SOS e - Clarion Of Dalit

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Stop Koodankulam & Jaitapur Nuclear Projects


S.O.S   e - Clarion  Of  Dalit  -  Weekly  Newspaper  On  Web 
Working  For  The  Rights  &  Survival  Of  The Oppressed
Editor: NAGARAJA.M.R… VOL.6 issue.38… 19/09/2012


Editorial :  SCRAP Jaitapur  &  Koodankulam Nuclear Power Projects
-  An  Appeal  to  Honourable  Supreme  Court  of  India

In India corruption is rampant . Whenever  big projects are undertaken , the powers that be who have  early inside information  about oncoming project at a particular site buy  the land  from locals at dirt cheap price . When the project is publicly notified , these power brokers sell those lands for premium to the  authorities. These Power brokers  are working as a powerful lobby , to get the project  going  so that they can make a profit or else they will suffer loss.

In india , we don’t have advanced technology   to  handle nuclear accidents  just like fukushima   or medical competence  , health care infrastructure  to provide medical care to affected human beings of   fukushima like tragedy. LIVE EXAMPLE  SUFFERERS OF BHOPAL GAS TRAGEDY  ARE SUFFERRING TILL DATE WAITNG FOR JUSTICE , PROPER  COMPENSATION , HEALTH CARE . EVEN THERE WAS  JUDGEMENT FIXING BY JUDGES IN THAT CASE , TOP MINISTERS HELPED THE CRIMINAL TO ESCAPE INDIAN LAW . Even the government of india is not trustworthy . Even the government of india nor state governments have where withal to pay compensations to affected people .  In case if such  an accident like fukushima took place in india , affected people are let  down by the government , even for  incompetent health care of the government &  meager compensation by government  ,  affected people must shell out  bribe , wait for years  some times go for litigation to get a meager sum.

Big MNCs  while getting orders in third world countries bribe  those in power , in turn the powers that be in the government  act as a powerful lobby to get the project  cleared & going at all cost . They don’t even  care about affected people , their human rights , they forcibly evict  people using brute police force , by fixing local people in false cases & send them to jails.

The MNCs in the race  who just  missed out  getting the said order / project  in third world countries , fund  disgruntled elements in the government  , Media  &  NGOs   to oppose  the said project , to stop the project.  This is another lobby. 

Nobody  , really cares about the affected people.  The Fundamental Principle of Democracy  is  working of government as per the wishes , aspirations of people. Who the Hell are these lobbies , MPs , Ministers , NGOs  & Governments  to forcibly  impose  a man eater  nuclear project over local people. The  role of government  ,  media  &  NGOs  is to create  awareness  about  both positive  &  negative  impacts  of  the proposed  project  on the local people & their  culture , lifestyle.  Their  role ends there.  After  this awareness is  created , If the local  people  wants a project  it can go ahead , if the  local people  rejects the project  , it must be stopped.  That is  true democracy. Now , the government of India , State Governments of Maharshtra & Tamilnadu  are violating the basic democratic rights of local people   by imposing the JAITAPUR  &  KOODANKULAM  NUCLEAR POWER PROJECTS . Hereby , we urge the supreme court of india  to stay  the both  projects immediately.



Bribes for Nuclear Deal
Corrupt means taint the nuclear deal
The new bribery revelations, a rigged process to import reactors and safety-related concerns must lead to the long-blocked scrutiny of the nuclear deal by Parliament.
By Brahma Chellaney

The world’s worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl raises troubling questions about India’s plans for a huge expansion of its nuclear power programme through reactor imports. Given its low per-capita energy consumption, India must generate far more electricity to economically advance. So it needs more nuclear-generated power. The real issue thus is safe and cost-competitive nuclear power.
What is disconcerting about India’s plans for massive imports is that they are not part of a well-thought-out strategy but a quid pro quo to the United States, France and Russia for bringing the Indo-U.S. civil nuclear deal to fruition, including through a Nuclear Suppliers Group waiver. For example, while keeping Parliament in the dark, the government faxed a letter to U.S. Undersecretary of State William Burns on September 10, 2008 — just hours before the White House sent the deal to the U.S. Congress for ratification — committing India to import a minimum of 10,000MW of nuclear-generating capacity from the United States. New nuclear plans had to be prepared to accommodate the political commitments already made.
As the WikiLeaks’ revelations published by The Hindu underscore, the U.S. has a big stake in the nuclear deal and went to unusual lengths to drum up support in India and ensure the outcome it desired. And although the deal is loaded with largely one-sided and irrevocable conditions for India, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh staked his premiership on getting the deal through.
The Wikileaks’ disclosures over the cash-for-votes scandal during the consummation process only confirm the role mucky money played in lubricating the deal. Now big money is influencing the opaque contract making.
Those who pushed the deal through without building national consensus or permitting parliamentary scrutiny now seem too invested in this deal to objectively gauge long-term safety or the cost competitiveness of reactor imports. One indication of this is the unabashed manner in which a nuclear park has been exclusively reserved — without any competitive-bidding process — for each of the four preferred foreign vendors. Yet after Fukushima, several major safety concerns stand out:
■India is committed to importing reactor models that are yet to be operated in any country, including state-owned Areva’s 1630MW European Pressurized Reactor (EPR) and the General Electric-Hitachi’s 1520MW Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor (ESBWR), which is still to receive the final U.S. design certification.
There is no justification for importing untried reactor models. In the 1960s, GE sold India the first two prototypes of its Boiling Water Reactor (BWR), whose designs it later supplied for all six reactors at the now-crippled Fukushima Daiichi plant. India had little option then because nuclear power was relatively new. The GE-built Tarapur plant faced important operating and safety issues, in part because the Americans cut off supply of even safety-related replacement parts in response to the Pokharan I test. Today the rush to buy untried foreign-reactor technology is simply indefensible.
It is only after the Fukushima nuclear crisis unfolded that India’s nuclear chief belatedly acknowledged the need for an earthquake- and tsunami-related safety evaluation of Areva’s EPR design. Why wasn’t this done before committing India to buy the EPR prototype?
■The drive to build energy “security” by importing foreign fuel-dependent reactors — that too without transparency, open bidding and public accountability — is nothing but a money-spending boondoggle, with the potential to generate hundreds of millions of dollars in kickbacks for the corrupt.
In an openly manipulated process, price negotiations are taking place only after each of the four chosen foreign vendors has been gifted an exclusive seaside nuclear park to build reactors. What bargaining power are the authorities left with when they have already reserved each park for a particular firm?
■With the rise of the corporate nuclear lobby, the line between the seller and the buyer has blurred. The nuclear deal was pushed through by the Prime Minister’s Office with the aid of some serving and retired nuclear officials, private-sector companies attracted to nuclear business, and interested foreign governments and vendors. The very entities and consultants that are set to reap major commercial gains helped build the dubious case for massive reactor imports by India.
Now an incestuous and unethical relationship exists between the buyer and seller, underscored by the moves to place initial import contracts worth more than $10 billion without any competitive bidding. It may require the Supreme Court’s intervention to stop this brazen cronyism, or else a 2G-style scam would likely unfold, but with long-term safety ramifications.
■To compound matters, the line between the regulator and the operator has also blurred. And the secrecy enveloping the nuclear military programme has unwarrantably been extended to a purely commercial sector — nuclear power.
Structurally, the national regulator, the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, is in no position to act independently because, like the operator, it is under the Department of Atomic Energy. More worrying, however, is the manner in which the Board has become the handmaiden of the political agenda set in New Delhi.
Before embarking on a major expansion of its program, shouldn’t India first create a strong, truly independent nuclear regulator?
■Worse still, the planned import of four different types of new Light Water Reactor (LWR) technology will make India’s nuclear-power complex the most diverse in the world. Technological diversity may be good to obviate reliance on one supplier. But the wide-ranging diversity India is getting into will make its safety responsibilities extremely arduous and complex, given the multiplicity of reactor designs it already has in place.
It takes a long time to create teams of experienced safety engineers for any reactor model. But when a particular reactor model is still not in operation anywhere, training of engineers cannot even begin. By contrast, India has immense experience in building, operating and safeguarding indigenous CANDU-style reactors.
■The chain of incidents engulfing all six Fukushima Daiichi reactors was triggered by their close proximity to each other. With a flareup at one reactor affecting systems at another, Japan ended up with serial blasts, fires, spent-fuel exposures, and other radiation leaks.
This seriously calls into question India’s decision to approve the construction of six and more large reactors at each new nuclear park. The plans to build clusters of reactors must now be abandoned.
■At Fukushima, the spent-fuel rods — holding most of the highly radioactive uranium at the site — have proved a bigger radiation problem than the reactor cores. This shines a spotlight on the spent-fuel challenges at the sister but older plant in Tarapur, where the discharged fuel has been accumulating for over four decades because the U.S. has refused to either take it or allow India to reprocess it.
The mounting Tarapur spent-fuel stockpile poses greater safety and environmental hazards than probably at any other plant in the world. The spent-fuel rods — unlike the reactors — have no containment structure, and they endanger public safety in India’s densely-populated commercial heartland.
The spent-fuel bundles are kept under water in bays at a special facility at Tarapur. But such temporary pools have proven Fukushima’s Achilles heel.
The cost to move the spent-fuel rods in secure dry casks to a faraway desert area will be prohibitive. India already has borne high storage costs at Tarapur. Those costs should not only be billed to Washington, but India must exert pressure on America to agree to the immediate spent-fuel reprocessing under international safeguards — the only viable option to contain the risks.
■India’s nuclear accident-liability legislation has seriously burdened the Indian taxpayer by capping the liability of foreign suppliers at a modest level. With the foreign vendors also freed from the task of producing electricity at marketable rates, the taxpayer is to subsidize the high-priced electricity generated. For the foreign vendors, there is no downside risk; only profits to reap. Yet GE and Westinghouse are unhappy with the state operator’s right of recourse.
The legislation was passed after the BJP — a party too compromised to be able to withstand pressures — cut a deal with the government. But after Fukushima, it is important to tighten some provisions of the legislation, which goes beyond U.S. law to channel both economic liability and legal liability to the state and abridge victims’ legal rights.
More broadly, before signing multibillion-dollar contracts, India must first formulate a coherent nuclear-power policy that also addresses safety issues. After all, Dr. Singh is seeking to take India from a largely indigenous capacity to a predominantly import-based programme by implicitly jettisoning Dr. Homi Bhabha’s vision and strategy. Not only is the goal of a self-reliant thorium fuel cycle now pie in the sky, but India is also set to become dependent on foreign suppliers even for critical safety-related replacement parts.
Actually, the corrupt means employed in engineering the nuclear deal must now lead to its long-blocked scrutiny by Parliament. A larger question haunting the country is whether it has institutionally become too corrupt to be able to effectively uphold nuclear safety in the long run — a concern reinforced by the troubled state of internal security, high incidence of terrorism and politicization of the nuclear establishment.

Wikileaks: Congress party 'bought India votes'



India's ruling Congress party bribed MPs to survive a crucial vote of confidence in 2008, a diplomatic cable leaked by Wikileaks suggests.
It describes how a senior Congress aide showed a US embassy official "chests of cash" to pay off MPs ahead of a vote over a controversial nuclear deal.
The ruling party has denied the allegations.
The leak heaps further pressure on embattled Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after a string of corruption scandals.
The leaked cable, reported in The Hindu newspaper, has caused uproar in the Indian parliament with the main opposition parties saying that Congress had "brought shame to the nation" and calling on the prime minister to resign.
'Chests of cash'
The cable by US official Steven White said that the embassy employee had met Nachiketa Kapur, an aide of senior Congress leader Satish Sharma.
It says that Mr Kapur told the embassy employee that "money was not an issue at all, but the crucial thing was to ensure that those who took the money would vote for the government".
The embassy employee said he was shown "two chests containing cash and said that around $25m (£15.5m) was lying around the house for use as pay-offs".
Nachiketa Kapur denied the report, saying: "I vehemently deny these malicious allegations. There was no cash to point out to."
Satish Sharma told a news channel that he did not even have an aide called Nachiketa Kapur.
"I never had and still don't have a political aide," he said.
Mr Sharma is described as a "close associate of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi [and] considered to be a very close family friend of [Congress party chief] Sonia Gandhi".
The cable said that Mr Kapur also claimed that MPs belonging to regional party Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) had been paid 100 million rupees ($2.5m; £1.5m) each to ensure they voted for the "right way".
RLD leader Ajit Singh has denied the charge and said that he was "opposed to the nuclear deal" and his party MPs "voted against the government".
These exchanges are alleged to have happened at the time of a controversial deal between India and the US which paved the way for India to massively expand its nuclear power capability.
The government's left-wing allies withdrew their support over the deal but the Congress party narrowly survived the vote despite substantial opposition.
If the government had lost the vote, India could have faced early elections. A defeat would have also put the nuclear deal in doubt.
Major scandals
Accusations of vote-buying were also made at the time: opposition MPs waved wads of money in parliament alleging they were offered bribes to abstain.
Widespread corruption in India costs billions of dollars and threatens to derail the country's growth, a recent report by consultancy firm KPMG says.
The report says corruption is no longer just about petty bribes but about the major scandals where billions of dollars are allegedly siphoned off by government and industry.
India's Telecoms Minister Andimuthu Raja is under arrest on suspicion of underselling billions of dollars worth of mobile phone licences - he denies the allegations.
The government was also forced by the courts to quash the appointment of its anti-corruption commissioner, on the grounds that he himself faces corruption charges.
Congress was recently forced by the opposition to set up a cross-party investigation into corruption.


The Hindu's Bias On Koodankulam: An Open Letter
By Shankar sharma
17 September, 2012
Dianuke.org
To
The Editor
The Hindu, Chennai
Cc
Rahul Siddharthan
Dear Sir,
This has reference to an article with the title ” The real questions from Kudankulam” by Rahul Siddharthan on 14th Sept . I would like to say that a holistic perspective of all-round welfare of our communities would throw up a lot of questions on the arguments made in the article.
Whereas it is clear that nuclear power technology, as any other complex technology, cannot be associated with zero probability of catastrophic failure, the society has to make a transparent assessment of its costs and benefits to our densely populated communities. Can we say that the true costs to the communities of three major failures in the history at TMI, Chernobyl and Fukushima were negligible or much less than the true benefits of those nuclear power plants?
In an article “Chernobyl 25 years later: Many lessons learned” Mikhail Gorbachev, former president of USSR has this to say : Today we know that about 77,000 square miles of territory in Europe and the former Soviet Union has been contaminated with radioactive fallout, leaving long-term challenges for flora, fauna, water, the environment, and human health. Tens of billions of dollars have already been spent in trying to contain and remediate the disaster, with a new containment shell now being constructed over the 1986 sarcophagus and what’s left of the reactor. The material damage inflicted by Chernobyl, although enormous, pales in significance when compared to the ongoing human costs. The true scope of the tragedy still remains beyond comprehension and is a shocking reminder of the reality of the nuclear threat. It is also a striking symbol of modern technological risk. The closed nature and secrecy of the nuclear power industry, which had already experienced some 150 significant radiation leaks at nuclear power stations throughout the world before the Chernobyl fire, greatly contributed to the accident and response difficulties. As the global population continues to expand, and the demand for energy production grows, we must invest in alternative and more sustainable sources of energy—wind, solar, geothermal, hydro—and widespread conservation and energy efficiency initiatives as safer, more efficient, and more affordable avenues for meeting both energy demands and conserving our fragile planet.
Former Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan, nearly a year after he oversaw his government’s widely criticized handling of the Fukushima Daiichi accident, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal has said: I would like to tell the world that we should aim for a society that can function without nuclear energy.
As per Dr. Helen Caldicott, founder of Physicians for Social Responsibility “Nuclear power is neither clean, nor sustainable, nor an alternative to fossil fuels— in fact, does it add substantially to global warming.”
Can we say that these and other societal leaders such as Justice V R Krishna Iyer, Dr. A Gopalakrishan (formerly of AERB), Dr, Balaram (Director of IISc), who have all expressed grave concerns on nuclear power, are ‘educated purveyors of motivated misinformation’ as quoted in the article?
The seriousness of the opposition to the country’s nuclear plans can be seen as exemplified by a writ petition filed in India’s Supreme Court on Oct. 14, 2011 by some of India’s eminent citizens. The petition calls on the court to order a hold on nuclear construction until safety reviews and cost-benefit analyses are carried out for all proposed or existing facilities. The petitioners include E.A.S. Sarma, former power secretary; T.S.R. Subramanian, former cabinet secretary; N. Gopalaswami, former chief election commissioner; K.R. Venugopal, former secretary in the prime minister’s office, P.M. Bhargava, former member of the National Knowledge Commission and founder of the Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology; and Admiral Laxminarayan Ramdas, former chief of Naval Staff. Can we say that these societal leaders are not adequately informed?
Subsequent to Fukushima disaster Japans’ Diet constituted a 10-member Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission headed by Dr. Kiyoshi Kurokawa, which has said in its report: “For all the extensive detail it provides, what this report cannot fully convey – especially to a global audience – is the mindset that supported the negligence behind this disaster. What must be admitted – very painfully – is that this was a disaster “Made in Japan.”
Why have Germany and Japan, which had plans to increase the nuclear power production capacity to about 40% of the total in next few decades, have consciously taken a decision to move away from nuclear power? Have Australia and New Zealand, which have shunned nuclear power from the beginning have poor quality of power supply? How many nuclear reactors have been commissioned in other countries after Chernobyl disaster.
Few days ago a Japanese Cabinet panel has called for phasing out of nuclear power over the next three decades as part of an overhaul of the country’s energy policy following the Fukushima meltdowns.
If nuclear power is safe and economical, why are there no commercial insurance of those plants. Why are the suppliers of nuclear reactors (US, Russia, France) insisting on exemption from liability from damages of nuclear accident?
If such resource rich, knowledgeable and quality/safety conscious countries could not avert nuclear emergencies, can our densely populated and ill-prepared society ever hope to avert the possible human catastrophe from a nuclear mishap? Can our densely populated country afford even a minor accident, which may displace millions of people? Are such societal costs acceptable? Is nuclear power inevitable in our context?
In this background of unacceptable level of risk associated with nuclear power (where “Risk” = “probability of a nuclear accident” X “the consequences of such a failure”) as experienced at Chernobyl and Fukushima, there is an urgent need to consider rationally how essential is nuclear power for our communities.
Even after heavy investment since independence the nuclear power capacity in the country is only about 2.3% of the total installed power capacity as at the end of July 2012. If nuclear power were to become a substantial portion of the total installed power capacity, a large number of nuclear reactors have to be added. As per Department of Atomic Energy document of 2008 “A Strategy for the Growth of Electricity in India” nuclear power capacity is projected to increase to 275,000 MW by 2050. Keeping in view what has been added during the last 5 decades, this projection looks highly unrealistic; to say the least. Assuming an average size of 500 MW reactor such a total capacity would require about 550 reactors. Keeping in view the need for huge quantity of water for each reactor, it is reasonable to assume that most of the new reactors have to come up on the coast. Assuming that 2 or 4 reactors are placed in a straight line perpendicular to the coast: the distance between two nuclear power plants can only between 22 to 44 kM along the 6,000 kM of our coast line. Assuming a circular safe zone with a radius of 2 km around each reactor a total land area of approximately 6,900 Sq. kM would be needed. Is this scenario acceptable to our resource constrained communities ?
In this context it is unlikely that the nuclear power will be able to contribute substantially to the country’s power sector. Keeping in proper perspective the tiny or negligible contribution of nuclear power to the overall energy scenario, should our society take the avoidable risk of a nuclear accident? If the country were to go for a nuclear capacity of 275,000 MW the probability of a nuclear accident will increase exponentially.
The article says ‘India, and Tamil Nadu in particular, faces a severe shortfall of energy.’ If the author can only spend some time to understand the reality of the power scenario in the country, he will understand that there is huge inefficiency, incompetency and irresponsibility at all levels of the power sector. Without addressing these issues, which have been known for decades, it will be akin to trying to fill a leaking bucket. There are many benign, much cheaper and sustainable alternatives to meet the legitimate demand for electricity in the country than through the risky nuclear power.
But such an appreciation of the ground realities in power sector would require a holistic approach to the true welfare of our communities.


Koodankulam: Prof Atul Chokshi’s Response To The Hindu
By Prof. Atul Chokshi
17 September, 2012
Dianuke.org
A response to “The real questions from Kudankulam” by Rahul Siddharthan published in THE HINDU by Prof. Atul Chokshi of the Indian Institute of Sciences, Bangalore.
Dear Rahul,
I was pleased that you have written the op-ed in Hindu, and hope that this initiates a debate on various critical aspects of nuclear energy. While most people will agree that there is a need to increase energy generation in India, the choice of energy sources will vary depending on perceptions of danger. However, we need to ensure that we do not get locked into wrong choices that burden future generations to come.
Unlike George Monbiot, I turned the opposite way after Fukushima, so that I am now a nuclear energy skeptic, especially for India. This is largely to do with our cultural casual attitude to safety on many fronts, and the related trust deficiency with the nuclear industry (worldwide) and our Govt. As you have rightly pointed out, the lack of an independent regulator is one of the key problems. However, even with an independent regulator, the implementation of the regulatory orders will remain perhaps a bigger challenge.
While nuclear energy may be relatively clean during regular operation, there are several factors such as mining, getting the ore to the necessary concentration for use, and other factors which add to the environmental burden so that nuclear power is not as benign as it is advertised. It is substantially better than coal, but then so are many other renewable possibilities. You may be surprised to know, as I was, that because of the small concentrations in ores the current nuclear plants need almost as much mining as coal for a similar energy – a comparison is misleading when it is coal vs U235 (usually shown as 1 kg of U235 ~ million kgs of coal).
Nuclear power plants have a long gestation period, even without local protests. Despite the large-scale planned increase in the number of nuclear plants in India, the influence of this on carbon emission in India will be marginal at least over the next two decades, as current plans involve substantial increase in coal power until 2050. Furthermore, with the ongoing global warming and erratic weather, several nuclear plants have had to reduce power (and possibly shut down temporarily) during summer time because of reduced water and higher temperatures in rivers.
I was shocked to learn that there have not yet been any large scale emergency evacuation exercises in India. Even after Fukushima, there was a news report of a successful offsite emergency exercise conducted near Tarapur, but when one goes beyond the headlines one discovers that the exercise involved moving 100 (yes – the number of zeroes is correct!) people from a village – just read about this yesterday. We only have to read about the recent Sivakasi fire to get a sense of (a lack of) response to an emergency from the local district managers.
The fantastic scale of proposed nuclear expansion in India adds substantially to the dangers of dealing with what is already a potentially dangerous technology. To add even more to this burden, the Govt is planning to import several designs from Russia, France and USA. There are likely to be important variations in means to handle safety issues, and this will increase the scale of complexity that NPCIL will need to deal with.
While there is an urgent need for an independent regulator, it appears that the Govt and DAE are still keen on exercising control so that the proposed NSRA bill may be worse than what we currently have, as noted by Gopalakrishnan. I strongly feel that there is a need to pause, and have a larger discussion on India’s energy needs and the nuclear energy option.
Without such a move, I am afraid that we are hurtling into a zone that may be a recipe for a major disaster. One always hope that we will not experience problems, but as I know from my personal experience we cannot predict when accidents may happen, and we should not take undue chances especially when there are relatively benign options available.
Finally, I have not touched upon social costs of the choices we make, and to question at what level is a democracy a democracy – as it is too easy to use the “greater public good” to ram down options on the unwilling. In this context, I did feel that you last paragraph was somewhat harsh and condescending. Having seen and heard about some of the people involved, I know that there is a great understanding of the issues involved and people are very committed to the cause they are protesting against and for the choices they want to make – such language works against fruitful discussion and deliberation. You may be interested to know that several months ago the IISc Student Council attempted to organize a formal debate on nuclear energy – they gave up after a couple of months as they could not find anyone to speak for nuclear energy although they found some who would speak against.
Sorry for the longish mail, but hope that we can collect a critical mass to engage in critical discussion on this important topic.
Best wishes,
Atul

An atom of doubt at the Kudankulam nuclear power plant

Opponents of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant, under construction in Tamil Nadu, are raising fresh questions about the plant’s safety because of Indian government documents that they say reveal a problem in the design of one of the two reactors.

The reactor’s design differs from the plan that Russia and India came up with when they agreed to build the reactor in 1988, according to the documents published by India’s Atomic Energy Regulatory Board.
The design of the reactor pressure vessel, which contains the reactor coolant and core, was not supposed to have welds in its core region, the bulletin said. The vessel has two welds there, it said.
People who live near the Kudankulam plant and the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy called this deviation a “serious breach of contract” that exposes the plant to high failure risk and a higher possibility of offsite radiological contamination.
“This is a breach of contract by the supplier in Russia. NPCIL (Nuclear Power Corporation of India) officers who knew [about] this breach are guilty of causing future financial loss by choosing lower quality equipment,” said Nityanand Jayaraman, environmental researcher and member of the Chennai Solidarity Group for Kudankulam Struggle.
RS Sundar, the plant’s site director, denied that it was a “breach of contract”. “The original discussion between Indian and Russian governments on procuring reactor vessels without welds was based on futuristic thinking,” he told me. “But that was not possible technologically at the time of procurement.”
Addressing safety, Sundar said, “all the 400-plus light water reactors in operation across the globe [have] welds in the core zone.”
India’s nuclear program in its early years was an epitome of national pride as most of the technology was domestically developed, with India not being a member of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. But with the lifting of a ban by the Nuclear Suppliers Group and after the Fukushima disaster in Japan, the feeling of pride has been replaced by safety concerns among the general public, especially those living around the project areas. There are 20 nuclear power plants in India spread across six states producing a total of 4780 megawatts of electricity. Three new projects including Kudankulam are near completion.
The controversy over the reactor welds is one of many problems that have kept the anti-nuclear protests alive in Kudankulam. Another is over the source of fresh water for the plant’s cooling towers.
The Environmental Impact Assessment conducted in 2003 assumes that the Pechiparai Reservoir will be the source of fresh water, with a reserve of 60,000 cubic metres. Farmers have protested the use of reservoir water, however, and now there are four plants for desalinating ocean water. The environmental impact of using this water has not been assessed.
The on-campus water reserve was also reduced to 12,000 cubic metres, 20 percent of what was proposed. Environmentalists say that this is a “serious breach of safety” by the government’s nuclear authorities, especially after the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan.
While the limited information available to the public has mobilised some people against the project, the nuclear power corporation authorities are keeping other reports private.
The Safety Analysis Report is one of the key documents that protesters have demanded that the NPCIL release. Despite efforts to get that information, the nuclear power corporation has been reluctant to share it claiming it was a third party document. Russian atomic supplier, Atomstroyexport, is not bound by the civil nuclear liability law because the law, which holds the operator liable for nuclear damages, was drafted after the 1988 agreement to design the plant.
This reticence has turned people who have a neutral or even positive opinion on nuclear power against the project. What might people think about nuclear power in India if the government chose to be more forthcoming about its facilities? Surely, it would be a more positive view than it seems to be now.

SPEAKING OUT AGAINST NUCLEAR OPPRESSION IN SOLIDARITY WITH CONCERNED CITIZENS AND PEACE ACTIVISTS AGAINST THE DANGERS OF THE KOODANKULAM NUCLEAR POWER PLANT

Thousands of people including the elderly, women and children are protesting against the commissioning of the Koodankulam nuclear power plant in south India. They are sleeping outside the walls in extreme conditions against the anti-people and opaque practices followed by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited, the Tamil Nadu state and Indian central governments. They have been met with police intimidation, state violence, false charges and imprisonment for peacefully airing their views and demanding their democratic rights. Now police have lathi charged them into the sea and fired tear gas and water cannons at them.
They have been protesting peacefully for many months now after the first series of protest began in 1988. They have had several hunger strikes including a relay one since August 2011. Their health fast deteriorated in the extreme summer heat and some of them have been admitted to hospital.  About 23,000 people have surrendered their voter cards in protest. Their families were later  denied use of their ration cards with access to essential provisions such as food. Despite official promises, their demands about the legality and safety of the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP) have not been met. 
The Indian government has announced that the first reactor at Koodankulam will go critical in September. More than 55,000 people have been falsely charged including for sedition and 'war against the state'. This makes a travesty of democracy.
Please sign the petition and express your support for those who are wrongfully charged for voicing an opinion against nuclear reactors and for those forced to live next to nuclear reactors in a tsunami, volcanic and earthquake zone where there is a water shortage.
Organise, protest, contact media, human and environmental rights organisations, social networks, politicians, locally and globally including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh pmindia@pmindia.nic.in, manmohan@sansad.nic.in and Chief Minister Jayalalithaa (Chief Secretary cs@tn.gov.in Additional Chief Secretary cmcell@tn.gov.in  )
This appeal is not from any movement under a ‘foreign hand’ but from people holding hands in solidarity across the world. We support the development of India but only when it is on safe, equitable and sustainable grounds. As Chernobyl and Fukushima have shown, nuclear dangers are a global and human concern, not simply a national one.
Wind power is already providing double the amount of electricity than from nuclear reactors and at a fraction of the cost to the tax payer, the environment and health without producing any dangerous waste. Wind power even supplies electricity to the Koodankulam nuclear township.
This petition demands a commitment and definite time-frame as to the following:
[1] The ongoing work at the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP) must be halted and the following steps must be taken immediately.

[2] As the Central Information Commission (CIC) has instructed the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL), the accurate and full versions of the Safety Analysis Report and the Site Evaluation Report must be released to the public immediately. And the full and final post-Fukushima safety audit report must also be released to the press and the public.

[3] A new and comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report must be commissioned as the one that the DAE has released after 23 years of struggle is incomplete, erroneous and outdated. The Tamil and Malayalam translations of the new EIA must be shared with the local people and the Press in Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

[4] The opinions and preferences of the project-affected people must be heard by a competent authority in an open, transparent and democratic manner.

[5] An independent national committee must be constituted to study the issues of geology, hydrology, oceanography and seismology involved in the Koodankulam nuclear power plant.

[6] Disaster management training and evacuation exercises must be conducted in the 30-km radius of the Koodankulam plants and beyond in the wake of the recent earthquake all over Tamil Nadu and India.

[7] A Tamil Nadu State Assembly Resolution must be passed that the Pechipparai dam water from Kanyakumari District and the Tamirabharani river water from Tirunelveli and Thoothukudi Districts will not be taken for the KKNPP reactors.

[8] A copy of the Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) on liability secretly signed between the governments of India and Russia must be made available to the project-affected public.

[9] Complete and truthful information must be given to the local people and the citizens of India about nuclear waste that would be produced at the Koodankulam plants and its management.

[10] All the false cases against the members of the struggle committee and the common people must be withdrawn immediately and unconditionally. People that peacefully protested against the nuclear plant are still languishing in prison and must be released immediately. 


 [11] The local people's right to protest peacefully and nonviolently against the KKNPP and other related issues must be respected and honored. And no more false cases and other intimidatory exercises should be used against the struggling people.
 
 “Green signal for Koodankulam is a red signal for our lives”

People’s Movement against Nuclear Energy activists continue indefinite hunger strike even as police arrest 212 protesters
Tamil Nadu government started “operation Koodankulam “on Monday 19 March, arresting 203 protesters and blocking all entry points to the coastal villages surrounding the nuclear power plant. Police arrested 185 men including parish priest Father Suseelan at Kottupuli village where they were protesting against the deployment of police forces. They were taken to Tirunelveli Armed Reserve Camp. Later police arrested 18 men from Koodankulam on charges of staging protests and violating Section 144 of the Indian Penal Code.
Police started the crackdown on anti-nuclear plant protesters early on Monday arresting nine people including People’s Movement against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) legal advisor Sivasubramanian and Rajalingam. They are being charged with sedition including Sections 121, 121A and 153A. They were taken to Tirunelveli. Around 4000 state police and 400 central police officials have been deployed in the area. Police have set up seven more police pickets around Koodankulam nuclear plant and blocked entry points.
According to Dr SP Udaykumar, convener, People’s Movement against Nuclear Energy, who is on a indefinite hunger strike along with Pusparayan, his associate at Idinthakarai, around 5000 people assembled at the St Lourdes Church ground since Monday. “We, eight men and seven women, are on an indefinite hunger strike. The green signal for Koodankulam is a red signal for our lives. We will continue our protest till we die,” said Udayakumar.
To beat the police blockade, protesters were seen using fishing boats to ferry people to the protest grounds. “We were able to bring our people to Idinthakarai On Monday. But this morning (Tuesday) onwards, the Coast Guard and Navy used helicopters for surveillance in the area,” said Udayakumar.
Police have also intensified patrolling in the area and are waiting for orders from Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalitha to enter Idinthakarai. Additional Director General of Police S George is camping in the area and overseeing the Koodankulam operation.
According to a senior police official, the state government wanted a ‘silent clearance operation’ in Koodankulam. “We have requested media to vacate the premises and sealed all entry points. We will use force only as a last resort,” said the police official who wished to remain anonymous. According to sources, the police have cut power supply to Idinthakarai and are planning to delink the water supply to the village.

“We are protesting peacefully. We will continue our protests till our demands are met,” said Pushparayan. According to him, the protesters want an immediate release of people arrested and the withdrawal of Tamil Nadu cabinet resolution. “We have been ditched by the Tamil Nadu government, they will pay for the betrayal and treachery,” Udayakumar told TEHELKA.
Udayakumar asked why the state government was not ready to conduct the safety drill around the 30 kilometer radius of the power plant which is mandatory before commissioning a nuclear plant. “The government is violating basic safety requirements before commissioning the plant. In such a situation we have no other option,” said Udayakumar. He warned of public health problems and food shortage at Idinthakarai and appealed to the people of Tamil Nadu to be aware of “this assault on the Tamil community”.
“They [government] are preparing to load uranium fuel rods into the reactor without conducting safety or evacuation drills. This kind of Fascist development is taking our country to another round of New East India Companies and Neo-colonialism,” said Udayakumar. Dr V Suresh, National Secretary, PUCL, Tamil Nadu-Puducherry condemned the police action by the Tamil Nadu State Government against peaceful demonstrators.
“The police action against Idinthakarai villagers resembles the Jalianwalabagh incident and raises concerns about the state government’s intention. This action comes immediately after the Sankarankovil by-elections.” said Dr Suresh. The PUCL has demanded an immediate and unconditional release of all arrested villagers and withdrawal of police force from the area.
Jeemon Jacob is Bureau Chief, South with Tehelka.
jeemonj@gmail.com

Letter To NHRC On Nuclear Liability For IAEA's Treaty
By Gopal Krishna

To,
Justice Shri K.G. Balakrishnan
The Chairperson
National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)
Faridkot House, Copernicus Marg, New Delhi


Sub: Human rights violations from nuclear damage - its impact on human life and enviro-occupational health


Sir,
This Hon’ble Commission has been seriously pursuing the problem of “enviro-occupational health”, and has been taking “preventive” as well as “remedial” measures. It is humbly brought to your notice that there is another equally serious enviro-occupational hazard which is exposure from radioactive radiations and wastes. The issue of liability for nuclear damage is directly linked to it. The grave problem of diseases caused to present and future generations by radiation exposures is required to be addressed as it affects environment and human health and violates Article 21 of the Constitution, Directive Principles as well as “human rights” as defined under the UDHR, ICCPR and ICESCR.
2. That at the outset, the Applicant wishes to refer to the problem of exposure from radioactive radiations. The Supreme Court has looked at the entire issue, keeping in view the Directive Principles as well as Article 21 of the Constitution, and held that “life” includes right to health and medical care etc. There is no database on the records of the Government to show, to the best of Applicant’s knowledge, as to what actions the Government has taken, namely, how many persons have been reported to be suffering from exposure to radioactive radiation? How many have died? Did they receive any compensation? How many persons suffering from it are receiving treatment?
3. That the Applicant is an environmental health researcher who was invited to make submissions before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science & Technology, Environment & Forests following a written submission on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill, 2010 which is meant to pave the way for India to sign International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)’s Convention on Supplementary Compensation (CSC) for Nuclear Damage, 1997.
4. That in its 25 page report on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill, 2010, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science & Technology, Environment & Forests which was tabled in the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha on 18th August, 2010.observes, “When the Committee inquired from the Secretaries of Ministries/Departments of Government of India who appeared before the Committee as to whether the draft nuclear liability Bill was referred to them for their views/comments, some of them viz. Ministries of Health & Family Welfare, Agriculture, Labour & Employment, Food & Public Distribution, etc. replied in the negative. The Committee is of the opinion that Government must have sought the opinion of Ministries which are even distantly related to any provision of the legislation. The Committee, therefore, recommends that in future Government should consult all such Ministries/ Departments which are even remotely concerned with the provisions of a proposed legislation.” This Hon’ble Commission may take cognizance of the submissions of these Secretaries and direct the concerned authorities to internalize their suggestions in the text of the Bill to protect the human rights of Indian citizens and safeguard intergenerational equity.
5. That, in view of the facts mentioned above, the applicant humbly submits that the Hon’ble Commission may kindly initiate appropriate proceedings and issue directions to all the concerned Secretaries of the Central Government and relevant States/UTs with regard to the following :
How would they respond in the event of a nuclear disaster?
Do they know as to how many industries/factories exist in the States/UTs where radioactive material is used? Is there an inventory of products wherein the said material is used?
What is the total number of workers employed in the nuclear power industries and other nuclear installations?
Whether there is regular medical check-up and whether medical facilities exist for workers and communities in the vicinity of nuclear installations?
Whether there is any record of persons who died because of radioactive radiation?
How many persons suffer from radioactive radiation and whether they are receiving regular treatment for the said disease?
What steps States/UTs have taken to check/prevent occurrence of radioactive radiations and how many hospitals dealing with the enviro-occupational diseases exist in the States/UTs.
How many institutions in the country have the competence to decontaminate and how many medical, occupational health and scientific institutions can diagnose radiation exposure?
What action has been taken by the central government and the State Governments/UTs have taken to protect exposure from radiation in the future?
6. That it is submitted that this Hon’ble Commission for the purpose of collecting the above information, may also take the benefit of its experience in the case of enviro- occupational diseases which are preventable but incurable. By giving medicines, impact of radioactive radiation can be reduced and life span can be prolonged but ultimately fate of the affected person is painful death. A brief note on the issue of liability from nuclear damage and the submissions of the concerned Secretaries of the central government is enclosed as Annexure A
7. That the applicant wishes to bring to this Hon’ble Commission’s notice that India has ratified Radiation Protection Convention, 1960 of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) but its provisions have not been complied with. India is yet to ratify ILO’s Occupational Cancer Convention, 1974 which is concerning Prevention and Control of Occupational Hazards caused by Carcinogenic Substances and Agents took cognizance of the Radiation Protection Convention and Radiation Protection Recommendation. It refers to the work done by International Agency for Research on Cancer and The International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) that provides guidance on all aspects of protection against ionising radiation. Article 6 of the ILO's Radiation Protection Convention with regard to “Maximum permissible doses of ionising radiations which may be received from sources external to or internal to the body and maximum permissible amounts of radioactive substances which can be taken into the body” has been ignored. Article 7 of the Convention calls for “Appropriate levels” be fixed in accordance with Article 6 for workers who are directly engaged in radiation work and are (a) aged 18 and over; (b) under the age of 18, No worker under the age of 16 to be engaged in work involving ionising radiations and Article 8 that seeks “Appropriate levels (to be) fixed in accordance with Article 6 for workers who are not directly engaged in radiation work, but who remain or pass where they may be exposed to ionising radiations or radioactive substances.” Drafters of the Nuclear Liability Bill appear to have ignored their recommendations.
8. It is humbly prayed that this Hon’ble Commission may enquire /investigate into the problem of radioactive radiation and issue necessary directions/recommendation for its prevention and appropriate remedial steps to the Central Government/State Governments and UTs.


Yours Faithfully
Gopal Krishna


LAW FIXING  - INDIANS  &  INDIA  SOLD  OUT   TO   MNCs   DIRT CHEAP   

Are the  lives of Indians Cheaper than  Electricity produced by nuclear power --   Government Backing for Criminal Corporations


Recently , both houses of parliament has passed the bill “Nuclear Accident Liability Bill” ,  where by our learned MPs have sold the lives of Indians Dirt Cheap. The Cap of  1500 crore rupees spread over crores of Indians living near the nuclear facilities considering the population density works out to just few thousands. Even the government pays  money above 1500 crore  cap , it is the tax payer’s money , our own money. The Profit is made , enjoyed , siphoned off by MNC  to it’s overseas office , while for their wrong doing , we have to suffer &  pay money from our own pocket for  ourselves. It is ridiculous.

HEREBY , WE DO REQUEST  H.E.PRESIDENT OF INDIA  , TO REJECT  THE SAID BILL &  SEND IT BACK TO PARLIAMENT FOR AMENDMENTS.

Before  enacting the law on “Nuclear  Accident Liability Bill” , Government of India  should consider the following  issues

1.       The term  Nuclear Accident must include the damages caused due to  radiation leak affecting the employees in the nuclear facility  ,  the people living  near the facility  & people affected by the  effluents , scraps  generated by the nuclear facility.

2.       The government of India does not have any right to fix a price tag for the lives of Indians , that too cheaper than US public.

3.       The Nuclear power generating companies must  incorporate safety infrastructure & procedures  as they do in US market , not any obsolete technology.

4.       In  USA & other developing countries , they have very huge , efficient social security network , vast pool of resources  put in by  nuclear power generating companies themselves , to  take care of the affected in case of a nuclear accident . In India we don’t have that type of  social security network nor matching resources , therefore ideally  India must fix a nuclear liability cap much higher than  US market in dollar terms.

5.       Also the company must be made liable  for the complete clean up  of the facility  & surrounding  towns , villages , health care to all the affected victims  on par with US market , in case a nuclear accident happens.

6.       The  Nuclear Equipment Suppliers , Nuclear Plant Operators  together  with their  respective governments like USA , UK must  stand  as guarantors .

7.       The  Life Insurance Companies in India Must pay insured amount  to  nominees of insured  in case of nuclear accidents / radiation affects in addition to compensation by the  nuclear power companies . as of now many life insurance companies are not covering nuclear accidents / radiation affects.



Neither our MPs , Cabinet ministers nor  IAS babus  have the right to decide the fate of common people  & fix a rate for lives of Indians. They are not experts in this field ,  they should not  conclude any deals , decisions in  a hush hush manner .  Many scams have  come out of hush hush deals . Nobody , no MP , no minister , no IAS  officer has paid from his personal  pocket to the victims  of industrial disasters , etc. After all  MPs , Ministers , IAS babus  are  public servants , they must just represent the voices of people , we  people don’t  want  their  personal expertise & opinions. Our Policy makers  must heed to the public advice of senior  scientists , experts in the field of nuclear power generation .



Ofcourse , as a result  unit price of electricity will get front loaded  , we may not get cheap  electricity . but  the lives of Indians are much valuable than Electricty.  The person who benefits from cheap electricity – Industrialists  does not  pay from his pocket  to the victims of disasters . Development  not at the cost of safety & lives. This must dawn on our ill informed  policy makers at the earliest . Jai Hind  . Vande Mataram .

Your’s   Sincerely ,
Nagaraj.M.R.

What if a nuclear accident happens
- BILL LIMITS LIABILITY OF OPERATOR TO RS 5OO CRORE, ANYTHING ABOVE WILL BE GOVT RESPONSIBILITY



Answers to questions on the nuclear damage bill the Centre withdrew from the Lok Sabha on Monday

What is the bill’s purpose?

The Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill seeks to set down mechanisms and rules for liability claims and payments that might arise because of a nuclear incident and to pave the way for India to join an international liability regime.

What kind of nuclear liability regime does India have at present?

All of India’s nuclear power reactors and nuclear facilities are owned by the central government, or by the Nuclear Power Corporation and Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam (Bhavini) — both public sector enterprises. Any liability issues that emerge from incidents become the responsibility of the central government. The inter-government agreements between India and Russia under which Russia has supplied two nuclear reactors at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu do not clarify liability issues. This has meant uncertainty over trans-boundary liability issues.

Why has the bill become necessary now?

The Indo-US civilian nuclear agreement allows US suppliers to sell nuclear power reactors to India. But the companies have been concerned about the absence of a well-defined nuclear liability regime in India. Environmental groups believe foreign companies will be reluctant to invest without a liability regime in place because they do not want to run the risk of having to compensate without a cap for a nuclear incident. Without the bill, under the existing legal regime, a company may have to encounter absolute, unlimited and non-delegable liability.

What does the bill propose?

A leaked version of the proposed bill circulated by environmental groups indicates that the government plans to cap the maximum liability for each nuclear incident to 300 million Special Drawing Rights ($460 million or Rs 2,100 crore). This is lower than the $470 million settlement in the Bhopal gas disaster.

If the claims for compensation for nuclear damage exceed SDR 300 million, an additional 300 million SDR may be available through an international convention.

The liability of a nuclear power operator (so far only the NPC and Bhavini) for each nuclear incident will be Rs 500 crore. The limit will also apply to private companies if they are allowed entry into the sector.

The central government will be liable for nuclear damage if the liability exceeds the operator’s limit.

Why has this generated controversy?

The bill has generated the widespread perception that it will allow US companies to go scot-free in the event of a nuclear accident and saddle the Indian government with the liability — in other words, Indian taxpayers will have to pay for damages. Some environmental activists are contrasting the proposed Indian cap of $460 million with the much larger $10 billion pool of funds available in the US to cover liability and provide compensation to the public in the event of a nuclear accident. Some legal experts are arguing that there is no place for a cap on liability under Indian law. Any such legislation would be vulnerable and open to challenge and could be easily struck down as a violation of the environmental jurisprudence established by India’s Supreme Court.

Will the bill really allow foreign companies to go scot-free?

A clause in the bill appears to allow the nuclear operator to have “a right to recourse” —which would mean the operator could seek assistance — when the nuclear incident has resulted from negligence on the part of a foreign supplier of a material, equipment or service. However, this would have to be reflected in written contracts between the Indian operator (the NPC, for now) and the foreign suppliers. Environmental groups are sceptical, and fear that this will not emerge in actual contracts.

How is the bill linked to the international nuclear liability regime?

The Convention on Supplementary Compensation under the International Atomic Energy Agency provides for an international fund to compensate for nuclear damage in the event of an accident. The convention envisages a two-tier system — the state will ensure availability of at least 300 million SDR, and an international fund for which all participating nations are obliged to contribute. Any country that plans to join will have to ensure its national legislation is consistent with the convention’s provisions. By enacting domestic legislation, India could join the convention and — should the event arise — also seek money from the much larger international fund, which could help India access an additional 300 million SDR.

How is nuclear liability covered in the US?

The Price-Anderson Act enacted in 1957 ensures the availability of a large pool of funds — about $10 billion — to provide compensation to people who incur damages from a nuclear accident — no matter who is liable.

Have nuclear liability claims been paid in the US?

The American Nuclear Society estimates that the nuclear insurance pools have paid a total of $151 million in the past 43 years. The US energy department has paid $65 million.

What kind of liability regimes do other countries have?

They vary from country to country. Belgium has set a liability amount of 300 million Euros, and the France 91.5 million Euros, and the UK £40 million. Germany has set unlimited liability though a financial security limit is set at about 2,500 million Euros. Japan also has unlimited liability, but a maximum financial security limit of 60 billion yen.





India's Sham Nuclear Liability Bill

By Toxic Watch



New Delhi: British Petroleum (BP) is facing a bill of up to $34 billion from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster. After US senators demanded, the oil company deposited $20 billion (about Rs 92000 crores) into a ring-fenced account to meet escalating compensation costs but the way Indian legislators are agreeing to a Rs 1500 crore cap on nuclear disaster from large nuclear power plants, Rs 300 crore cap for institutions involved in reprocessing fuel and Rs 100 crore cap for small research reactors is unacceptable and condemnable.

Srikumar Banerjee, Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission and ex-officio Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy, one of the drafters of the Bill is guilty of ignoring the consequences of possible nuclear disaster because his text has privatized profits and made liabilities public. Mamohan Singh who is in-charge of Department of Atomic Energy appears to be guilty of dereliction of duty as well. The Report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science & Technology, Environment & Forests chaired by T Subbirami Reddy reveals their culpability quite categorically. This report was tabled in the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha on 18th August, 2010. Report attached What else can explain their indifference towards other concerned ministries like health, agriculture, labour, water resources etc. Aren’t they relevant? What can explain the lack of consensus among the committee members even in matters of national interest?

India’s Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill, 2010 is meant to pave the way for India to sign International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)’s Convention on Supplementary Compensation (CSC) for Nuclear Damage, 1997. The question that stares citizens in the face is: whether or not the proposed liability Bill and the pre-existing IAEA’s compensation treaty in the supreme interest of present and future generation of Indians? If India decides to join the CSC, it will be an exercise in surrendering its sovereignty to a conflict of interest ridden regime like IAEA which is both the promoter and regulator of nuclear commerce. Like IAEA, Indian the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) is dependent on the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) whose mandate is charged with promoting nuclear power in India.

The Parliamentary Committee enquired from Nirupama Rao , the Foreign Secretary that “whether there are other considerations apart from the legal requirements that necessitated the Bill.” She informed that “since the Government is operating within the ambit of international agreements and on the basis of certain principles the nation should have provisions of the nuclear liability Bill.”

This is further corroborated by two members of the Parliamentary Standing Committee namely, Saman Pathak and Barun Mukherji. Both have observed categorically that the provisions of the Bill will unduly favour the foreign suppliers of nuclear equipment and it is being done to make the provisions compatible with the Convention on Supplementary Compensation (CSC). Like all Indians both these members are not convinced with the rationale of India joining the CSC because this legislation on civil nuclear liability does not “keep the interests of the Indian people, who may be affected in a nuclear accident, as its core concern'.

In its 25 page report on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill, 2010, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science & Technology, Environment & Forests observes, “When the Committee inquired from the Secretaries of Ministries/Departments of Government of India who appeared before the Committee as to whether the draft nuclear liability Bill was referred to them for their views/comments, some of them viz. Ministries of Health & Family Welfare, Agriculture, Labour & Employment, Food & Public Distribution, etc. replied in the negative. The Committee is of the opinion that Government must have sought the opinion of Ministries which are even distantly related to any provision of the legislation. The Committee, therefore, recommends that in future Government should consult all such Ministries/ Departments which are even remotely concerned with the provisions of a proposed legislation.”

It is noteworthy that the 25-member working group on civil nuclear energy-2009 constituted by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) under the chairmanship of Dr S K Jain, chairman and managing director, Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited came out with a 57-page report with the format of the proposed Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill. Dr Jain was present during the testimony of the experts and citizens to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science & Technology, Environment & Forests. The government of India has an ambitious target "to increase our installed capacity more than seven fold to 35,000 MWe by the year 2022, and to 60,000 MWe by 2032." Established in pre-independent India in 1927, FICCI is the largest and oldest apex business organization of the country. It claims to be a “non-government, not-for-profit organisation”. FICCI has direct membership from the private as well as public sectors, including SMEs and MNCs, and an indirect membership of over 83,000 companies from regional chambers of commerce. As part of its corporate lobbying, “FICCI works closely with the government on policy issues, enhancing efficiency, competitiveness and expanding business opportunities for industry through a range of specialised services and global linkages. It also provides a platform for sector specific consensus building and networking.” In such conflict of interest ridden circumstances, Dr Jain claimed that the health hazards from Chernobyl nuclear disaster is no more visible. Therefore, he implied that the questions of intergenerational adverse effects do not arise. Are his claims factual and trustworthy?

Under the influence of FICCI and US nuclear industry, Dr.T. Subbarami Reddy, Dr Mammohan Singh and Dr Srikumar Banerjee have chosen not learn from the mistakes of US firms who embarked on a nuclear power strategy under the assumption that the radioactive waste management problem was not difficult and would be solved relatively quickly. Subsequent events have proved otherwise because radioactive waste management efforts are quite different from industrial and municipal waste management.

Observations of G K Pillai, Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs illustrate how Banerjee has not been rigorous in the drafting of the Bill. While commenting on the conditions in which the operator of a nuclear power plant, who could be made liable for nuclear damage, Pillai stated that the Bill contains such terms as armed conflict, hostilities, civil war, insurrection or an act of terrorism that have wide meanings but have not been defined in the present Bill. Therefore there is a need for inserting meanings of these terms from other laws, in Section 2 of this Bill. Such vagueness in connotations can make the operators negligent in observing security procedures and can create situations of disputes between the operator and the central government.

It is frightening to know that any nuclear incident may induce radioactive contaminations in surface, ground water bodies, and other water resources. U N Panjiar, the Secretary, Water resources was of the opinion that the Ministry does not have any facility for testing water quality, from point of view of nuclear contamination because this work has been done by the Department of Atomic Energy. The efficiency of Department of Atomic Energy gets routinely revealed in issues ranging from radioactive steel, ship breaking industry, Mayapuri scrap market, Kaiga incident etc. Didn’t AERB reveal its incompetence when it declared Mayapuri scrap market radiation free when it was proven later that the radiation still existed in the area? Didn’t it do the same after inspecting the obsolete ship Blue Lady?

While Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy responded by saying that Ministry of Water Resources has not been involved in checking and monitoring the quality of water because this job is done by the Environmental Survey Laboratories of the Department of Atomic Energy, the fact remains the Bill should have been sent to the Water Resources Ministry as well because Department of Atomic Energy deals with point source of radioactive pollution and not with non-point source of pollution. It is saddening that Ministry of Water Resources conceded that since expertise is available in DAE alone, the Ministry need not be consulted. Panjiar rightly stressed upon the need to study the impact of nuclear contaminated water on human beings, animals, plants and crops. The Bill does not make any provision for such efforts. In such a context it is germane to recollect that more than 51 years ago, on 28 May 1959, the World Health Organisation (WHO)'s assembly voted into force an agreement with the IAEA, a UN agency that prevented the WHO from investigating, warning and revealing the dangers of nuclear radiation on health. The agreement is attached.

Coincidentally, K Sujata Rao, Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare while deposing before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science & Technology, Environment & Forests mentioned that “while drafting the Bill the Dept. of Atomic Energy did not consult them. Since the response system to deal with any kind of emergency of such type, the hospitals are not well-equipped, it is natural that mortality and morbidity due to multiple burn, blasts, radiation injuries and psycho-social impact could be on very high scale and medical tackling of such a large emergency could have enough repercussions in the nearby areas of radioactive fallout. She also mentioned that in the entire Bill, there is not a single clause which speaks about taking health care during radiological emergencies. It reflects only about payment of compensation due to health impacts of such radiation. She suggested while setting up nuclear plants consideration may also be given to the fact that there should be hospital having trained doctors near such establishments and arrangements should also be made for free treatment of people who are affected by serious nuclear fallout.” She confessed that her Ministry is nowhere to meet an eventuality that may arise out of nuclear and radiological emergencies. Present and future generation of India would slaute Sujatha Rao for her exemplary conduct to safeguard her compatriots.

Clearly, objectives of Health Ministry and Department of Atomic Energy are at loggerheads in the same way as objectives of WHO and IAEA are. The former is dedicated to promoting health and the latter exists to promote nuclear commerce. Under the agreement between WHO and IAEA, the two agencies must "keep each other fully informed concerning all projected activities and all programs of work which may be of interest to both parties". Notably, probe into the health impacts of the Chernobyl nuclear accident in Ukraine on 26 April 1986 was taken over by IAEA and dissenting voices were suppressed. The health effects of the nuclear accident were the subject of two major conferences, in Geneva in 1995, and in Kiev, Ukrain in 2001. The full proceedings of those conferences remain unpublished. The programme and conclusions of the Kiev Conference is attached. The Kiev conference was organised by WHO Association of "Physicians of Chernobyl" in co-operation with UN agencies. There is no evidence to suggest that our Department of Atomic Energy or the Parliamentary Standing Committee had accessed the documents of these conferences and drew lessons from it.

IAEA’s International Conference on Chernobyl - Looking Back to Go Forwards Towards a United Nations Consensus on the Effects of the Accident and the Future, Vienna, September, 2005 was a public relations exercise by the nuclear industry that promoted such risk models for nuclear radiation that understated the true hazards. Chris Busby, the scientific secretary of European Committee on Radiation Risk (ECRR) and visiting professor at the University of Ulster's school of biomedical sciences observes, "The subordination of the WHO to IAEA is a key part of the systematic falsification of nuclear risk which has been under way ever since Hiroshima, the agreement creates an unacceptable conflict of interest in which the UN organisation concerned with promoting our health has been made subservient to those whose main interest is the expansion of nuclear power. Dissolving the WHO-IAEA agreement is a necessary first step to restoring the WHO's independence to research the true health impacts of ionising radiation and publish its findings."

Disregarding lessons from 26 years of Bhopal disaster, even in the 24th anniversary year of the Chernobyl disaster the WHO-IAEA Agreement is yet to be abandoned. ECRR has called for its abandonment. India too should call for freeing WHO from hiding facts about health effect from nuclear hazards due to the agreement.

Amidst public relations blitzkrieg of nuclear companies, it is not surprising that Banerjee, Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy expressed his touching faith in the nuclear power companies of all ilk and informed the Parliamentary Committee that the “Reactor at Chernobyl did not have a containment, while old reactors in India have containments and, therefore, Chernobyl type incident can never take place in India.” Is it because of such divine belief in the nuclear technology that he was starkly negligent in choosing not to consult revenant ministries while drafting the Bill? Is it for this very reason that doctrine of “absolute liability” for the operator, supplier, builder and owner has been subverted? Business enterprises are “strictly and absolutely liable to compensate all those who are affected by the accident and such liability is not subject to any of the exceptions which operate vis-à-vis the tortuous principle of strict liability,” as per Supreme Court’s order. The liability of the operator should be made “absolute” to ensure that there are no exceptions.

The Bill ignores the fact that Union Carbide Corporation was also in the business of nuclear power and its current owner The Dow Chemicals Company (since February 6, 2001) too offers a range of nuclear grade resins that are designed and manufactured to meet the requirements of the nuclear power industry. As part of its ‘policy perspectives’ for ‘Accelerate Development of Alternatives and Renewable Energy’, Dow calls for “An increased reliance on safe nuclear power and technologies for effectively managing nuclear waste”. Radioactive waste is not a single "thing" that can be isolated and dealt with.

Reddy, Singh and Banerjee should have recommended more openness, increased public access to information so that no agency hides problems to be solved by the future generations. Current draft of the Bill is leaving the nuclear waste problems for future generations.

This is illustrated by what Alka Sirohi, Secretary, Department of Food & Public Distribution informed the Parliamentary Standing Committee , while explaining the functioning of her Ministry, she emphasized the ill-effects of nuclear radiation on food items and its subsequent repercussions on human health and safeguards to be taken to prevent nuclear contamination of food during radiological accidents. She further mentioned although radiological damage to food items may fall within the generic definition of the property as mentioned in Clause 2f (ii) of the Bill, it would be better if the said Clause could provide a separate definition food grains along with of storage of foodgrains. Additionally she also mentioned that safety norms, distance, location and operating procedure, which should be defined in the Bill during the construction of the warehouses for foodgrains storage to be followed, near a nuclear facility. She also mentioned about the establishment of laboratories for the standard testing of food articles to ascertain radiation levels. Sirohi merits appreciation for her considered submission before the Parliamentary Standing Committee.

The Bill remains silent on the grave issues raised by Prabeer Kumar Basu, Secretary, Agriculture who mentioned before the Committee that the disaster management structure in the country is oriented in such a manner that emergencies arising out of floods, earthquakes and droughts could be managed in an efficient manner. However, on the other hand, unfortunately the disaster management structure in the country, as per his opinion, is not well tailored in meeting radiological fall out and more unfortunate to mention that even educated section of the people is not well aware about the implications of a serious nuclear disaster. He therefore, felt that more public awareness needs to be built in respect of nuclear disaster and its hair-raising impact on biological population. He further pointed out that as a consequence of a nuclear disaster of the Chernobyl type, it is quite possible that agricultural crops around 30 to 100 kms. from the site of the incident could be wiped out total. This may affect seriously the biodiversity of the crops in the radiation area and the farmer may loose their traditional variety of crops. In this connection he mentioned that the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources and Gene Bank in the country who are keeping a sample of each variety of crops can preserve these varieties which could be planted for further production if a variety of crops is entirely lost due to radiological emergency. He however, mentioned that there should be suitable rules, regulations and guidelines and compensation model for agricultural damage that could be inserted at an appropriate place in the legislation which may work after a radiological eventuality takes place.

Further revealing the criminal negligence of the drafters of the Bill, Prabhat C Chatirvedi, Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment while referring to Clause 5 (1)(i) which provides for non-liability of operator for any nuclear damage arising out of a grave natural disaster of an exceptional character pointed out that grave natural disaster should not include earthquakes or floods. He advised the Committee that if nuclear plant is placed in a seismic zone, it should be properly designed to withstand earthquake of severe character. The word natural disaster is too general. He further mentioned that concept of absolute liability of the operator in case of a nuclear damage whether it is on worker or someone else should be invoked in the Bill. The Secretary, while referring to Clause 39 (1) of the Bill, drew the attention of the Committee that no specific monetary quantum has been mentioned in regard to the fine to be imposed under the chapter on offenses and penalties. He therefore, suggested that specific quantum of fine in monetary terms should be defined in the Bill. Chaturvedi merits plaudits for his considered submission before the committee.

In compliance of the suggestion of Chairperson, Parliamentary Standing Committee Science & Technology, Environment & Forests during my testimony on 3rd August, 2010 and pursuant to my written submission dated 7th July, 2010, Toxicswatch Alliance (TWA) had specifically drawn the attention of the Parliamentary Standing Committee with regard to the narrow definition of the word “installation” and conflict of interest ridden existence of Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB). In a letter to the Parliamentary Standing Committee dated August 12, 2010, TWA has highlighted the backdrop of the deliberations on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill. Meera Shankar, Indian Ambassador to the US, and William Burns , the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs of the United States signed the Agreement on Arrangements and Procedures for Reprocessing on July 30, 2010 in pursuance to Article 6(iii) of the Agreement for Cooperation concerning Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy between India and the US. TWA has questioned the merit of centralised power stations like nuclear given 35-40 percent transmission and distribution loss from power grids.

R.Gopalan, Secretary, Financial Services submitted before the Parliamentary Committee that “any increase in premium of insurance will lead to increase in the cost of production of electricity for nuclear power. It is argued that higher the liability limit higher will be the insurance premium and subsequently higher will be the cost of electricity production.” Unmindful of such concerns its business as usual for the US nuclear companies and FICCI. A press release from the Indian Embassy in Washington, DC noted, "The historic bilateral cooperation agreement for peaceful uses of nuclear energy, the 123 Agreement that we signed two years back provided for reprocessing of US obligated nuclear material in an Indian national facility under IAEA safeguards."

It observes, "The government of India has already designated two sites for nuclear power plants to be established in cooperation with the US and the companies of the two countries are now engaged in discussions" as a follow up of the last month's Strategic Dialogue and the meeting of the CEO's Forum prior to the visit of President Barack Obama to India in November 2010.

Reddy, Dr Singh and Banerjee have failed to discourage nuclear power companies to locate "sinks" like deep waters of ocean, sea, rivers, air and landfills etc in which it could dump, flush, or vent radioactive waste products. They have skirted the issue of India’s radioactive waste management and it should desist from NIMBY-ism. NIMBY stands for "Not In My Back Yard". The US state of Nevada is fighting a classic NIMBY battle against the Yucca Mountain facility. In India too communities should be empowered and not harassed for asserting their right to safe environment and the rights of future generations. It was once argued that reprocessing spent nuclear fuel was another important waste management strategy although the act of reprocessing still generated volatile waste products which exacerbated the waste management problem even as it reduced the overall volume of radioactive waste material but it only made radioactive waste problem a long-term disposal option. Notably, US itself has stopped reprocessing nuclear fuel during the late 1970s by order of President Jimmy Carter.

Reddy, Singh and Banerjee do not realize that the difficulties with radioactive waste cannot be dealt with by imposing a legislative fix on a problem that has not been clearly defined or fully understood. Such legislative fixes are hardly a solution as became evident from US Nuclear Waste Repository Act of 1982 and a 1987 Congressional amendment to the Act which mandated consideration of only one location, Nevada's Yucca Mountain as a permanent repository leading to major litigation as well as significant opposition from people in the US state of Nevada. Nuclear power cannot and should not expand in India as is the case with the US until the problem of where to dispose of radioactive waste is solved.

P Umashankar, Secretary, Ministry of Power apprised the Committee about the Clause 3 of the Bill, wherein the notification regarding the occurrence of a nuclear incident is to be issued within 15 days by the AERB. According to him, “the nuclear power station incharge/ director will immediately declare nuclear emergency, and forthwith the disaster management plan will start, without waiting for the publication of the notification and the 15 days time-period also needs to be reduced. “ This is quite sensible but it appears that Department of Atomic Energy did not consult even the Power Ministry.

Testimony after testimony before the Committee had asked for deletion of the word terrorism from the Bill but the same is not reflected in the Committee’ s report despite the fact that Pradeep Kumar, the Defence Secretary, who also appeared before the Committee categorically stated, “under different layers of protection, nuclear assets including nuclear installations are being protected through Defence. However he admitted that absolute and fool proof protection cannot be guaranteed for any nuclear or other assets in the country during peace or war.” Exceptions for acts of terrorism can easily be used by the supplier and the operator to wash their hands off any nuclear disaster.

In view of the above observations, there is a very urgent need for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (sans conflict of interest) to probe and examine the current liability regime in general and nuclear liability regime in particular in the developed countries besides a High Powered Trans-disciplinary Independent Experts Committee to study the status of adverse enviro-occupational hazards world over. Human cost of industrial disasters have created a compelling logic to do away with the idea of limited liability to companies, the proposed Companies Bill should make a beginning in order to make these legal-artificial persons accountable to our legislature.





Shame! India sold its dead cheap
Shobhan Saxena,

Around 22,000 dead. More than 1,20,000 injured.  Rs 1 lakh for each
body. Rs 25,000 for every poisoned lung and damaged heart and blinded
eyes. 26 years of long wait. And just 2 years in jail for the men who
committed the worst crime against the people of this country. And this
mockery of justice after such a long wait. Twenty six years after 40
tonnes of lethal gas seeped into the lungs of Bhopal, families of some
17,000 men, women and children are still waiting for the so-called
compensation. Thousands more are still waiting to be accepted as
victims. People of Bhopal are still drinking toxic water poisoned by
Union Carbide in December 1984. And the main culprit is living life
kingsize in a mansion in New York.

No country sells its people so cheap.
No country sells its poor so cheap.
No country sells its dead so cheap.

Today – on the day of Bhopal disaster judgment -- if there is a failed
state in the world, it’s India. It’s not Iraq. It’s not Somalia. It’s
not Sudan. It’s India.

India – its government, judiciary and corporates – accepted the
ridiculous amount of $450 million dollars for the people killed and
maimed by methyl isocyanate leaked from the Union Carbide factory in
the heart of Bhopal three decades ago. In all these years, the poor
victims have done everything they could to get justice and
compensation. They have cried and died on streets, sat hungry and
faced police lathis on roads and filed court cases in the hope that
one day they will get justice.

Today, they were denied justice. Today, they were told that they
should be happy with the peanuts thrown at them by Union Carbide.
Today, India proved once again that it doesn’t care for its poor.
Today, it was proved all over again that those who do politics in the
name of poor in this country, always rule for the rich.

What justification does CBI have for not being able to produce Warren
Anderson in court. The chairman of UC at the time of the gas attack
(it was not an accident, the gas leak was caused because of cost-
cutting steps taken by him) on the people of Bhopal, Anderson was
arrested and later released on bail. He ran off to US in 1986 and we
have not been able to find him or ask the US to extradite Anderson to
India. Why? The government says it doesn’t know where Anderson is.
What a lie. What a shame.

Last year, on a balmy July day, a bunch of victims danced on the
streets after hearing news that the Chief Judicial Magistrate of
Bhopal had ordered the CBI to arrest Anderson and produce him before
the court without delay. The court also asked the CBI to explain what
steps it had taken since 2002 to enforce the warrant and extradition
of Anderson, who was declared an absconder in 1992. Though the CBI and
US government failed to track Anderson, supporters of Bhopal victims
traced him to the elite New York neighbourhood of the Hamptons. In
2003, Greenpeace activists paid Anderson a visit at his home and
handed him an arrest warrant.

Today’s ridiculous judgment in Bhopal didn’t say anything on Anderson
as he is a “proclaimed offender”. This status suits him fine because
he doesn’t have to bother about coming to India and answer some very
crucial questions:

 *Why did Union Carbide not apply the same safety standards at its
plant in India as it operated at a sister plant in West Virginia, US?

*On the night of the disaster, why did the six safety measures
designed to prevent a gas leak fail to function?

*Why was the safety siren, intended to alert the people living close
to the factory, turned off?

The victims have always alleged that Bhopal happened because of
negligence by the Union Carbide and that was caused by cost-cutting
measures taken by Anderson. Is it because of this reason that Anderson
has been 'hiding' in the US?

A criminal has a reason to hide, but what reason does our government
have to let a mass murderer like Anderson go scot-free. Is it because
he is an American? Can an American come to India kill people in this
country and run away with no consequences? That seems to be the case.
We are still struggling to get a chance to question David Headley
Coleman, an American citizen responsible for the worst terror attack
on an Indian city in 2008. Will we succeed in getting Headley
extradited to India? No way. Never.

Today, India proved that it doesn’t really care for its people,
particularly if they have been slaughtered by powerful people from the
most powerful nation in the world. Instead of taking on America and
fighting for justice for its poor, India is more than happy to sell
its dead cheap.

Rs 1 lakh for every body. Rs 25,000 for every blinded eye. This is the
cost of poor life in a failed state.



 Severe accident risk at India’s fast breeder nuclear reactor
The safety inadequacies of India’s fast breeder reactor

Article Highlights
India’s Department of Atomic Energy plans to build a large fleet of fast breeder nuclear reactors in the coming years.
However, many other countries that have experimented with fast reactors have shut down their programs due to technical and safety difficulties.
The Indian prototype is similarly flawed, inadequately protected against the possibility of a severe accident.

India’s Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) is planning a large expansion of nuclear power, in which fast breeder reactors play an important role. Fast breeder reactors are attractive to the DAE because they produce (or "breed") more fissile material than they use. The breeder reactor is especially attractive in India, which hopes to develop a large domestic nuclear energy program even though it has primarily poor quality uranium ore that is expensive to mine.

Currently, only one fast reactor operates in the country—a small test reactor in Kalpakkam, a small township about 80 kilometers (almost 50 miles) south of Chennai. The construction of a larger prototype fast breeder reactor (PFBR) is underway at the same location. This reactor is expected to be completed in 2010 and will use mixed plutonium-uranium oxide as fuel in its core, with a blanket of depleted uranium oxide that will absorb neutrons and transmute into plutonium 239. Liquid sodium will be used to cool the core, which will produce 1,200 megawatts of thermal power and 500 megawatts of electricity. The reactor is to be the first of hundreds that the DAE envisions constructing throughout India by mid-century.

However, such an expansion of fast reactors, even if more modest than DAE projections, could adversely affect public health and safety. While all nuclear reactors are susceptible to catastrophic accidents, fast reactors pose a unique risk. In fast reactors, the core isn’t in its most reactive—or energy producing— configuration when operating normally. Therefore, an accident that rearranges the fuel in the core could lead to an increase in reaction rate and an increase in energy production. If this were to occur quickly, it could lead to a large, explosive energy release that might rupture the reactor vessel and disperse radioactive material into the environment.

Many of these reactors also have what is called a "positive coolant void coefficient," which means that if the coolant in the central part of the core were to heat up and form bubbles of sodium vapor, the reactivity—a measure of the neutron balance within the core, which determines the reactor’s tendency to change its power level (if it is positive, the power level rises)—would increase; therefore core melting could accelerate during an accident. (A positive coolant void coefficient, though not involving sodium, contributed to the runaway reaction increase during the April 1986 Chernobyl reactor accident.) In contrast, conventional light water reactors typically have a "negative coolant void coefficient" so that a loss of coolant reduces the core’s reactivity. The existing Indian fast breeder test reactor, with its much smaller core, doesn’t have a positive coolant void coefficient. Thus, the DAE doesn’t have real-world experience in handling the safety challenges that a large prototype reactor will pose.

More largely, international experience shows that fast breeder reactors aren’t ready for commercial use. Superphénix, the flagship of the French breeder program, remained inoperative for the majority of its 11-year lifetime until it was finally shuttered in 1996. Concerns about the adequacy of the design of the German fast breeder reactor led to it being contested by environmental groups and the local state government in the 1980s and ultimately to its cancellation in 1991. And the Japanese fast reactor Monju shut down in 1995 after a sodium coolant leak caused a fire and has yet to restart. Only China and Russia are still developing fast breeders. China, however, has yet to operate one, and the Russian BN-600 fast reactor has suffered repeated sodium leaks and fires.

When it comes to India’s prototype fast breeder reactor, two distinct questions must be asked: (1) Is there confidence about how an accident would propagate inside the core and how much energy it might release?; and (2) have PFBR design efforts been as strict as necessary, given the possibility that an accident would be difficult to contain and potentially harmful to the surrounding population?

The simple answer to both is no.

The DAE, like other fast-reactor developers, has tried to study how severe a core-disruptive accident would be and how much energy it would release. In the case of the PFBR, the DAE has argued that the worst-case core disruptive accident would release an explosive energy of 100 megajoules. This is questionable.

The DAE’s estimate is much smaller when compared with other fast reactors, especially when the much larger power capacity of the PFBR—and thus, the larger amount of fissile material used in the reactor—is taken into account. For example, it was estimated that the smaller German reactor (designed to produce 760 megawatts of thermal energy) would produce 370 megajoules in the event of a core-disruptive accident—much higher than the PFBR estimate. Other fast reactors around the world have similarly higher estimates for how much energy would be produced in such accidents.

The DAE’s estimate is based on two main assumptions: (1) that only part of the core will melt down and contribute to the accident; and (2) that only about 1 percent of the thermal energy released during the accident would be converted into mechanical energy that can damage the containment building and cause ejection of radioactive materials into the atmosphere.

Neither of these assumptions is justifiable. Britain’s Atomic Energy Authority has done experiments that suggest up to 4 percent of the thermal energy could be converted into mechanical energy. And the phenomena that might occur inside the reactor core during a severe accident are very complex, so there’s no way to stage a full-scale experiment to compare with the theoretical accident models that the reactor’s designers used in their estimates. In addition, important omissions in the DAE’s own safety studies make their analysis inadequately conservative. (Our independent estimates of the energy produced in a hypothetical PFBR core disruptive accident are presented in the Science and Global Security article, "Compromising Safety: Design Choices and Severe Accident Possibilities in India’s Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor" and these are much higher than the DAE’s estimates.)

Turning to the second question: In terms of the stringency of the DAE’s design effort, the record reveals inadequate safety precautions. One goal of any "defense-in-depth" design is to engineer barriers to withstand the most severe accident that’s considered plausible. Important among these barriers is the reactor’s containment building, the most visible structure from the outside of any nuclear plant. Compared to most other breeder reactors, and light water reactors for that matter, the design of the PFBR’s containment is relatively weak and won’t be able to contain an accident that releases a large amount of energy. The DAE knows how to build stronger containments—its newest heavy water reactor design has a containment building that is meant to withstand six times more pressure than the PFBR’s containment—but has chosen not to do so for the PFBR.

The other unsafe design choice is that of the reactor core. As mentioned earlier, the destabilizing positive coolant void coefficient in fast reactors is a problem because it increases the possibility that reactivity will escalate inside the core during an accident. It’s possible to decrease this effect by designing the reactor core so that fuel subassemblies are interspersed within the depleted uranium blanket, in what is termed a heterogeneous core. The U.S. Clinch River Breeder Reactor, which was eventually cancelled, was designed with a heterogeneous core, and Russia has considered a heterogeneous core for its planned BN-1600 reactor. The DAE hasn’t made such an effort, and the person who directed India’s fast breeder program during part of the design phase once argued that the emphasis on the coolant void coefficient was mistaken because a negative void coefficient could lead to dangerous situations in an accident as well. That might be true, but it misses the obvious point that the same potentially dangerous situations would be even more dangerous if the void coefficient within the core is positive.

Both of these design choices—a weak containment building and a reactor core with a large and positive void coefficient—are readily explainable: They lowered costs. Reducing the sodium coolant void coefficient would have increased the fissile material requirement of the reactor by 30-50 percent—an expensive component of the initial costs. Likewise, a stronger containment building would have cost more. All of this is motivated by the DAE’s assessment that "the capital cost of [fast breeder reactors] will remain the most important hurdle" to their rapid deployment.

Lowered electricity costs would normally be most welcome, but not with the increased risk of catastrophic accidents caused by poorly designed fast breeder reactors.

 Fukushima Nuclear Accident: Sobering Reflections
By S.G.Vombatkere

13 March, 2011
Countercurrents.org

The tsunami-triggered accident in Fukushima (Japan) Daiichi plant's Unit 1 (operated by the Tokyo Electric Power Company, TEPCO) brings safety issues into question regarding the operation of nuclear power plants (NPPs). In the Daiichi NPP, the automatic shutting down of the reactor by stopping the controlled nuclear fission process, did occur as designed. However, the reactor did not cool down as fast as it was expected and required to do, and called for activating the emergency coolant pumps according to design. But there was no grid power due to a combination of earthquake and subsequent tsunami to operate the pumps. Also, because of flooding due to the tsunami, the dedicated standby generators could not provide power. The standby battery power (standby to the standby generator) was insufficient to operate the pumps at sufficient rate and duration, and so the (radioactive) steam generated due to overheating had to be vented to relieve the increasing pressure. This has put an unmeasured quantum of radioactive elements (radionucleides) into the atmosphere. But that too did not cool down the reactor sufficiently. It was then reported that sea water was being let into the reactor to cool it to prevent a meltdown. By this a further unmeasured amount of radioactive material would be discharged into the environment. The TEPCO website claims that “monitoring goes on around the clock year round” but at the bottom it says in red: “THIS SYSTEM IS CURRENTLY SHUTDOWN". All this detail is provided to show three things: One, that accidents in NPPs can and do occur for one or more of several reasons; Two, monitoring can fail, and even when it operates, the public is expected to unquestioningly accept the data provided by the NPP authorities as correct, due to official secrecy conditions. Thus, how much of nuclear radiation has already been discharged into the atmosphere and sea water from the Daiichi NPP and how much more will escape in the hours and days to come will never be known. Also, how much is being discharged from the other four affected NPPs is anybody's guess; Three, Unlike hydel or thermal power plants which can be shut down practically instantaneously, the nuclear fuel in NPPs requires cooling to prevent overheating even in normal conditions. Thus, NPPs always need independent power supply (from the grid or their own standby generators) in an emergency. That is, NPPs are not autonomous in respect of safety.
The Japanese nuclear engineers are making heroic efforts at immense personal risk to prevent a steam explosion (not a nuclear explosion) in the NPP. This is the point at which the design and construction standards of the concrete double containment structure of the nuclear reactor will have to withstand the explosion. This could trigger a partial or total meltdown of the reactor core, similar to what happened in USA in 1971 in the Three Mile Island NPP. (This put the US nuclear power industry into the doldrums until USA revived it by negotiating the nuclear deal with India in 2009). Japan has a reputation for good design and safety standards and good quality control and quality assurance in execution. It would be the fervent wish of every thinking person on the planet that the double containment will not fail and that the engineers will control the desperately delicate situation in the Daiichi NPP. Nobody is as yet even thinking of the costs of containing the accident and the subsequent nuclear clean-up.
But let us now cut to the nuclear situation in India. The issue of Indian design and construction quality standards stands naked when we note that the concrete containment dome of the Kaiga (Karnataka) NPP collapsed when under construction, and had to be rebuilt. It has not been revealed whether it was a failure of design or execution quality. It is not possible to obtain reliable information regarding the operation, safety standards and performance or other cost, constructional or operational aspects of any NPP because of the following reasons: One, Section 18 (Restriction on disclosure of information) and Section 24 (Offences and penalties) of the draconian Indian Atomic Energy Act 1962, do not permit anybody to even ask questions about NPPs, Two, nobody except the nuclear industry is permitted to conduct tests for radioactivity even outside the perimeter of any NPP, Three, the Environment Protection Act 1986, does not apply to NPPs, Four, the safety and monitoring agency (AERB) is not an independent agency and the public has to accept whatever health and safety information is released by the NPP or the AERB, Five, the budget of the DAE is not placed even before Parliament and the power generation and efficiency figures are not available even to the Central Electricity Authority (CEA). In short, the Indian nuclear industry is a closed door to the rest of India, and this can be at the cost of public safety and health.
Further, in the event of a nuclear accident, Government of India (GoI) has sought to cap or limit the liability of operators or suppliers of nuclear hardware and technology to assure profits to the US nuclear industry. In simpler language, this means that the real financial cost of post-accident nuclear clean-up and repair would be borne by India, as the liability of the suppliers would be limited to the cap amount, while the real costs of health and livelihood would be borne by the people.
In view of the secrecy and the poor standards of construction even in the nuclear industry, the conflicting parameters of safety, operational cost and radioactive emissions of any NPP leave the public to guess when one of India's NPPs may suffer a serious accident, and whether we will be able to handle the disaster effectively and efficiently. Indian nuclear engineers are second to none, thus the issue of safety in India's nuclear establishment is institutional. The secrecy, intransparency, unaccountability and self-certification of the nuclear industry makes one doubt whether we will be able to prevent serious emergency or handle it effectively should it happen.
This also raises questions about the advisability of going for mega NPPs such as planned in Jaitapur, Maharashtra. This is quite apart from the fact of enormous resistance to its construction from local people on the grounds of livelihood and environment. Let us hope that the Indian nuclear establishment would never need to handle a serious accident of the type of Three Mile Island or Chernobyl or Fukushima.
S.G.Vombatkere holds a PhD in civil structural dynamics from I.I.T, Madras, and has extensive structural design and project execution experience.
E-mail: sg9kere@live.com 




Children crippled by India's uranium waste
The Guardian - Asia Pacific - 23Aug

An Observer investigation has discovered a link between Indian electricity stations and physical and mental abnormalities

Hundreds of children in the Punjab have been contaminated with uranium in a pollution scandal with implications that could extend far beyond the borders of India.

Scientists and health workers have sounded the alarm after being confronted with a dramatic rise in birth defects, physical and mental abnormalities, and cancers in the Indian state. A subsequent Observer investigation has uncovered evidence linking the contamination to ash from the region's coal-fired power stations. Tests on children born in areas around the power stations have revealed that many have high levels of uranium in their bodies.

The metal is concentrated in the fly ash produced when coal is burned. Tests on ground water around the plants show levels of uranium up to 15 times the World Health Organisation's maximum safe limits.

The revelations coincide with the publication of a report by the Russian Academy of Sciences' Thermal Engineering journal that warns of an increased radiation hazard to people living near coal-fired thermal power stations.

Staff at two clinics around the Punjabi city of Bathinda â€" where there are two coal-fired thermal plants â€" have reported alarming numbers of admissions of severely handicapped children. Children were born with enlarged or small heads, short arms and legs, cerebral palsy, Down's syndrome and other complications. A German laboratory that tested samples taken from the children found massive levels of uranium in their bodies â€" in one case more than 60 times the maximum safe limit.

Studies of ground water suggest that while the uranium contamination is heaviest around the power plants, it extends across large parts of the state, which is home to 24 million people. The Indian government is committed to an expansion of thermal plants in Punjab and other states. Around the world, many other countries are planning to build new coal-fired power plants, including China, Russia, India, Germany and the United States. In the UK, there are plans for a coal-fired station at the Kingsnorth facility in Kent.

The children are being treated at the Baba Farid centres for special children in Bathinda and nearby Faridkot. Dr Pritpal Singh, who is in charge of the Faridkot clinic, said the number of children affected had risen dramatically in the past six or seven years and claimed the authorities were determined to bury the scandal. "They can't just detoxify these kids, they have to detoxify the whole Punjab. That is the reason for their reluctance," he said.

"They threatened us and said if we didn't stop commenting on what's happening they would close our clinic. But I decided that if I kept silent it would go on for years and no one would do anything about it. If I keep silent then the next day it will be my child. The children are dying in front of me."

Dr Carin Smit, a South African clinical metal toxicologist who arranged for the tests to be carried out, said the situation could not be ignored. "There is evidence of harm for these children in my care and … it is an imperative that their bodies be cleaned up and their metabolism be supported to deal with such a devastating presence of radioactive material," she said.

"If the contamination is as widespread as it would appear to be â€" as far west as Muktsar on Pakistan's border, and as far east as spreading into the foothills of Himachal Pradesh â€" then millions are at high risk and every new baby born to a contaminated mother is at risk."

A team of scientists from India's Department of Atomic Energy visited the area and reported that while the concentration of uranium in drinking water was "slightly high", there was "nothing to worry about", although some of their tests recorded levels of uranium as high as 224micrograms per litre (mcg/l) â€" 15 times higher than the safe level of 15mcg/l recommended by the World Health Organisation. The US Environmental Protection Agency sets a maximum safe level of 20mcg/l. Scientists in Punjab who have studied the presence of uranium in the state have dismissed the government's denials as a whitewash.

Dr Chander Parkash and Dr Surinder Singh, both from Amritsar's Guru Nanak Dev University, said it was clear that uranium was present in large quantities in the ground water and should be investigated further.

In the Faridkot centre last week, 15-year-old Harmanbir Kaur's test results came back and showed she had 10 times the safe limit in her body. Her brother, Naunihal Singh, six, had double the safe levels.

Harmanbir was born in Muktsar, 40km from Faridkot. Her mother, Kulbir Kaur, 37, has watched her child slowly degenerate from a healthy baby into the very ill girl she is today â€" dribbling constantly, unable to feed herself and lost in a world of her own.

"God knows what sin I have committed. When we go to our village people say there is a curse of God on you, but I don't believe so," she said. "Every part of this area is affected. We never imagined that there would be uranium in our kids."

A few miles down the road in Bathinda, Sukhminder Singh, a 48-year-old farmer, watched his son Kulwinder, 13, staring into space while curling his hands under his chin. The tests showed that Kulwinder had 19 times the maximum safe level of uranium in his body. He has cerebral palsy and has already had seven operations to unbend his arms and legs. He is furious that the government has ignored the evidence of a serious health risk to children in the Punjab.

"The government should investigate it because if our child is affected it will also affect future generations," he said. "What are they waiting for? How many children do they want to be affected? Another generation?"

Doni Choudhary, aged 15 months, is waiting to be tested, although staff say he shows similar symptoms to children whose results have revealed dangerous levels of uranium, and he is already being treated for suspected uranium poisoning. His mother, Neelum, 22, from the state capital, Chandigarh, says he was born with hydrocephaly â€" water on the brain. His legs are useless.

"He is dependent on others. After me, who can care for him?" Neelum says. "He tries to speak but he can't express himself and my heart cries. When will he understand that his legs don't work? What will he feel?"

Some scientists have also proposed that ground water may have been contaminated by contact with granite lying deep below the thick alluvial deposits that form the Punjab plains, although the parents of most of the children affected say they take their water from the mains supply, which comes from other sources.

Meanwhile, smoke continues to pour from Faridkot's power station chimneys and lorries shuttle backwards and forwards, taking away the fly ash to be mixed into cement at the Ambuja factory next to the Bathinda power plant.

Inside the plant last week, there was ash everywhere, forming drifts, clinging to the skin, getting into the throat. In the main hall, the LED display showed the four generators are churning out 107 megawatts of electricity.

Ravindra Singh, the plant's security officer, said that most of the ash went to the cement works, while the rest was dumped in ash ponds. The first coal-fired power station in Punjab was commissioned in Bathinda in 1974. It was followed by another in nearby Lehra Mohabbat in 1998. There is a third to the east, at Ropar.

Tests on ground water in villages in Bathinda district found the highest average concentration of uranium â€" 57mcg/l, three times the EPA's safe limit â€" in the town of Bhucho Mandi, a short distance from the Lehra Mohabbat ash pond. This level of uranium means the lifetime cancer risk in the village is more than 150 times that of the normal population

JAITAPUR NUCLEAR PLANT  -  IMPACT

A Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) report has criticised the location of the Jaitapur nuclear power plant in the Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra as sitting on an earthquake zone even as the state government plans to hold a public discussion to clear the air for the proposed reactor. Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan plans to rope in atomic energy experts and representatives of the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL), which will set up the project in collaboration with Areva, a French company, to dispel the “misinformation” created by activists at a public discussion in January. The project will have six 1650 MW reactors to be commissioned in a phased manner from 2018.

An impact assessment report by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) has strongly criticised the nuclear power plant being proposed at Jaitapur in the Konkan region.

The report has indicated that the project - which requires about 968 hectares of land panning five villages - will have a huge negative impact on the social as well as environmental development of not just these villages and the surrounding areas, but also on the Konkan region in general.

The findings suggest that the government subverted facts and called fertile agricultural land barren. It also says that the Jaitapur project is sitting on a high to moderate severity earthquake zone.

The Jaitapur nuclear power complex is located in the ecologically sensitive coastal Maharashtra region which includes Raigad, Sindhudurg and Ratnagiri districts. Nuclear Power Corporation of India is building the 9900 megawatt power plant - said to be the world's largest - in collaboration with French nuclear designing firm Areva. Last month, the Union Environment Ministry gave a conditional go-ahead to the plant. However, it is facing staunch opposition from the locals who fear environmental degradation in the fragile Konkan area.

Maharashtra Congress team heads to Jaitapur

As farmers' protests boil over in Ratnagiri threatening to delay the Jaitapur nuclear power plant, a concerned Maharashtra government dispatched a Congress team to review the situation.

"A Congress committee is going to Jaitapur. The committee will talk to locals and fishermen there. We will listen to their views and problems," Maharashtra Congress chief Manikrao Thakre said.

Despite the Environment Ministry's conditional go-ahead to the plant, protests refuse to die down.

"People who have faced the effects of a nuclear power project in their vicinity told us that this is a devastating project. They said that our next generation will have nothing to live and survive on. We will lose our paddy fields, our plantations and orchards and we will die of hunger," said Umakant Kambli, a resident of Madban village, Ratnagiri.

"We will die but won't let this project come up," said Manda Laxman Wadekar, former Sarpanch.

There is a sense of mistrust against the government. People here say they were not taken into confidence regarding the project, their lands were forcefully taken away, and their democratic protests were illegally thwarted.

Experts have already said that building, safeguarding and providing imported fuel to the reactor will be so costly that power from Jaitapur will be unaffordable.

Now villagers allege the project has neither planned storage and disposal of its nuclear waste, nor drafted any plan to ecologically protect Ratnagiri - a region of rich agriculture, horticulture, fisheries and biodiversity.

Without these plans in place, they say, letting the project come up will be suicidal.


WHY JAITAPUR  NUCLEAR PLANT MUST BE OPPOSED

Citizens are demanding answers to questions regarding approval, rehabilitation and land acquisition, costs, radioactive byproducts, reprocessing of spent fuel and disposal of radioactive wastes and civil nuclear liability limits of the Jaitapur nuclear plant that remains unaddressed. It must be answered by the Indian government, says activist Gopal Krishna.
Madban, a small village in Ratnagiri, Maharashtra [ Images ] is opposed to the nuclear plant in Jaitapur proposed by the Department of Atomic Energy, Government of India [ Images ]. The project got environmental clearance on November 28 hurriedly to please French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who visted India from December 4-7. The nuclear reactors would be designed and developed by AREVA, a French company.
Prior to this on October 29, more than 3,000 villagers courted arrest after an agitation. The villagers have refused compensation. Former high court judge B G Kolse-Patil, who was served orders preventing him from entering Ratnagiri district, flouted the ban and attended the villagers rally. Former Indian Navy chief Admiral L Ramdas (retired) and former Supreme Court Judge P B Samant too supported the villagers but were stopped by the police from joining the agitation.
The proposed nuclear power park at Madban is situated near the port of Jaitapur in the southern part of Ratnagiri district. It would be the largest single location nuclear power project in the world. It is based on the import of six nuclear power plants from AREVA. In the first phase, two plants are to be built between 2012 and 2017.
It has come to light that in the matter of the Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project a rigorous and scientific environment impact assessment and cost benefit analysis has not been performed.
Union Minister of Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh [ Images ], in the presence of the chief minister and deputy chief minister of Maharashtra officially announced 'conditional' environmental clearance to the JNPP. The citizens of Maharashtra and India are demanding answers to questions regarding approval, rehabilitation and land acquisition, costs, radioactive byproducts, reprocessing of spent fuel and disposal of radioactive wastes and civil nuclear liability limits that remains unaddressed. It must be answered by the Indian government. It is widely felt that it is a Vedanta and Posco kind of clearance given in haste to be repented in leisure.
It appears that the preparations for Sarkozy occupied the Union Cabinet so much that it failed to consult the secretaries of ministries/departments of the government of India on the ramifications in terms of liability from the proposed nuclear plant.
Several organisations and a large number of individuals are campaigning against the plant. The Konkan Bachao Samiti and the Janhit Seva Samiti have been spearheading a campaign against this nuclear power project. There is reliable information that the European regulatory authorities from three countries, Finland, France [ Images ] and UK have jointly written to AREVA, raising certain serious objections to the current design of control and instrumentation for vital safety aspects of Evolutionary Pressurized Reactors plant. It has also been learnt that the US regulator has written to AREVA expressing similar concerns.
Local residents are opposed to the JNPP and have refused to accept any compensation, nor have they demanded a raise in compensation. The project will attract Rs 25,000 crore to Rs 35,000 crore investment in the first two phases. The government is offering Rs 350 crore as compensation to the villagers. It is claimed that there are 2,033 families who would be directly affected by the project on 968 hectares of land. The nuclear project promises power generation of 9,900 MW in phases. 
In a backdrop that presented a fait accompli, the biodiversity report prepared by the Bombay Natural History Society formed the basis for the 35 environmental conditions set by the environment ministry while giving the green signal for the nuclear plant. The report recorded the presence of plant and animal life on land and marine both at and around the plant site. The BNHS has also mapped 407 hectares of mangrove vegetation around a 10 km radius of the nuclear plant as well as in some of the affected villages.
The BNHS report contradicted the official 1,200 page environment impact assessment report prepared by the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute and made public in April, 2010.
The NEERI report had described the land surrounding the nuclear plant as "rocky and barren land with no habitation and vegetation" and hence ruled out any adverse ecological impact in the area. The same area was surveyed during the monsoon by BNHS, which found 134 species of plants on the plateau.
In July, 2010 the BNHS conducted a rapid impact assessment of the biodiversity of the region and found the Madban plateau to be rich in plant and animal diversity with very good marine diversity in adjacent sites of Ambolgad and Kasheli.
The BNHS found 1,000 plant species, NEERI couldn't find even 500 species. Indeed if the project proponents are assigned to conduct EIA, the report cannot be objective. Therefore, once again the NEERI report is flawed. The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited, the project proponent, is an undertaking of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE had commissioned NEERI to prepare the EIA report for the Jaitapur plant in 2005).
Earlier, in a letter to the President of India dated September 1, ToxicsWatch Alliance pointed out that "the cost of a single nuclear reactor can be as high as Rs 30,000 crore as in the case of the reactor planned at Jaitapur by AREVA, a French public multinational industrial conglomerate headquartered in Tour Areva near Paris. Consequently, the cost of a reactor can be 20 times the maximum amount of liability. It means that it might be cheaper for the operator to take the risk of paying the maximum liability than to spend, say, 10 per cent extra in adding safety features to the plant."
It has been found that NEERI's EIA report is unscientific. This EIA report was made available only a month prior to the public hearing on May 16. It has been alleged on factual grounds that the EIA report reads as if it was authored by the public relations department of NPCIL or Areva.
It may be noted, "The accident at Chernobyl released into the atmosphere an amount of radioactivity equivalent to 400 bombs of the Hiroshima variety. The nuclear project at Jaitapur is about 10 times the size of the Chernobyl Power Plant. The huge radioactive accumulations at the plant site are the principal causes of concern which must be addressed."
NEERI did not have the competence to assess the project. It entails issues of radioactive radiation. NEERI contends that the project meets Atomic Energy Regulatory Board norms and standards without conducting any independent assessment, relying completely on the AERB. But AERB reports are not part of the EIA.
Unmindful of its admitted incompetence to assess radioactive risk, NEERI certifies the safety of the plant saying, "Through individual event sequence analysis for different initiating events, it is estimated that the plant is provided adequate safety features and measures to mitigate or minimise any unsafe consequences".
The same EIA report reveals the following, "All the above scenarios explained, namely Design Basis Accidents and Beyond Design Basis Accidents are thoroughly studied and detailed reports are generated as Preliminary Safety Analysis Reports and these reports will be submitted to Atomic Energy Regulatory Board for review and approval for construction of nuclear power project at Jaitapur." Clearly implying that the safety approval by the AERB is yet to be obtained and despite this it certified the adequacy of the safety of the plant against "any unsafe consequences".
The threat of a terrorist attack on nuclear plants in India is also considered credible is clear from the specific exclusion in clause 5 (ii) in the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill (2010) which has been passed by the Indian Parliament and awaits the President's assent. It reads: "An operator shall not be liable for any nuclear damage where such damage is caused by a nuclear incident directly due to -- an act of armed conflict, hostility, civil war, insurrection or terrorism".
After the 9/11 terrorist attack in the US, the possibility of terrorist attacks on nuclear power plants is considered quite credible and substantial by US authorities. The DAE has ignored the complete text of a 2009 report presented to the US Congress: on "Nuclear Power Plant Security and Vulnerabilities". Consequently, amendments were made in US law to require nuclear plant design to address this risk but the Indian legislation on nuclear liability does the contrary.
In his testimony to the parliamentary committee, Union Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar categorically had stated, "under different layers of protection, nuclear assets including nuclear installations are being protected through defence." However, he admitted that "absolute and foolproof protection cannot be guaranteed for any nuclear or other assets in the country during peace or war."
Exceptions for acts of terrorism can easily be used by the supplier and the operator to wash their hands off any nuclear disaster. Testimony after testimony before the parliamentary committee had asked for deletion of the word terrorism from the nuclear liability bill but the same is not reflected in the bill which was passed by Parliament.
Misplaced expression of satisfaction by NEERI with NPCIL's claim of safe storage for 100 years is shocking. This constitutes less than one per cent of the lethality lifetime of the spent fuel. There is no explanation as what will happen to the radioactive waste after 100 years. It is a known fact that India does not have a geological repository for nuclear waste and there are no sites in India suitable for building one.
The EIA report is flawed because of the absence of a specific plan for decommissioning as well. No new nuclear plant can be built in Europe or the US without such a plan. The EIA report is untenable.
The cost of electricity generated from JNPP would be in excess of Rs 9 per unit. This does not include the costs of managing radioactive waste and decommissioning. The current cost of electricity is about Rs 4 per unit. It has been noted in the Rajya Sabha that as far as the cost difference between hydro, thermal and all the available options vis-à-vis nuclear electricity is concerned, the cost difference is 1:3.
If the overall objective of wanting to generate 40,000 MW of nuclear power in the next two decades is considered, the cost difference between conventional and nuclear electricity would be more than Rs 300,000 crore. This amount can build 20,000 hundred-bedded modern hospitals all over the country and 2.5 lakhs of Navodaya Vidyalayas with boarding facilities for 100 students all over the country.
The total installed generating capacity in India as on June 30 was 162,367 MW, comprising 64 percent from fossil fuel, 23 percent from hydro, 3 percent from nuclear and balance 10 percent from renewable energy sources. Evidently, share of nuclear power is quite low. It is possible to generate similar power from alternate sources of energy.
In its last report in 2010, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science, Technology, Environment & Forests, had recommended that "the government should consult all such ministries/departments which are even remotely concerned with the provisions of a proposed legislation", the same has not been done. This recommendation has been ignored in the case of Jaitapur nuclear plant as well.
The standing committee referred to how secretaries of ministries of health & family welfare, agriculture, labour & employment, food & public distribution were ignored in the drafting of the Nuclear Liability Bill was a very serious lapse of the Union Cabinet.
It may be noted that secretary, Union ministry of health said, "Since the response system to deal with any kind of emergency of such type, the hospitals are not well-equipped, it is natural that mortality and morbidity due to multiple burn, blasts, radiation injuries and psycho-social impact could be on very high scale and medical tackling of such a large emergency could have enough repercussions in the nearby areas of radioactive fallout."
She also mentioned that in the entire bill, there is not a single clause which speaks about taking healthcare during radiological emergencies. It reflects only about payment of compensation due to health impacts of such radiation. She suggested while setting up nuclear plants, consideration may also be given to the fact that there should be a hospital having trained doctors near such establishments and arrangements should also be made for free treatment of people who are affected by serious nuclear fallout.
She confessed that "her ministry is nowhere to meet an eventuality that may arise out of nuclear and radiological emergencies." Similar testimonies from secretaries of other ministries provide a chilling and prophetic forewarning.
In compliance of the suggestion of chairperson of the parliamentary committee during my testimony on August 3 and pursuant to a written submission dated July 7, TWA had specifically drawn the attention of the committee with regard to the narrow definition of the word 'installation' and conflict of interest ridden existence of the AERB. In a letter to the committee dated August 12, TWA has questioned the merit of centralised power stations given 35-40 percent transmission and distribution loss from power grids.
The secretary, financial services, ministry of finance, submitted before the committee that "any increase in premium of insurance will lead to increase in the cost of production of electricity for nuclear power. It is argued that higher the liability limit higher will be the insurance premium and subsequently higher will be the cost of electricity production."
Keeping these concerns in mind, opposition against the nuclear plants are emerging in a huge way.
Will the sane voice of Madban village be able to compel the might of a determined state to bulldoze its nuclear project at any cost, to rethink? The issue what is supreme AREVA's interest or the interest of villagers. Once again the insincerity and dishonesty of paying lip-service to Mahatma Gandhi's [ Images ] village republic and autocratically refusing to accord a sovereign status to the village at the same time stands exposed.

Uranium Corporation of India Limited in Jharkhand


UCIL’s underground mines in Jadugoda, Bhatin, Turamdhih, Narwapahar, and its open cast mine at Banduhurang extract 1,000 tons per day (TPD) of uranium ore. Two underground mines in the pipeline at Baghjata and Mahuldih will boost that amount. The ore is processed at the Jadugoda and Turamdih mills with a combined capacity of 5,000 TDP.  The company earned $64 million in 2007-08, and made a $3 million profit.

The 20-year lease for UCIL's mines was up in 2007, and a new application is being processed. Under it, the company wants to add 6.37 hectares to tailing dam capacity and expand production, according to UCIL Chairman and Managing Director Ramendra Gupta. This move requires an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Environmental Management Plan (EMP) drawn up by the Central Institute of Mining & Fuel Research (CIMFR), along with a public hearing.

Addressing the affected community at the May public hearing in Jadugoda, the company represented the local plans as “a marginal expansion.” But the UCIL website promises “a quantum leap in UCIL’s activities” that includes plans to "deepen the existing mines, expand its processing facilities,” and “not only opening new mines, but also the development of the community around its operations.”

While the company has created local schools and provides jobs and social services, villagers who attended the hearing argued that these provisions do not compensate for the health effects and destruction of their way of life.

“Why are we being made to pay such a heavy price, for so many decades”? Asks Hira Hansda, speaking of her three miscarriages and birth to five infants that quickly died. Her husband Sonaram worked at the tailing dam as a casual employee between 1984-87, and like many villagers, he links the deterioration in local health conditions to the arrival of the uranium mines. The last three surveys conducted in the area found increased radiation levels.

Heavy Security at UCIL’s Public Hearing Keeps Villagers Out

The public hearing on UCIL's new application took place at the heavily fortified camp of the Central India Security Force (CISF) within the UCIL colony at Jadugoda. Conducted by the Jharkhand State Pollution Control Board, the proceedings were marked by restrictions on personal liberties under sections of a law applying to situations with the potential to cause civil unrest.

Leaving little room for the public or protesters, the hall was packed with hundreds of UCIL workers and other company beneficiaries who held placards reading: “When compared to hunger, pollution is a small issue," and "Save UCIL.”

Those who had lost their lands and health to the mines were physically barred from the tent. Outside the proceedings, protesters shouted: “Do not destroy our land," “No uranium, no uranium waste, no weapons, care for the future." Many indigenous villagers waved the banner of the Jharkhandi Organization Against Radiation (JOAR), winner of the Germany-based Nuclear Free Future Award for its long crusade against the hazards of uranium mining in Jadugoda. The protesters denounced the hearing as "a farce" and demanded that it be immediately stopped.

Villager and JOAR president, Ghanashyam Biruli, issued the demands:  no new uranium mines, bring the existing mine under international safety guidelines, return unused tribal land, provide livelihood and rehabilitation to displaced people, clean up the contamination, commission an independent study of environmental contamination and health effects, and monitor water bodies to ensure that the radionuclides do not seep into the aquifer that is the lifeline of more than 100,000 people. The activists also argued that since the country can buy uranium on the international market, there is no compelling need to expand UCIL's capacity.

The real compelling need, they asserted, was protecting health and the environment. The 2008 health survey by the Indian chapter of International Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) provided clear evidence, finding that:

* Couples living near the mines were "1.58 times more vulnerable to primary sterility" with 9.6 percent of couples in study villages unable to conceive after three years of marriage, compared with 6.27 percent in a reference (control) group.

* Birth defects followed a similar pattern with 1.84 times higher incidence: “[B]abies from mothers, who lived near uranium mining operation area, suffered a significant increase in congenital deformities,” according to the report. While 4.49 percent of mothers living in the study villages reported bearing children with congenital deformities, only 2.49 percent of mothers in reference villages fell under this category." The national rate for people with disabilities (including congenital deformities) is 3 percent, according to official government statistics.

* Deformed babies near the mining operations are almost 6 times more likely to die, with 9.25 percent mothers in the study villages reporting congenital deformities as the cause of death of their children. In the reference village, mothers reported 1.70 percent of babies died of deformities.

* Cancer deaths were also higher: 2.87 percent of households in study villages attributed the cause of death to be cancer, compared to 1.89 percent in the reference village.

These factors contributed to a lowered life expectancy. In the study villages 68.33 percent of the population died before reaching the state's average life expectancy: 62 years old.

UCIL Denies Contamination

Despite such alarming reports, radiation data are not made public because they fall under the purview of the Atomic Energy Act of 1962. UCIL / DAE (Department of Atomic Energy) also cites security concerns for refusing to release data on health of the workers. But Buddha Weeps in Jadugoda, a 1999 award-winning film by Shri Prakash documented that, despite a law mandating regular monitoring, in the last five- to ten-year period few workers underwent blood and urine tests to assess the impact of radiation.

Independent scientists have confirmed the danger. Professor Hiroaki Koide, from the Research Reactor Institute, Kyoto University, Japan, sampled soil and air in the surrounding villages and documented that “The circumference of tailing ponds is impacted with uranium radiation. The strength of the radiation is of 10 to 100 times high in comparison to places without contamination. ...There are places where uranium concentration is high in the road or the riverside, and it is thought that tailings are used for construction material,” including on villagers' houses." Tailings are production waste material that, according to critics are unsafely stored, dumped, and used for landfills, roads and construction.

UCIL Technical Director D Acharya denied that the company was responsible for radiological contamination. “UCIL’s safety and pollution control measures are at par with the international standards, comparable at any point of time,” he said. The company is dealing with naturally occurring materials, he noted, the very low grade ore extracted is a minimal environmental hazard, and the company is not enriching the ore in Jadugoda.

But tacitly acknowledging the risks, UCIL head, Gupta, noted in the 2008 Annual Report that "External gamma radiation, Radon concentration, suspended particulate matters, airborne long lived Alpha activity and concentration of radio nuclides- uranium and Radium in surface and ground water, in soil and food items etc are monitored regularly."

Although he presented no evidence, UCIL Technical Director Acharya said that allegations of health problems are canards spread by anti-uranium lobbies, and that the physical fitness of the employees can be gauged the UCIL football team's success in winning the DAE tournaments for the past five years.

“From time to time we have also conducted structured health surveys and examinations, by independent sources," said Acharya. "One was done by the erstwhile Bihar Assembly, about ten years ago, but the findings are absolutely normal.” (The area was part of Bihar at the time.) "The effects of radiation are being constantly monitored by independent watchdogs, and there are health physics experts who are always with us, for round-the clock-vigil of the situation. Hence, there is really no cause of concern,” he added.

That is not the experience of many villagers, who link serious health problems to the mines. Like many of the women in the surrounding areas, Hansda's pregnancies were a time of terror. “It fills within us fear and apprehensions of the possible ordeal that may be in store. Who knows what would be the fate of the baby,” she said.

INDIA  SOLD  OUT   TO  NUCLEAR POWER GENERATING  MNCs   DIRT  CHEAP                                                                    

Before  enacting the law on “Nuclear  Accident Liability Bill” , Government of India  should consider the following  issues
1.       The term  Nuclear Accident must include the damages caused due to  radiation leak affecting the employees in the nuclear facility  ,  the people living  near the facility  & people affected by the  effluents , scraps  generated by the nuclear facility.
2.       The government of India does not have any right to fix a price tag for the lives of Indians , that too cheaper than US public.
3.       The Nuclear power generating companies must  incorporate safety infrastructure & procedures  as they do in US market , not any obsolete technology.
4.       In  USA & other developing countries , they have very huge , efficient social security network , vast pool of resources  put in by  nuclear power generating companies themselves , to  take care of the affected in case of a nuclear accident . In India we don’t have that type of  social security network nor matching resources , therefore ideally  India must fix a nuclear liability cap much higher than  US market in dollar terms.
5.       Also the company must be made liable  for the complete clean up  of the facility  & surrounding  towns , villages , health care to all the affected victims  on par with US market , in case a nuclear accident happens.
6.       The  Nuclear Equipment Suppliers , Nuclear Plant Operators  together  with their  respective governments like USA , UK must  stand  as guarantors .
7.       The  Life Insurance Companies in India Must pay insured amount  to  nominees of insured  in case of nuclear accidents / radiation affects in addition to compensation by the  nuclear power companies . as of now many life insurance companies are not covering nuclear accidents / radiation affects.

Neither our MPs , Cabinet ministers nor  IAS babus  have the right to decide the fate of common people  & fix a rate for lives of Indians. They are not experts in this field ,  they should not  conclude any deals , decisions in  a hush hush manner .  Many  scams have  come out of hush hush deals . Nobody , no MP , no minister , no IAS  officer has paid from his personal  pocket to the victims  of industrial disasters , etc. After all  MPs , Ministers , IAS babus  are  public servants , they must just represent the voices of people , we  people don’t  want  their  personal expertise & opinions. Our Policy makers  must heed to the public advice of senior  scientists , experts in the field of nuclear power generation .

Ofcourse , as a result  unit price of electricity will get front loaded  , we may not get cheap  electricity . but  the lives of Indians are much valuable than Electricty.  The person who benefits from cheap electricity – Industrialists  does not  pay from his pocket  to the victims of disasters . Development  not at the cost of safety & lives of common people. This must dawn on our ill informed  policy makers at the earliest .




NUCLEAR DISASTER IN MYSORE ? 

Even in developed countries like USA & UK mal - handling of radio
active
materials takes place now & then, which in itself constitute nuclear
disasters
on small scale. Refer the Deccan Herald ( 12/10/03 to 18/10/03) for
details. few
years back, there were media reports about certain containers with
radio active
materials dumped in the open in Mysore city Railway Station. In Kaiga
nuclear
power project a doom collapsed. In India how many cases of
mal-handling of radio
active materials have taken place ? No public knowledge . In the back
drop of
corrupt ,negligent hush-hush, buck passing work culture in most of the
government service, I do want to know from the union Health Minister &
the
Karnataka State Health Minister, how safe are we from the processing &
storage
of radio active materials at M/s REMP, Mysore M/s REMP Kerala, & M/s
UCIL
Jadaguda Jharkhand ? How the spent fuel is disposed off in nuclear
power plants
in India ? few months back there were media reports about ill effects
of
radiation on the employees & peoples of adjacent villages near the
operations
site of M/s Uranium Corporation of India Ltd. Jadaguda Jharkhand &
Near the
Operations site of M/s REMP in Kerala.
In tsunami waves onslaught of december 2004 , the vital facilities of
kundakulam
nuclear reserch station in tamilnadu were damaged . just last week
tremors of
earth quake were felt in kaiga nuclear power plant in kaiga ,
karnataka . if
anything untoward happens as a result of natural calamities or human
failure ,
etc , what sort of contigency plans the government has got ready for
the safety
of public ?
Even some of the insurance companies like M/s Met Life India Insurance
Co. don't
cover the risk of physical / mental disabilities or death caused due
to nuclear
hazards . In such an event who will bear the cost of compensation ?
How the
quantum of compensation is calculated ? will you take into
consideration the
insurance policies brought by individuals ? Give me information about
the safety
measures taken by M/s REMP, M/s UCIL & other related agencies at all
it's
operation sites / nuclear sites.

Uranium Corporation of India Limited: Wasting Away Tribal Lands
by Moushumi Basu, Special to CorpWatch
October 7th, 2009 

“I have had three miscarriages and lost five children within a week of
their births,” says Hira Hansda, a miner’s wife. “Even after 20 years
of marriage we have no children today.” Now in her late forties, she
sits outside her mud hut in Jadugoda Township, site of one of the
oldest uranium mines in India. 
The Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) operates that mine,
part of a cluster of four underground and one open cast mines and two
processing plants, in East Singbhum district in the Eastern Indian
state of Jharkhand. The deepest plunges almost one kilometer into the
earth. 
Incorporated as a public sector enterprise under the Department of
Atomic Energy (DAE) in 1967, UCIL has sole responsibility for mining
and processing all of India's uranium. And since the strength of the
Jadugoda region's uraninite ore is extremely low, it takes many tons
of earth as well as complex metallurgical processes to yield even a
small amount of useable uranium ore—along with tons of radioactive
waste, disposed of in unlined tailing dams. 
UCIL processes the ore into yellowcake and sends it to the Nuclear
Fuel Complex in Hyderabad, where it is officially designated for use
in nuclear reactors. But it is an open secret that some of the nuclear
material becomes the key ingredient in India's nuclear arsenal. (India
is one of only three states—along with Israel and Pakistan—that are
not signatories to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear
Weapons. North Korea withdrew from the Treaty in 2003.) 
Unhealthy Villages 
Radiation and health experts across the world charge that toxic
materials and radioactivity released by the mining and processing
operations are causing widespread infertility, birth defects and
cancers. A 2008 health survey by the Indian chapter of International
Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), found that “primary
sterility was found to be more common in the people residing near
uranium mining operations area.” 
Jadugoda residents Kaderam Tudu and his wife, Munia, considered
themselves fortunate when their infant was born alive, until, “I found
that my baby son did not have his right ear and instead in its place
was a blob of flesh,” says Tudu, a day worker in his late thirties.
Their son, Shyam Tudu, now eight, has a severe hearing impairment. 
Even children who appear healthy are impacted. "The youths from our
villages have become victims of social ostracism," says Parvati
Manjhi, and cannot find spouses. "And a number of our girls have been
abandoned by their husbands, when they failed to give birth,” Now
middle-aged, Parvati and her husband, Dhuwa Manjhi, who used to work
for UCIL, are childless. 
Harrowing tales fill the region around the mines, and add irony to the
area's name, Jharkhand, which in the local tribal language means
“forest endowed with nature’s bounties.” If the lush land was the
indigenous population's boon for centuries, its rich mineral reserves
have become their bane. Six decades of industrialization has depleted
the forest cover, degraded the environment, displaced tribal peoples—
who along with Dalit ("untouchables") form an oppressed underclass—and
devastated a way of life deeply interwoven with nature. 
Despite India's economic boom and proximity to one of the country's
richest mineral reserves, the villages in Jharkhand are now among the
poorest in the country, according to the Center For Science &
Environment’s (New Delhi) 2008 report “Rich Lands Poor People.” 

Uranium Corporation of India Limited in Jharkhand 

UCIL’s underground mines in Jadugoda, Bhatin, Turamdhih, Narwapahar,
and its open cast mine at Banduhurang extract 1,000 tons per day (TPD)
of uranium ore. Two underground mines in the pipeline at Baghjata and
Mahuldih will boost that amount. The ore is processed at the Jadugoda
and Turamdih mills with a combined capacity of 5,000 TDP.  The company
earned $64 million in 2007-08, and made a $3 million profit. 
The 20-year lease for UCIL's mines was up in 2007, and a new
application is being processed. Under it, the company wants to add
6.37 hectares to tailing dam capacity and expand production, according
to UCIL Chairman and Managing Director Ramendra Gupta. This move
requires an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Environmental
Management Plan (EMP) drawn up by the Central Institute of Mining &
Fuel Research (CIMFR), along with a public hearing. 
Addressing the affected community at the May public hearing in
Jadugoda, the company represented the local plans as “a marginal
expansion.” But the UCIL website promises “a quantum leap in UCIL’s
activities” that includes plans to "deepen the existing mines, expand
its processing facilities,” and “not only opening new mines, but also
the development of the community around its operations.” 
While the company has created local schools and provides jobs and
social services, villagers who attended the hearing argued that these
provisions do not compensate for the health effects and destruction of
their way of life. 
“Why are we being made to pay such a heavy price, for so many
decades”? Asks Hira Hansda, speaking of her three miscarriages and
birth to five infants that quickly died. Her husband Sonaram worked at
the tailing dam as a casual employee between 1984-87, and like many
villagers, he links the deterioration in local health conditions to
the arrival of the uranium mines. The last three surveys conducted in
the area found increased radiation levels. 
Heavy Security at UCIL’s Public Hearing Keeps Villagers Out 
The public hearing on UCIL's new application took place at the heavily
fortified camp of the Central India Security Force (CISF) within the
UCIL colony at Jadugoda. Conducted by the Jharkhand State Pollution
Control Board, the proceedings were marked by restrictions on personal
liberties under sections of a law applying to situations with the
potential to cause civil unrest. 
Leaving little room for the public or protesters, the hall was packed
with hundreds of UCIL workers and other company beneficiaries who held
placards reading: “When compared to hunger, pollution is a small
issue," and "Save UCIL.” 
Those who had lost their lands and health to the mines were physically
barred from the tent. Outside the proceedings, protesters shouted: “Do
not destroy our land," “No uranium, no uranium waste, no weapons, care
for the future." Many indigenous villagers waved the banner of the
Jharkhandi Organization Against Radiation (JOAR), winner of the
Germany-based Nuclear Free Future Award for its long crusade against
the hazards of uranium mining in Jadugoda. The protesters denounced
the hearing as "a farce" and demanded that it be immediately stopped. 
Villager and JOAR president, Ghanashyam Biruli, issued the demands:
no new uranium mines, bring the existing mine under international
safety guidelines, return unused tribal land, provide livelihood and
rehabilitation to displaced people, clean up the contamination,
commission an independent study of environmental contamination and
health effects, and monitor water bodies to ensure that the
radionuclides do not seep into the aquifer that is the lifeline of
more than 100,000 people. The activists also argued that since the
country can buy uranium on the international market, there is no
compelling need to expand UCIL's capacity. 
The real compelling need, they asserted, was protecting health and the
environment. The 2008 health survey by the Indian chapter of
International Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW)
provided clear evidence, finding that: 
* Couples living near the mines were "1.58 times more vulnerable to
primary sterility" with 9.6 percent of couples in study villages
unable to conceive after three years of marriage, compared with 6.27
percent in a reference (control) group. 
* Birth defects followed a similar pattern with 1.84 times higher
incidence: “[B]abies from mothers, who lived near uranium mining
operation area, suffered a significant increase in congenital
deformities,” according to the report. While 4.49 percent of mothers
living in the study villages reported bearing children with congenital
deformities, only 2.49 percent of mothers in reference villages fell
under this category." The national rate for people with disabilities
(including congenital deformities) is 3 percent, according to official
government statistics. 
* Deformed babies near the mining operations are almost 6 times more
likely to die, with 9.25 percent mothers in the study villages
reporting congenital deformities as the cause of death of their
children. In the reference village, mothers reported 1.70 percent of
babies died of deformities. 
* Cancer deaths were also higher: 2.87 percent of households in study
villages attributed the cause of death to be cancer, compared to 1.89
percent in the reference village. 
These factors contributed to a lowered life expectancy. In the study
villages 68.33 percent of the population died before reaching the
state's average life expectancy: 62 years old. 
UCIL Denies Contamination 
Despite such alarming reports, radiation data are not made public
because they fall under the purview of the Atomic Energy Act of 1962.
UCIL / DAE (Department of Atomic Energy) also cites security concerns
for refusing to release data on health of the workers. But Buddha
Weeps in Jadugoda, a 1999 award-winning film by Shri Prakash
documented that, despite a law mandating regular monitoring, in the
last five- to ten-year period few workers underwent blood and urine
tests to assess the impact of radiation. 
Independent scientists have confirmed the danger. Professor Hiroaki
Koide, from the Research Reactor Institute, Kyoto University, Japan,
sampled soil and air in the surrounding villages and documented that
“The circumference of tailing ponds is impacted with uranium
radiation. The strength of the radiation is of 10 to 100 times high in
comparison to places without contamination. ...There are places where
uranium concentration is high in the road or the riverside, and it is
thought that tailings are used for construction material,” including
on villagers' houses." Tailings are production waste material that,
according to critics are unsafely stored, dumped, and used for
landfills, roads and construction. 
UCIL Technical Director D Acharya denied that the company was
responsible for radiological contamination. “UCIL’s safety and
pollution control measures are at par with the international
standards, comparable at any point of time,” he said. The company is
dealing with naturally occurring materials, he noted, the very low
grade ore extracted is a minimal environmental hazard, and the company
is not enriching the ore in Jadugoda. 
But tacitly acknowledging the risks, UCIL head, Gupta, noted in the
2008 Annual Report that "External gamma radiation, Radon
concentration, suspended particulate matters, airborne long lived
Alpha activity and concentration of radio nuclides- uranium and Radium
in surface and ground water, in soil and food items etc are monitored
regularly." 
Although he presented no evidence, UCIL Technical Director Acharya
said that allegations of health problems are canards spread by anti-
uranium lobbies, and that the physical fitness of the employees can be
gauged the UCIL football team's success in winning the DAE tournaments
for the past five years. 
“From time to time we have also conducted structured health surveys
and examinations, by independent sources," said Acharya. "One was done
by the erstwhile Bihar Assembly, about ten years ago, but the findings
are absolutely normal.” (The area was part of Bihar at the time.) "The
effects of radiation are being constantly monitored by independent
watchdogs, and there are health physics experts who are always with
us, for round-the clock-vigil of the situation. Hence, there is really
no cause of concern,” he added. 
That is not the experience of many villagers, who link serious health
problems to the mines. Like many of the women in the surrounding
areas, Hansda's pregnancies were a time of terror. “It fills within us
fear and apprehensions of the possible ordeal that may be in store.
Who knows what would be the fate of the baby,” she said. 

The Tragedy Of Fukushima Is A Tragedy For All Mankind
By Peter Chamberlin
13 March, 2011
Countercurrents.org
The Tragedy of Fukushima is not yet fully known, at least not in terms of the long-term effects of the radiation released today and tomorrow, perhaps for mankind’s entire “half-lifetime.” We don’t know (meaning our best scientists don’t know) what will grow out of the hole which has been blasted in our collective consciences today. Our knowledge of atomic science, just like our understanding of all earth science, is in its infancy, yet we have chosen to build nuclear reactors in geologically risky locations. Beyond the risky siting problems, lie the earth forces of wind and water, which we only now beginning to see.
Our best minds could figure-out how to take the nuclear fire out of the oven and bring it into our neighborhoods, but they could not guarantee a fail-safe way to go about this—yet, they enthusiastically urged our leaders to dot the countryside with these nuclear pipe-bombs, euphemistically dubbed “reactors.” A “REACTOR” is an abomination, classified as “science.” Here is an untechnical description of a reactor operation:
Inside a closed metal and concrete container, a piece of uranium is ignited, like a piece of coal that is partially smothered, enough to prevent the glowing coal from bursting into open flames. The glowing uranium rod is prevented from open ignition by smothering in special high-temperature coolant. The heat released by this partially burning rod of uranium evaporates water into steam, which flows through pipes like a modern equivalent of a steam engine. The nuclear-powered steam engine turns an electrical generator, which sends electricity flowing through the wires.
If the uranium rod is allowed to burn too hot, it creates more heat than the coolant can transfer and the REACTOR begins to melt, before the fuel rods melt.
If the water system shuts-down for an extended time, the steam being created can’t flow, the pressure builds until the REACTOR explodes, leaving the burning fuel rods fully exposed. The rods melt, burning through the floor of the REACTOR.
If all goes well, none of this ever happens, but like all things made by the hands of man, every mechanical system eventually breaks-down. Our best minds knew all these risks before the first reactor was ever built, yet they recommended that reactors should be built in every country on the face of the earth. Our scientists didn’t care to consider that the day might come when the earth would bite back.
The tragedy of Fukushima is a tragedy for all mankind. We do not yet see it, but this event will be remembered as a turning point in the development of humanity. From this point forward, if nothing else, Fukushima will give pause to every politician, or technocrat in the future who holds up the torch of “nuclear power” as the great hope for our energy-starved planet. But the greater ramifications of the environmental impact from this event will echo down through the corridors of human time, in both subtle and more obvious ways. The first concrete way that this will impact future lives will be in the horrible mutations suffered by those exposed to burning-type of radiation, near the site of the explosion. Children of the workers and neighbors of this plant, and their children, will suffer much higher rates of extreme deformation of their future fetuses, produced after this event.
The more subtle widespread genetic damage is produced by the release of enormous amounts of highly-radioactive dust into the atmosphere, as it is carried around the planet, is something which we can only guess at from our perspective. Today, we cannot foresee the end of this tragic catastrophic event. The only thing we know for certain, is that it is all ending very badly.
Our scientists all thought that something like this would never happen, or so they said. The truth is, they played the odds and lost, or rather the Japanese people lost. Nuclear power has always been a cosmic roll of the dice, with the fate of every living being on planet earth riding on the outcome of the roll. Our great leaders fully understood that bad things might happen, yet they confidantly invested your tax dollars, in order to gamble your lives that one day the radioactive wolf would not come knocking at your door. Well the wolf is outside and he is starting to howl.
Scientists are so caught-up in their own self-worship that they convince themselves that they know what is best for all of us, especially if it means profit or power for them. The self-proclaimed “geniuses” who have unleashed the nuclear genie for our advancement, have made decisions for us which God Himself, chose to leave alone. Human evolution comes about when the species reaches a dead-end, requiring the species to grow (evolve) in some way, in order to go forward. Human technology follows the same pattern of growth–forward momentum reaches a point of impasse, until the impeding wall is breached, allowing forward momentum to resume.
Nuclear power has always been thought-of in these terms–the technology which was built upon the discovery of the thermonuclear reaction, thinking that “nuclear power” was a great leap forward….IT WAS NOT. As I have explained in my steam engine analogy, nuclear power is pseudo-science. It is the adapting of Nineteenth Century technology over the discovery of the thermonuclear reaction and calling it a “REACTOR,” claiming that it was a great leap forward for all mankind, alleviating us from our addictions to coal and oil-fired electricity. We have our need for electricity–vs–unlimited energy from enriched uranium. We have not bridged the gap between them with so-called “nuclear power” (really steam power).
When we have fully understood nuclear science we will have naturally progressed to the knowledge of converting atomic energy into electricity. Until then, we are just burning-up a very limited resource, while endangering all of our lives. In our effort to understand the true science involved in the thermonuclear reaction we will come to understand the real science of nuclear fusion. Until we learn to harness the astronomical amounts of energy being released in the fusion reaction, we will just be spinning our tires, stuck in the same old mud, with our heads still firmly in our asses.
It may be, that when we finally really understand exactly what we have gotten our hands on, we will figure-out that somehow, our evolution as an intelligent species has required a radioactive environment, in order to cause specific species’ mutations that we have not even dreamed of. Who knows? Maybe God had this on His mind all along. Since He is the hidden hand behind our evolution, He must have had reasons for allowing man to open the nuclear nutshell. The discovery of atomic energy was a natural outcome of our primitive scientific quest, just as the discovery of converting fusion energy into electrical energy must be the next step in our quest to improve the species.
Perhaps He who sees all things before they happen put “nuclear power” before us to become the great wall to human progress which together we muct breach. Perhaps we will see this phase in our technological development for what it is, a failed experiment, so that we may absorb the lessons learned from the tragedy at Fukushima and go on. This is my great hope.
It is time to leave nuclear power behind.


 
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