Kalpakkam is a small town in Tamil Nadu, India, situated on the Coromandel Coast 70 kilometres south of Chennai. A conglomerate of two villages (Puduppattinam and Sadurangappatinam) and a DAE township, it is about 55 kilometres (34 mi) from Thiruvanmiyur and 85 kilometres (53 mi) from Pondicherry.
Kalpakkam is mostly famous for its nuclear plants and affiliated research installations. These include the Madras Atomic Power Station (MAPS), one of India's nuclear power plants, and the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR), an affiliate of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE).
Due to increasing congestion in Kalpakkam arising from the need to accommodate more employees, a new township of Anupuram/Amaipakkam, 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) from Kalpakkam, was inaugurated in 1998.
The tsunami caused by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake generated widespread damage and resulted in 200 deaths in and around Kalpakkam. There is a tsunami memorial having a white oval plaque engraved with the names of 39 people who lost their lives in the tsunami.
Kalpakkam is a well built and planned township. The schools present in the township are Atomic Energy Central School (AECS 1 and 2), Kendriya Vidyalaya-1, Kendriya Vidyalaya-2, Govt Hr. Secondary School and Infant Jesus Matric Hr. Sec. School on Pudupattinam. The township is split into two sides: the Sadras and Pudupattinam sides. Often there is a healthy rivalry in sports and in other activities between the two sides. Both sides have similar facilities, but Pudupattinam has more complete and bigger facilities, such as the hospital and the General Services Organization (GSO). The two sides are separated by two bridges over the canal which joins the sea nearby and well over the backwater with thousands of jellyfish moving underneath. Also, the backwater is a visiting place by many migratory birds especially the rarely seen Siberian crane in the depths of winter. The backwater can be clearly seen through the compound walls of K.V-2 in Sadras.
Until a few years ago, the beach at Kalpakkam used to be lined with casuarina trees and only a few weeds. Nowadays, to avoid the widespread damage in case of a tsunami again, weed growth is starting to dominate, which the locals are fighting to keep in check. Also, a tsunami wall has been built across the seashore in case of another tsunami. The relatively calm waters are free of sharks.
Kalpakkam is also very close to Mamallapuram – one of the famous tourist destinations near Chennai. The environment within the township has been maintained for over 30 years. The township contains numerous trees and various parks, and various outlets for recreation, including tennis courts, music, dance, swimming academies and other sport activities.
NESCO (Nuclear Employee Sports and Cultural Organisation), previously KRC (Kalpakkam Recreation Centre) is governed by an elected employee council. It offers various facilities for members: Movies, Basketball, Volleyball, Football, Badminton, Carrom, Chess, Table Tennis and a Gym. There is also a tennis court and Swimming pool where competitions are held annually.
There are only a few hotels available such as BEMS Hotel near Central Bus stand, Ammavin Adupangarai and Arusuvai Virundhu in ECR. There is also a new cafe named Icecap for cold drinks and chat items.
The township is well connected by road and TNSTC operates buses from Chennai, Pondicherry, Bangalore, Coimbatore, Trichy, Nagercoil, Tirupathi, Vellore, Tiruvannamalai Chittoor, Tindivanam and Kanchipuram. The East Coast Road connecting Chennai and Pondicherry passes through Pudupattinam.