshop on the CSC website.

Dr Dammala’s research contributes to Sustainable Development Goals 7, and to the CSC Development Theme Science and technology for development.