Indian Anglers' Team in action

Sosnovy Bor (Russia): Twenty professional Anglers gathered for an International Fishing Tournament in Sosnovy Bor. But, it was a tournament with a difference as the participants were to fish in the waters of the Gulf of Finland that has Russia’s largest operating atomic power station – the Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant (LNPP) – located on its southern shore.

Nuclear accidents like Fukushima have fuelled fears in the mind of common man vis-à-vis the impact of nuclear power generation on the environment and the event was organised to dispel the unfounded concerns like the use of water as coolant disrupting the marine life. The 20 participants were from India, Bangladesh, Hungary, Egypt and Turkey, countries where Russia’s government owned nuclear reactor manufacturer Rosatom is setting nuclear power plant projects.

From India ace Angler and founder of Pelagic Tribe Derek D Souza and India President of the International Game Fishing Association Santosh Kolwankar participated in the event. D Souza started angling at the age of 4 and since then he has been angling across India. Kolwankar, a businessman by profession, also has decade-long experience in angling in India. Bangladesh was represented by Omar Ben Zulfiquer Haider and Md. Nadim Hasan Shovon from ‘Angling in Bangladesh,’ a renowned angling platform in the country.

All the participants of the event organised by Pro Anglers League (PAL) were also given a tour of the Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant and the technology associated with it. “Not only it was proud moment for all the participating teams but also it helped me and other participants to clear many myths associated with Nuclear energy and to better understand the operations, safety precautions and kind of ecological sensitivity that Rosatom maintains with their Nuclear power plants,” Kolwankar told Nuclear Asia. Even though fishes alluded the Indian team, the experience gained in fishing for Zander, Pike and Perch was “new and priceless” for them. Rosatom has been part of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant, Tamil Nadu in India.

Nadim Hasan also echoed these sentiments: “It was a unique experience to fish in front of a nuclear power plant. The fish we caught were healthy and radiation free. Now I am convinced that this kind of power generation does not have adverse impact on the surrounding ecology.” In Bangladesh, Rosatom is part of the first nuclear power plant of the country.
The process of fishing itself was the key during the competition. After weighing, the fish were released back into the sea. Russian professional anglers, winners of Russian national and regional fishing competitions, as well as independent foreign experts from Czech Republic and Egypt judged the tournament.

The team from Egypt was the winner of the tournament. The second and third places were taken by fishermen from Russia and Hungary respectively. Participant from Hungary was awarded a special prize in “the biggest catch” nomination. Turkish team was awarded a special prize in the “determination to win” nomination.

“I have been fishing for a long time. However, I am participating in the professional tournament in Russia for the first time. This is an incredible experience! I am grateful to all the participants of the tournament, because their enthusiasm and sporting spirit have made the competition quite tense and interesting. – Ghanem Hamed, participant from Egypt and one of the winners of the Tournament, said while sharing his experience. Their team is from Matrouh, where the first nuclear power plant of Egypt El Dabaa NPP will be constructed soon.

Environmental and Nuclear Power Plant

The Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant located in Sosnovy Bor has four RBMK reactors and one VVER-1200 reactor that was commissioned in 2018. The second VVER-1200 reactor unit would be commissioned soon. The plant is located 70 kms from the large Russian metropolitan city of St. Petersburg, 100 kms from Finland and 75 kms from Estonia. Besides generating electricity for a huge part of the country, the plant also helps in production of 15 isotopes for medical use.

The Baltic Sea water has been used for cooling purposes in the nuclear power plant. Alexandra Tkacheva, head of the Environmental Department at Leningrad NPP, said in response to a query: “The total volume of water used for cooling purposes in 2018 has been 48 94,148 cubic meters. Because of cooling towers use of sea water has reduced considerably. And, sea water released back is not contaminated by the nuclear reactor.”

As per the Russian legislation, informed Tkacheva, the temperature of the water released in the sea can be increased only by 3 degree Celsius in comparison to the hottest day in the last decade. The Gulf of Finland has been home to Baltic Herring, Perch, Rainbow Fish and Salmo Salar among others. Some of these fish can be as large as one 1.70 meters. The come to the shore to lay eggs.