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A Radioactive Tsunami?

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  • sacw
    A Radioactive Tsunami? Many Serious Questions, One Devious Answer S. P. Udayakumar January 14-20, 2005 drspudayakumar@yahoo.com Ever since the tsunami killer
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 21, 2005
      A Radioactive Tsunami?
      Many Serious Questions, One Devious Answer

      S. P. Udayakumar
      January 14-20, 2005
      drspudayakumar@...

      Ever since the tsunami killer waves pounded the coast of Tamil Nadu
      on December 26, 2004, the nuclear-literate in India have been very
      much worried about the radioactive repercussions in the Madras Atomic
      Power Station (MAPS) at Kalpakkam, near Chennai. The "Ordinary
      Citizens" of India have many questions, concerns, anxieties, worries
      and fears but the "Advanced/Atomic Citizens" of India keep repeating
      the same answer. The conversation may go like this:

      [1] OC: What happened when the tsunami waves hit the Atomic Energy
      Township of Madras Atomic Power Station (MAPS) at Kalpakkam, near
      Chennai?

      AC: Nothing happened. [In fact, some 65 to 80 people got killed, more
      than thousand houses and apartments damaged in varying degrees, many
      walls and buildings collapsed leaving a trail of debris all over the
      campus, the heavy protection walls on the seashore simply disappeared
      without a trace, Sadras East area was in shambles, tons of sea sand
      dumped on the roads, and many trees wilted.]

      [2] OC: What happened when the same ferocious waves pounded the MAPS
      nuclear reactor site a few kilometers down the same line?

      AC: Nothing happened.

      [3] OC: Were the nuclear waste storage plant and the reprocessing
      plant affected?

      AC: Nothing happened.

      [4] OC: I hear that the Kalpakkam Nuclear Power Station Casual
      Contract Laborers Federation leader is claiming that some 200 to 300
      contract-laborers are missing after the tsunami?

      AC: Nothing happened.

      [5] OC: The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel who
      were supposed to safeguard the MAPS workers and secure the
      installations themselves lost a few people in their barracks. Do you
      think they functioned effectively in the wake of the disaster?

      AC: Nothing happened.

      [6] OC: When the waves hit MAPS and the township, you momentarily
      lost all contact with the government officials and the rest of the
      world as the telephone exchange was flooded. Some workers with mobile
      connections of private phone companies alone could call outside; is
      that right?

      AC: Nothing happened.

      [7] OC: On December 26, 2004, did MAPS look like a desolate place
      with no power, no phones, no water, no security arrangement, and no
      hindrance whatsoever for outsiders to enter any part of the plant?

      AC: Nothing happened.

      [8] OC: Were the foundation pits for the Prototype Fast Breeder
      Reactors (PFBR) inundated by the tsunami waters?

      AC: Nothing happened.

      [9] OC: Hundreds of construction workers are said to have been saved
      by a crane operator who had seen the rising seas and you had no
      mechanism whatsoever to alert your own workers or to safeguard them,
      right?

      AC: Nothing happened.

      [10] OC: What would happen if a future tsunami suddenly inundates the
      PFBR plants that will have liquid sodium as coolant?

      AC Nothing will happen.

      [11] OC: Besides some three thousand regular employees, you still
      employ more than thousand "glow slaves" (intentionally irradiated
      unwilling nuclear laborers) to keep the "undocumented radiation
      release" under cover, right?

      AC: Nothing happened.

      [12] OC: Why are your own workers approaching the Chennai High Court
      complaining that there is a serious lack of qualified technical
      personnel at critical positions of the MAPS reactors and alleging
      that such a trend compromises the safety of the plant and the workers
      and the general public?

      AC: Nothing happened.

      [13] OC: Why did the Prime Minister of India ask the Department of
      Atomic Energy (DAE) chief Mr. Anil Kakodkar to stay put at Kalpakkam
      after the tsunami?

      AC: Nothing happened.

      [14] OC: Mr. Kakodkar spent so much time at the reactor sites but
      never visited the Township even to console his own workers and their
      families. Why this anti-people attitude?

      AC: Nothing happened.

      [15] OC: Why are people of Kalpakkam area still hush-hushing about a
      possible radiation leak?

      AC: Nothing happened.

      [16] OC: Why can't you let a group of independent experts inspect the
      MAPS plants with radiation detection equipment?

      AC: Nothing happened.

      [17] OC: Why don't you and the Government of India want the UN
      Secretary General visit Tamil Nadu? Is it because he and other aid
      agencies would catch the air of Kalpakkam developments?

      AC: Nothing happened.

      [18] OC: There are reports that some 15,000 families were removed
      from Kalpakkam on December 27, 2004 as a precautionary measure and
      the Indian Army was deployed to "protect" the plants from outside
      intrusions. Are they true?

      AC: Nothing happened.

      [19] OC: Why can't you have a modicum of TAP (transparency,
      accountability and people's participation) in your functioning and
      allay the legitimate fears of the Indian public in the wake of the
      tsunami disaster?

      AC: Nothing happened.

      [20] OC: How should we feel about the long-term threats of
      radioactive leaks?

      AC: Nothing happened.

      [21] OC: Why can't we have an open and credible investigation of the
      precise extent of the consequences of the tsunami disaster?

      AC: Nothing happened.

      For all these and other serious questions, there has been only one
      devious answer from the DAE. The nuclear department and the
      government of India simply do not want to acknowledge the dangers of
      the deadly combination of tsunamis and nuclear power stations. Of
      course, there have been rainouts (as in Albany-Troy in the United
      States on April 26, 1953), overflow of water storage facility (that
      released 50,000 gallons of radioactive waste water into the
      Mississippi river in Monticello, Minnesota on November 19, 1971) and
      even complete submerge of a nuclear reactor (as in the Kursk tragedy
      in August 2000 in Barents Sea). According to Greenpeace, there are
      ten nuclear reactors and over fifty nuclear warheads on the floors of
      the world's oceans. But this is the first time tsunami waves have hit
      an existing nuclear power plant (at Kalpakkam) and an under-
      construction plant (at Koodankulam) in Tamil Nadu, India.

      Although the Government of India took the possibility of a
      radioactive tsunami seriously by deputing the Department of Atomic
      Energy (DAE) Chief to Kalpakkam, the haughty high-priests of the
      Indian nukedom were tight-lipped about possible radiation leak from
      the tsunami attack on the Kalpakkam plant. The incorrigible DAE took
      a few gullible journalists around the plant but was never willing to
      let an independent group of experts to inspect the installations. In
      fact, the so-called largest democracy on the Earth has barred the UN
      Secretary General and major international aid organizations from
      visiting Tamil Nadu.

      At the upcoming Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant near the southern tip
      of India, the tsunami's impact was less severe as in the other
      coastal villages of Tirunelveli district. However, workers were
      evacuated out of the plant site on December 30, 2004 and people in
      the area were keenly watching the developments as there were series
      of aftershocks (and some of them were quite massive) off of the
      Andaman islands and Indonesia on December 31, 2004 and even on the
      New Year's Day.

      Quite remarkably, no Indian politician has uttered a single word
      about the deadly combination of tsunami and radioactivity. The
      pompous Tamil politicians who speak in insincere hyperbolic language
      about the welfare of the Tamil race and their own willingness to
      sacrifice their lives for us have said little about all this. In
      fact, some of them have written free verses about the faults of the
      sea and the faults of the Earth for the tsunami disaster. They have
      no integrity to acknowledge their own negligence of duty in failing
      to create a safety culture in the country by promoting human worth
      and dignity and putting in place some early warning mechanisms.

      Most of the religious leaders are preoccupied with their heavenly
      escapades and divine transactions and can care little about the
      ionizing radiation of atoms. The mass media in India also tread
      carefully when it comes to the nuclear department. Some of them make
      scintillating stories out of non-existent and nonsensical issues but
      sing the glory of the DAE vying for the lucrative advertisement
      monies from the nukedom. When the Movement Against Nuclear Weapons
      (MANW) conducted a press meet at Chennai on January 10, 2005 on the
      Kalpakkam and Koodankulam developments, most of the Indian press
      chose to follow the release of an imprisoned brahmin priest.

      Some Private Volunteer Organizations do take interest in this tsunami
      and radioactivity issue but they cannot do much as they rely on
      government grants and patronage. The Indian government is thinking of
      enforcing the Coastal Protection Zone and preventing any construction
      within 500 meters from the sea. If fisher people cannot be within 500
      meters from the sea, how can a nuclear power plant be built within
      the CPZ limits. The Kalpakkam reprocessing plant is said to be only
      150 meters away from the sea. Maybe, the Indian nukedom, which has
      not had any experience of decommissioning nuclear power plants, is
      thinking of "at-sea decommissioning" of Kalpakkam and other plants as
      the nuclear industry all over the world simply scuttles naval nuclear
      reactors.

      If the government moves all the fishing villages beyond 500 meters
      from the sea, they must make sure that government agencies such as
      the Indian Rare Earths Limited and private operators should not be
      allowed to mine the sea sand for rare minerals such as monosite,
      thorium, certium, garnet, rutile, ilmenite, sillimanite, zircon etc.
      These sand barons do away with the sand dunes and the tree cover and
      have contributed to the decimation of coastal villages and
      destruction of so many lives. The government should also make sure
      that no hotels and resorts are built within the CPZ limit.

      As far as the Koodankulam plant is concerned, no Environmental Impact
      Assessment (EIA) report, or the site evaluation study report or the
      safety analysis report has been shared with the local public and the
      larger nation. Even after the tsunami attack on our coast, the DAE
      officials do not feel the need to allay the environmental concerns
      and the safety fears of the local people. All this arrogance betrays
      the anti-democratic nature and anti-people tendencies of the DAE. As
      the battered Tamil nation is huddled together fearing for their
      safety and well-being, the Koodankulam authorities are celebrating
      the arrival of the reactor pressure vessel from Russia.

      When all is said and done, Kalpakkam and Koodankulam continue to be
      in the news. A Tamil daily Dinakaran (January 20, 2005) has just
      reported a widespread fear of radiation leak at the Kalpakkam nuclear
      power plant and that foreign experts are coming on January 24 to fix
      the problem. But Kalpakkam authorities have claimed that there has
      been no radiation leak. A Sun TV news report on January 20 has
      pointed out that the sea in Kalpakkam area has been unusually rough
      and has advised people not to go near the sea. But hasn't it been the
      issue of the sea coming to get the people, possibly with radioactive
      reactors and their leftovers.

      _________________________________

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