A tsunami of questions

By Sunita Narain
Last Updated: Sunday 07 June 2015

Are Indian nuclear power plants at risk? In the light of what is happening in Japan, is India prepared to deal with high-risk nuclear technologies as it embarks on a new phase of nuclear energy expansion? These are issues that have been debated on prime news channels over the past few nights. These are important issues, I believe, and relevant questions. The fact is that Japan is an amazingly technologically sophisticated country, which had built its plants for all exigencies and calamities. But even Japan is finding it difficult to contain the disaster that is still building up and is of potentially huge proportions.

I was a participant in many of these debates, which featured top Indian nuclear scientists (M R Srinivasan, former chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, Bikash Sinha, nuclear scientist based in Kolkata, A Gopalakrishnan, former head of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board and G Balachandran, Consulting Fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses). I was surprised to find that the discussions quickly deteriorated—nuclear scientists, it seems, have a religion that believes that you are either with them or against them. Ask a question and either you get a response that the answer is technical and you will not be able to understand it, or you will be told that the country needs nuclear energy because it is power hungry. The assumption is that you cannot question them because then you are against nuclear power.

But let me ask these questions, once again. This time hoping that we will have a well reasoned and deliberated discussion:

  1. The fact is that the nuclear establishment in India has been extremely closed and tight-lipped about its workings. We know very little about our internal capacity to deal with a crisis or about the safety provisions of our existing infrastructure because the nuclear science establishment refuses to enter any discussion. We know because we have written about developments and have also faced their wrath (I will ask my colleague Richard Mahapatra to tell us about how we were called everything nasty when we wrote about uranium issues facing the nuclear industry). But this means that we know little about them. Today we cannot be told that everything is all right, that we should believe in them. We need more information. We need transparency. We need a public debate. Will we have these?
  2. This is not the problem of the past. Even today, when the Jaitapur plant in Maharashtra is on the anvil in the midst of huge opposition from communities, there is a deep reluctance to share information or to ensure that proper scrutiny of the plant and its safety provisions. Activists from the region will tell you that the EIA done to clear the plant is based on outdated data; it is shoddy and misses all key issues relevant to nuclear power plants. Why then should people believe blindly that they are safe?
  3. There is a growing concern, especially after what happened in Japan, that a nuclear establishment, already used to secret workings, is even more deadly when it gets combined with private industry. In Japan there is concern that not enough was shared by the industry with people about the disaster. In India, we are moving towards a new regime of large industry involvement in the nuclear sector. The first plant is being commissioned to French energy giant Areva. The problem is that no longer can the industry be taken as functioning under the regulatory gaze of countries. The fact is that relationships are now totally unequal: in this case French president is their agent. This industry, which is desperate for its renaissance in our part of the world, does not want to be asked uncomfortable questions. Isn’t there even more reason to demand open answers to these questions?
  4. It is not about being for or against nuclear power. It is well understood that nuclear is a potential source of energy across the world. The question is: what kind of safeguards should we build to protect ourselves against high risks (like Japan’s earthquake and tsunami combined)? The question is: what is the liability regime we must create to ensure that these safeguards are built, irrespective of the costs? We know when India’s nuclear liability bill was being pushed through (not without a little nudge from our friends in the US), there was outrage about the fact that liability payouts were kept low. They were kept low because otherwise the cost of insurance would be high. Ironically (and luckily) for us this discussion took place when the US was debating a similar liability issue following the BP oil accident (read my article in HT for more). The public discussion led to changes in the bill, much to the unhappiness of the nuclear industry. But perhaps in the light of the disaster in Japan we need to revisit this discussion.

I can list more questions but another big issue, I think, we need to discuss is that scientists (at least Indian scientists) are openly hostile to public discussions and debates. We have seen this in the case of GM crops. We have seen this in the case of nuclear plants. Coincidentally, I wrote about this just last week, incensed by what I have seen in the country. I wrote not to insult but to provoke discussion. I hope it will generate a debate on how we will build a scientific, literate society in our rowdy democracy.

Tags: Japan, tsunami, earthquake, nuclear disaster, nuclear energy, nuclear power plants, India, nuclear liability, A Gopalakrishnan, nuclear scientists, Jaitapur, Areva, nuclear bill

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  • I fully agree with what you

    I fully agree with what you have written.
    Japan Quake and following nuclear crisis must act as an eye-opener for Indian Government which has always been reckless in planning. Japan is far ahead of us in technology and capability to deal with disasters. It is seen every year when floods and other natural calamities strike our country, government acts more like a spectator or with haphazard planning. With the available technical resources and expertise, we are not capable of handling even small scale natural disasters, what to talk of nuclear disasters. We should not forget DelhiÔÇÖs radiation leak case
    There has never been any transparency in such matters and plannings in India. Nuclear reactors are no exception. When a foreign country is involved in the project, people of this country who shall be the ultimate sufferers in the event of any disaster, have every right to know the facts.
    Nuclear power is not the only answer to power crisis. And who can ensure that it shall fulfil the tall claims made by the government and shall not fizzle out like Sardar Sarovar dam? The question of liability comes at last. No money or extent of liability can equal the loss of life in case of a nuclear disaster in India which, in all probability shall affect far more people than that of Japan.
    The proponents of nuclear plant at Jaitapur including Jairam Ramesh who think that jaitapur plant would be environmentally benign must learn something from JapanÔÇÖs situation. Despit the fact that Japan has enormous experience in handling with earthquakes and Tsunamis, it could not save the reactors. There is no reason leading us to believe that Jaitapur nuclear plant cannot suffer the same fate as JapanÔÇÖs reactors. Situationally, Jaitapur is certainly worse. There should be a political provision for public consensus in all such technologically big decisions having far reaching effects and capable of affecting millions in case of a disaster and there should be separate voting for this. How can handful of people take such big decisions who are often seen as proponents of foreign agenda.

    Anil Kapoor

    Posted by: Anonymous | 9 years ago | Reply
  • Why cant govt of "REPUBLIC"

    Why cant govt of "REPUBLIC" INDIA and worlds largest democracy publish a transparent report regarding the safety of nuclear plants and dosnt it promote renewable energy like the way the govt promotes itself door to door during elections.. these upcoming nuclear reactors are not for the interest of people of INDIA rather for the interest of the countries which are selling these future "KILLERS" to India. Much of eleectricity can b saved if all the street lights and at least 1 room of every house gets its power from renewable sources. The govt is just made of literate illiterates..!

    Posted by: Anonymous | 9 years ago | Reply
  • Do see -

    Do see - http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/15/us-japan-nuclear-chernobyl-idUSTRE72E5MV20110315

    http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?226227 "For coastal sites, flooding may be due to tropical cyclones, tsunamis, seiches (a standing wave in a closed body of water such as a lake or a bay) and wind waves. In India, tsunamis and seiches do not occur. Hence cyclones alone have been singled out for detailed study."

    ÔÇöReactor Safety Analysis Group's report in Safety of the Indian Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors, DAE publication, November 1986 ...ER....why should we be believing our DAE?!

    Posted by: Anonymous | 9 years ago | Reply
  • The questions raised need to

    The questions raised need to be raised,no doubt. Overnight, most people seem to have become "experts" on nuclear power plants and their working. What I understand is that our scientists & technologists working in this field with a lot of experience are second to none and have raised the issue of TAPS 1 & 2 which are GE designs similar to Fukushima.
    The other 20 or so operating Indian reactors are also being looked at.
    My opinion is that let us leave it to our experts to audit and initiate a forward path to cover deficiencies found.I am sure even as individuals, they do not want to sit next to a Pandora's box. They, the experts,are as much stakeholders as we, the less knowledgable citizens . So let us leave it to them.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 9 years ago | Reply
  • One thing is for sure.How

    One thing is for sure.How much developed a nation becomes like Japan or U.S,no one or no developed technology can stand perfect in front of the wrath of a natural disaster and its extent and intensity like that of a Earthquake or a Tsunami. So, technology and developments should go on their way and destruction on its way.If Man wants the Enjoyment part of any technological advancement, then why the fear of facing its failure and its aftermath.Natural Disasters are beyond man's understanding.Each person should be prepared to eat the fruits,let be sweet or sour!!!.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 9 years ago | Reply
  • The debate with nuclear

    The debate with nuclear scientists in Times Now channel was indeed interesting.I think before establishing the nuclear plants,there is need to take views of citizens and the plan for the plants should be published for objections and suggestions.Since nuclear science is highly specialized subject which may be the reason the citizens are not made aware of any related issues. That's why Japan also suffered. We are living in democracy and every citizen has right to know the pros and cons of nuclear energy.However,there is no need to undermine the credibility of our nuclear scientists.They are capable of protecting the nuclear plants as well as from adverse consequences.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 9 years ago | Reply
  • Our record of managing

    Our record of managing disasters and safety standards is dismal. Look at Bhopal gas tragedy and even at a smallet scale the Jaipur fire tragedy in IOC oil depot in 2009. It is shockingly non-existent.
    I am not convinced about the seismic safety of our present nuclear plants and I have reason to doubt it.
    The more important issue is that the next nuclear disaster may happen from hitherto unthought of causes. One fears the "unknown unkowns" in nuclear plants. NY times had aninteresting article on this.


    Hearing the strident, aggressive, combative voices of Srninvasan et al one can only feel they seem to be trying hard to convince themselves.

    S. A.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 9 years ago | Reply
  • ~With out taking stand for or

    ~With out taking stand for or against at this stage,
    just to be sure of the safety in real terms for me far away to those who are living just around there:

    How about ensuring the Retirement Housing, Education and Hospitals to all the Legislatures and Scientist, in favor of Nuclear facility in its present form of safety, regulation norms, etc., is provided right there itself??

    Will they then seek modification to the safety standards or administrative/emergency preparedness or suggest to live far away from these sites??

    I am in dire need of power in many forms for my present comfort, but just wish to calibrate at what cost I am to get it - in terms of above safety aspect before debating further in favor or against it.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 9 years ago | Reply
  • Nuclear Power Plant building

    Nuclear Power Plant building companies who base their products on fission technology are invested with huge amounts pooled by large corporations, governments and industrial and business tycoons. The sharks in this field five years ago suffered a fall of 70 percent in their share prices. They are all fighting mad for survival. They know that in Europe, USA, Sweden, Switzerland, France, Germany and Britain they cannot survive or even exist in the future due to banning of nuclear plants. They are prepared to grease any nation headÔÇÖs palm and release any amount from their reserves as bribes to any politician, bureaucrat, broker or parliamentarian. They are now turning to Asia to try their luck where governments are still considering opposing nuclear plants an anti-national activity. In Asia, these countries operate under military agreements which is safe for them to resist peopleÔÇÖs opposition and to keep things under wrap. It is not strange or out of ordinary that the price of their shares goes up or at least stabilizes when each government in Asia reiterates that they will not go back from nuclear energy. We can guess the enormity of the amounts for which the safety and futuristic interests of these countries were compromised. It is true, nuclear power has considerably lost its power with the advent of the Twenty first century and the majority of the worldÔÇÖs people have already tuned against it, with the remaining population also sure to take the same stand. But these large manufacturing companies convince Asian governments that their lesser developed technology will not allow renewable energy sources to take over fully even though they will dominate in the future.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 7 years ago | Reply
  • With wind, solar, tidal,

    With wind, solar, tidal, rubbish and hydro-electric power plants, if and when disasters happen, we can certainly go to those sites and repair or clean them after a safe time. But if it is at a nuclear power site that such a disaster happens, we wonÔÇÖt be able to go anywhere near that place for either clean up or at least for an evaluation in several years or even centuries. Japan trying to evaluate damages caused in the Fukushima power plant is an example. That country, famous for industrial robots, found their technology insufficient, had to borrow an experimental robot from America, and witnessed this robot stumble and fall inoperable inside the affected plant, years after the incident. Still, the world is incapable of surveying the inside of a plant for damages where a nuclear holocaust has occurred. Where Japan and America failed technologically, who are going to succeed, India and Russia? Many countries boast, they have state of the art technology which only means belonging to what level of achievement the world has reached, and we all know up to where the world has reached. So state of the art technology does not mean sufficient technology. The world does not even sufficiently know how to make energy by fusing atoms which is why this technology is still in the infancy state. To be technically correct, atomic fusion technology is only at the embryo stage. When switch from coal to nuclear occurred, it was termed advancement. When switch from nuclear to coal, wind, solar, thermal and tidal occur, it need only be called more advancement or apt advancement. Switch to safer energy production technologies is not at all a going back. When something is proved perilous, we simply abandon them. That is only wisdom, the faculty which enabled mankind advance through ages instead of perishing.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 7 years ago | Reply
  • If production and

    If production and distribution of power had not been established itself as a very great industry, India certainly would have turned to utilizing conventional sources of energy such as wind, geo-thermal, tide and solar. Nuclear reactors are the most convenient source of energy to industrially established energy producers as it has the advantages of supply can be effected when it is needed and more commercial gains and international transactions can be carried on, making good use of the rarity of its raw material. Other energy sources have to be used non-stop. But they are free energy from the earth, and so, cannot be sold at huge profits like nuclear energy. They do not become a burden for future generations by way of generating undisposable waste. When this question is put before the administrative authorities who are only the obeying servants of the energy business, they accuse protestors against nuclear energy to be lunatic. In India, in 2002, the government of India and Tamilnadu state forcefully subjected nuclear protestors of Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant to psychiatric counseling which attracted explanatory summons from the National Human Rights Commission of India. When energy businessmen start their move, there is now no one in India who does not obey their orders, even if accused of violating National Mental Health Act. They dutifully serve their masters. Protection of civil liberties come next only, second to interests of energy men. Our supply of uranium, coal, oil and gas will one day run out. We are already running low in them. But there is no likeliness of wind, sun, tide and geo hotness stopping, not even after 5 million years. Then why is this adamant insistence on nuclear energy except for pocketing billions by way of construction, operation and maintenance of nuclear power plants, profits from selling unnaturally made industrially produced energy and also by way of keeping nuclear wastes sealed against proliferation for 1000 years? World Bank statistics shows that average present day energy consumption of the world is about 562 Peta Joules which is below 1 Zeta Joule. It has been estimated that Planet Earth produces nearly 4000 Zeta Joules each year which go unused, which vainly vanishes into atmosphere. How ignorant can advocates of nuclear energy in this world can be! One can argue for argumentsÔÇÖ sake that for tapping all this free energy, huge investments would be needed, but which does not need huge investments, nuclear energy? Calculate the sum total of all investments made by all countries in the world so far for constructing nuclear plants which remain functional for three or four decades, and we would get the immensity of the influence of energy business. But the earthÔÇÖs other energy sources are undepletable and those plants can be used for centuries, if well made, with a quarter of money the world spent on nuclear plants. Who is to be tested for insanity, protestors or promoters of nuclear plants?

    Posted by: Anonymous | 7 years ago | Reply
  • Japan had 50 atomic rectors

    Japan had 50 atomic rectors which supplied nearly one third of its energy requirements. Debates have been going on in Japan which is more important for survival, the surety of danger from existing power plants or a non-nuclear future. Electrical needs of this heavily industrialized country are enormous. the likeliness of these reactors becoming a sure danger to the whole nation in the future or the need to continue to remain them operable to cater to the electrical needs of that heavy industrialized country. Before the accident at the Fukushima Nuclear Plant, Japanese authorities had been determined on a 50 percent reliance on nuclear power by 2030. Government, politicians and the industrialists wanted them to remain but the people want them to go. Japanese government tried in every way to suppress them and keep those reactors like the governments in India, China and Russia do but the change in worldÔÇÖs public opinion against the use of nuclear reactors changed things in peopleÔÇÖs favour. Japan now has declared that it would become nuclear-free by 2030 which news was a shock to all nuclear countries. There is anxiety about how Japan will bridge the energy deficit caused by this shutting down of all nuclear plants and about the heavy expenditure they would incur on account of import of fossil fuels like petroleum and gas and the increased emission of greenhouse gases they can expect but those who are well aware of the scientific and technological progress the Japanese acquired since World War Second believe that Japan can surely make up for the lost energy by way of developing natural energy sources fast. In fact, they believe Japan with its advanced scientific progress can actually devise innovative methods to tap renewable energy sources as a crash programme and lead the world. If the sky is to fall down, will they sit inert with their technology? Like the Indian National Congress in India, the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan sat on the throne for 50 years and made this nuclear empire for their industry and a monetary fortune for their pockets, till they were thrown out of power and replaced by the Democratic Party of Japan. This future nuclear ban was the decision of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan but the businessmen and industrialists of Japan want LDP and nuclear energy back. Japan has a very powerful business organization named Keidanren which strongly opposes JapanÔÇÖs move for a non-nuclear future. In spite of their resistance, Japan government can only adopt a no-nuclear power policy in the future. It has been estimated that JapanÔÇÖs unemployment rate without nuclear power would be 7.3 and with nuclear power 6.1 in 2030. This means, having dependence on nuclear power would reduce unemployment rate by 1.2 percent only. This statistics was arrived at assuming that Japan will depend 25% on nuclear energy. Even if they decide to depend 100% on nuclear energy, they cannot wipe out unemployment there.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 7 years ago | Reply
  • Japan has been unable to

    Japan has been unable to assess the state of affairs inside the damaged Fukushima power plant even after passing of years after the incident. Even though it is the country in which the largest number of industrial robots operates, they are still unable to design a robot which can withstand the radiation levels inside the plant. All their attempts to build a robot capable of withstanding high radiation levels and extreme heat such as those exist inside a fallen nuclear power plant miserably failed. They brought robots from the United States for inspecting the plant which all failed in functioning inside the plant. Japanese-built robots also failed in the mission. In October 2011, they had to abandon a robot inside the plant. In November 2012, their Toshiba Corporation-built Nuclear-Proof Robot froze inside the plant and declined to obey their orders.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 7 years ago | Reply
  • When radioactive heavy water

    When radioactive heavy water leaks from an atomic power plant, spills outside the reactor and escapes into the environment, it would be workers at that plant, most often daily wages employees, engaged to mop up the spill, who would always be subjected to hazardous radiation levels. It is human labourers, not robots or machines, who are always left with this cleaning work everywhere in this world. Uranium fission generates high-speed neutrons which have to be slowed down considerably for which moderators have to be used. Uranium fission also produces enormous quantities of heat which also has to be removed for which coolants are to be used. It is heavy water which is used in a nuclear plant both as a moderator and coolant. Heavy water with one hydrogen atom and one neutron atom in a molecule normally will not be radioactive but in the course of time, due to constant contact with radioactive substances as it is used as a moderator as well as a coolant, it gains one more neutron in its molecule and becomes tritium which is highly radioactive. This is how heavy water in a nuclear plant becomes radioactive. Plant workers who mop up spills invariably inhales tritiated water vapour which cannot be helped. Even by mopping up, only a negligible portion of the spilled heavy water can be recovered. The rest considerable portion escapes through reactor stacks into the environment or through the drain into the nearby sea water. This means, the workers of the plant, the local people and the marine life in the nearby area suffers continuously due to a nuclear plant functioning.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 7 years ago | Reply
  • All nuclear reactors are safe

    All nuclear reactors are safe before they blow away. All the nuclear reactors in the world that blew apart were claimed to have been proved safe and well protected, claimed by ÔÇÿdignitariesÔÇÖ and ÔÇÿexpertsÔÇÖ in those countriesÔÇÖ Atomic Energy Regulatory Agencies and Disaster Prevention Establishments. Any human error, miscalculation or purposeful wrong doing in the designing, making or running can make any human installation go rowdy. Not one human creation has ever been an exception to this. We believe many mighty things erected by man on the face of the earth, inside and above it, to be flawless because we do not know about the internal problems contained in them. People who daily run those things know better and they almost always are prevented from speaking. When the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board and the National Disaster Management Authority claim that everything is ship shape and under control at these reactors and that the plant is well protected, we will begin to think that these kind of organizations are going to move their headquarters to inside these plant and those experts and authorities are going to live there, inside the safe plant, for the next five years. When bridges were built in the past, the engineer and his family would stay beneath in boats in the river, while the heaviest of vehicles moved along the bridge during its inauguration. Since no one no more has to keep such respectful models in social commitment and responsibility, any one can say anything. If we are to believe what the Disaster Management People said, no disasters would have occurred in the world during the past two centuries but they continue to occur out of human error, miscalculation and wrong doing. Disaster management is, in practical terms, management of disaster once they have occurred, not one hundred percent preventing it. If it one day blows away, these nuclear power plants will burn out entire states. Authorities in every country want to open and make function these plants noiselessly, that is without any protest from their people. They split people and make them fight against each other over the issue of whether to acquiesce to construction of a plant at their place and accept the offered new jobs or obstruct its construction on the grounds that the convenience and ease of the availability of cheap nuclear energy for three or four decades do not justify burdening with nuclear waste the next thirty or forty generations. If there are persistent struggles ongoing against a nuclear power plant in a country, the government there will do some other atrocity against its people so that a new issue will come into the fore and the anti-nuclear agitation will go behind. Every nuclear country does this. Japan, Germany, Russia and India were no exceptions. The governments do this now in the fashion of a formidable war. It is in this brutal treating of their people that these nuclear countries imitate China, in the matter of suppressing peopleÔÇÖs freedom for opinion.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 7 years ago | Reply
  • Vibrations, hydrogen and oil

    Vibrations, hydrogen and oil leakages and fires occur regularly in the 20 Indian nuclear reactors. In other countries, authorities are frank in confessing to the magnitude of accidents and its implications on staff and local people but in India authorities treat nuclear activities classified and secret. In Karnataka Kaiga Nuclear Generating Station, accidents started when the containment dome, supposed to prevent radioactive material escaping into the environment, collapsed in May 1994 and 130 tonnes of concrete fell over construction workers from a height of 30 metres. In 2009 November, tritiated water leaked into drinking water cooler and 55 workers were irradiated. In 2011, the reactor caught on fire. In Uttar Pradesh Narora Atomic Power Station, two carelessly-mounted turbine blades broke off in 1993 March, sliced through remaining blades resulting in fire, ignited leaked oil and blazed turbine building. Smoke sensors never detected it. Elaborate mechanized systems did not activate shutting down system to decelerate core reactions. Workers detected fire by help of eyes and noses, climbed the roof and opened valves by hand which slowed the reactions. The blackout declared lasted for 17 hours. In 2000, Unit II leaked heavily with 7 tonnes of heavy water escaping, which was repaired in true bureaucratic style, resulting again in 6 tonnes of heavy water leaking in 2003. In 2001 November also, 2 tonnes of heavy water had leaked from Reactor No I of this plant. In Tamil Nadu, a major heavy water leakage at the Madras Atomic Power Station at Kalpakkam in 1991 March took 4 days to be mopped up. In 1999 March, more than 12 tonnes of heavy water leaked from cracked pipes in this plant. Safety committee recommended shutting down of malfunctioning Kalpakkam Atomic Reprocessing Plant on the grounds valve failure detection mechanisms and radiation monitors were absent which the management disobeyed, which ultimately led to 6 workers affected with high dose radiation from toxic waste release in 2003 January. In Rajasthan, in the Rajasthan A P S, a worker painted the plant walls and washed his hands and face with tritiated water in 1991 July who is yet to be found. In 1992 January, 4 tonnes of heavy water escaped from this plant. Leakage of helium gas and heavy water from Unit I in 1994 May caused the plant to be closed down for 3 years. Management not replacing an aged heavy water storage plant caused tritiated water leakage in 2002 May and 22 Curies of radioactivity escaped into the environment. In Maharashtra, Trombay, pipelines around two research reactors at Bhabha Atomic Research Centre leaked heavily in 1991 December resulting in major soil contamination, making local fields sterile for cultivation. Labourers attending to leaking pipelines were affected with high doze radiation exposures who were all abandoned by authorities. In the Tarapur A P S, pipe leakage in 1992 May caused 12 Curies of radioactivity to be released into the environment.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 7 years ago | Reply
  • Uranium mines and Nuclear

    Uranium mines and Nuclear Power Plants in India are scenes of total disregard for human safety. In the field of mining uranium and operating Nuclear Power Plants, there are no mentionable safety regulations existing, and what regulations are there existing are violated on a daily basis. The Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act of 2010 was a weak attempt to present before the world IndiaÔÇÖs concern for safety of its people with more than 20 plants already functioning scattered throughout the country and several coming up where there are none. The Department of Atomic Energy has set up several research institutions such as the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research, Environmental Survey Laboratory and Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, even while the existence of all of which, nuclear accidents regularly happen in Uranium Mines and Nuclear Power Plants. Workers regularly get irradiated in every one of these plants. Rules stipulated by these bodies states that yearly limit of radiation exposure for a worker shall be 20 mSv [Milli Sievert] averaged for 5 years and not more than 50 mSv in a year. Kalpakkam workers were regularly getting 50 times more in 1995. Seven workers in MAPS were affected with high radiation in 1999 following tritium-containing heavy water leakage, with alpha rays from plutonium reaching their bones and teeth and sitting there permanently. Liquid waste from uranium mines are stored in ponds with safety linings for settling down radium. In spite of rules and regulations, pipes carrying liquid toxic waste to these ponds frequently bursts and during the years 2006-08, Subarnarekha River and people living near its banks suffered severe nuclear contamination. In many other mines, retaining sumps overflow and nuclear toxic effluent flows freely to marshes, streams, rivulets and rivers. Trucks carrying uranium ore are never tarpaulined and they freely scatter dust into the air. Protective fencing around mines and their continuous guarding is just myth. In many places, they just dump debris on the village roads. The number of cancer cases in and around nuclear townships is always on the rise, multiplying many times each year. The aforesaid four agencies will always find statisticians on their payrolls to disprove all these allegations anyway. Nuclear Plants, though they are supposed to be housed in peopleless areas, cannot be done so because there are not that much peopleless areas in India nowadays, with the population already exceeded 1,00,00,00,000. Power plants-nuclear, thermal, solar or hydro- have to learn to co-exist with people. Strict demarcations such as the three surrounding 1.2 km radius Exclusion Zone, 5 km radius Sterilized Zone and the next Emergency Planning Zone are no more possible. People living and nuclear townships situated inside exclusion zones are never to be wondered at in India. These poor people are the first to die and the last to gain anything from a nuclear power plant.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 7 years ago | Reply