Saturday, February 4, 2012


Prof.T.Shivaji Rao,
Director, Center for Environmental Studies,
GITAM University,  Visakhapatnam.

Nuclear Plants are just silent killers of man and Nature created by the GOD. In nature the Uranium ore contains 99.3% of Uranium-238 and the remaining 0.7% is Uranium-235.  Uranium-238 and Uranium-235  in nature are least harmful.  But business people and other vested interests dig the iron ore and  convert  the least harmful Uranium-235  into the fuel form of Uranium-235  by purifying it to make a fuel by enriching it to about 4% of Uranium-235 that is packed in pellets and inserted into the core of the nuclear reactor for producing both electricity and material for making the bombs.   The reactor  when the nuclear atom is given a blow  by a neutron, enormous heat and other poisonous Radio-active atoms like Xenon, Barium, Cesium, Strontium, Plutonium and other dangerous radioactive substances are produced.  These radioactive substances are discharged into the air and water by several ways and  when they enter into the environment consisting of air, water and soil and foods like vegetables, fishes, prawns they ultimately get into human beings and produce cancers and birth defects in generations of people for many decades to come.  These poisonous radioactive substances  destroy natural and human life and culture and convert lands upto hundreds of kilometers into permanent nuclear burial grounds for ever.
How harmless Uranium ore materials in nature are converted into destructive and killer materials by man can be understood by the following simple example. For instance king cobras live in nature in anthills in forests and lead their normal life peacefully by catching their prey for food during nights But greedy people go and poke their iron rods into their abodes and disturb the Cobras when they become angry and bite the trespassers to inflict death over them by their poisons.   Similarly, the selfish people are mining the harmless Uranium and converting it into harmful  Enriched Uranium and then using it to produce electricity by means of the Nuclear plants and in the process they are producing Radioactive pollutants that poison man and nature slowly due to routine releases of radioactivity into the environment.  In course of time if an accident occurs in the Nuclear plant due to several reasons like in Fukushima or Chernobyl, the poisonous pollutants are thrown into the atmosphere and they kill thousands of people slowly and inflict cancer to millions of people living downstream upto hundreds of Kilometers as in case of Fukushima and Chernobyl accidents. The Nuclear plant operators are misleading the public by stating that Nuclear power is safe and cheap just like the medical representatives of various pharmaceutical companies praise before the doctors about the virtues of their medical tablets and tonics as part of their sale promotion activity the nuclear authorities are praising the nuclear plants as safe and cheap energy producers which is wrong.  This misinformation is dangerous to public health and welfare because in European states almost all people agree that safety of Nuclear (power is a Myth as accepted by Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany. She had consulted the genuine experts on nuclear plants and realized that nuclear safety is a myth and ordered for gradual closure of all the nuclear plants in Germany.  If Indian Prime Minister and Union Cabinet Ministers including the Chief Ministers of the state want to know the truth about the safety of the nuclear power plants they must go and visit advanced countries like Germany and Japan  and discuss the issue with foreign experts  so that they can refrain from promoting nuclear plants as is done by the peoples leader like Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister of West Bengal.   For more scientific details see the above web sites on this topic prepared by independent experts.

Environmental Impact Analysis report are fabricated by consultants according to the national Green Tribunal and also according to the Chief Justice of India, S.H.Kapadia  who said “If you leave report preparation to the project proponent, I am sorry to say the person who pays will get the answers he asks for” and hence he called for a change in the system of preparation of EIA reports for the development projects.  See website:
According to the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhiji, there are 7 social evils as enunciated by him:[Web site:
 Out of these social evils, the one on Science without Humanity seems to be more applicable in the present case of  nuclear plant authorities who are unscientifically justifying nuclear power proliferation Dr.Abdul Kalam who visited Nuclear Plant at Kudankulam where he asserted that there was no need for any panic as the reactor had sophisticated safety features and hence there is no need for panic since it is only a boon to the future generation.  He emphasized “I am a scientist, I am technologist, I support nuclear energy along with solar and wind power as it is a clean and green energy which is very much required for the country’s rapid growth now”.
The authorities  further stated that the reactors located at 13.5 m height would not be effected even by a Tsunami nor would an earthquake threaten them, as Kudankulam is not within any seismic zone.  The scientists have taken into account all these natural calamities before designing and fabricating the plant.  While 99% of the spent fuel would be processed for reuse in the reactors, the remaining one percent would be converted and protected within a thickly walled underground concrete containment and no waste from the reactor will be dumped in the sea.   The two 1,000 MWe VVER rectors are being constructed at Kudankulam with Russian assistance at an outlay of Rs.13,171 crores. The above statements made by Dr.Abdul Kalam clearly show that as a scientist and technologist , he is certifying the safety angle along with the non-environmental scientists and engineers of the nuclear power agencies. 
But according to the fundamental safety principles of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) there are 10 safety principles formulated by the experts on the basis of which safety requirements are developed and safety measures implemented to ensure comprehensive safety of the plant and the environment for ensuring sustainable development for public health and national prosperity.
1) First principle is Responsibility for safety must rest with the plant management responsible for facilities and activities that give rise to radiation risks.
2]Second principle pertains to role of the Governments that promotes an effective legal Governmental framework for safety including an independent regulatory  body to be established and sustained.
3]Third principle pertains to establishing and sustaining of an effective leadership and management for safety in the Organisational authorities dealing with the plant and its activities that are responsible for radiation risks.
4] Fourth principle deals with justification of facilities and activities that give rise to radiation risks and they must be planned to yield an overall benefit.
5] Fifth principle deals with environmental protection such that the protection must be optimized to provide the highest level of safety that can be achieved by  the right methods of planning in preference to wrong methods of planning the siting of the reactors for national prosperity.
 6] Sixth principle deals with limitation of risks to individual persons and the people living in the zone of influence of the reactors by taking measures for controlling radiation risks so that no person bears an unacceptable risk of harm even under accidents due to natural or man-made hazards
7] Seventh principle deals with protection of present and future generations of people and their environment against radiation risks by proper selection of sites for the reactors based upon the environmental  carrying capacity of the region.
8]Eighth principle deals with prevention of accidents by taking all practical steps to prevent and mitigate nuclear or radiation accidents by proper design of the plant including redundancy and engineered safety features.
9] Ninth principle deals with Emergency preparedness and response system for nuclear or radiation incidents by taking practical measures in case of routine incidents and by preparing emergency preparedness and response plans in case of radiation risks to the public during an emergency and these emergency plans have to be implemented through periodical exercises on the basis of informed consent of the people living upto specified zones extending to about 80 km as specified under the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission standards.
10]Tenth principle deals with protective actions to reduce existing or unregulated radiation risks and the actions must be justified and optimized including remediation measures due to uncontrolled release of radio nuclides into the air, water, soil and environment for restoring the damaged eco-systems.
Among the vast majority of common people, there is no proper understanding about what is meant by Nuclear plant safety and what constitutes adequate safety of a hazardous nuclear plant.  It is apparent that nuclear plant safety is not merely a pure technical matter and it is not simply calculating risk and comparing the results with a numerical  target.  First of all, who are the persons who should have  a say in deciding on nuclear plant safety? Obviously, it is the nuclear plant management, the designer, the regulator, the public enquiry inspector, the responsible Ministers, concerned Members of the Parliament and the state legislatures and the public.  Of course, the legal responsibility for the safety mainly rests with the  plant operating organization while all the other parties are part of a chain of accountability and are expected to make a decision on the safety of the plant based upon its imp[acts on the present and future generations of the people and their environment.  While the plant operators view safety as mainly concerned with technical matters, modern thinkers recognize that any technical basis for the management of risks must be supported by a broader social view of how safety should be provided by recognizing that the opinions of the public should underlie the evaluation of the risks which will impact the people and their environment.  It is essential to consider three basic public safety goals.
1)       THE FIRST GOAL OF PUBLIC SAFETY deals with  the suitable legal frame work that governs the rules and regulations for preventing, controlling and managing the hazards due to the establishment and operation of nuclear plants which is basically the ALARP (as low as reasonably possible) requirement of radiation emissions into the environment.
2)      THE SECOND GOAL OF PUBLIC SAFETY pertains to plant management set up which deals with formulation of technical safety goals to satisfy the technical people but which as a philosophical basis can be explained and justified to the public.  It consists of the plant operators and the nuclear regulatory authorities with a regulated dialogue between them for continuous safety assessment which needs to be open and comprehensible so that the experts can recognize that the public will gain confidence in the plant management and the public get a feeling that all possible means are employed to secure their safety.
3)      THE THIRD GOAL OF PUBLIC SAFETY deals with the safety net which includes an efficient emergency plan that will come into action in the event of a nuclear plant accident.  The public generally believe that what can happen will happen one day or the other and hence they must be prepared to face the consequences of an accident and consequently the plant management must prepare the relevant risk analysis, disaster scenario and Emergency Preparedness plans and present them before the public for obtaining their responses for taking necessary remedial actions and for obtaining their consent for the successful operation of the plant in the long run.  The technical safety goals involve probabilistic safety Assessment[PSA] with information about the nuclear incidents, minor accidents and maximum credible accidents and their impacts on public health, public injuries and potential deaths in case of an explosion for man-made and natural disasters including sabotage, terrorist attacks as had happened in September, 2011 at the world Trade Center In USA, the bomb attacks by the British over the dams in Germany and natural disaster like earthquakes, tornadoes, tsunamis and extreme floods.

The nuclear plant authorities and Dr.Abdul Kalam have not taken into consideration all the different principles of nuclear safety and all the relevant goals of public safety pertaining to the Kudankulam nuclear plant. In fact the crucial reports pertaining to Environmental Impact Analysis including the risk analysis, disaster scenario due to nuclear accidents and the Emergency preparedness plans have not been prepared as per national laws and guidelines followed at International level for ensuring safety of the plant, the public and their environment.  In fact the cost-benefit analysis of the plant including the economic implications of the Civil liability Act,2010 and the Price-Anderson Act of USA for nuclear plant accidents have been perhaps ignored .  Consequently the approach of the nuclear plant authorities and  Dr.Abdul Kalam in assessing the environmental and economic impacts of the plant are highly under estimated due to misinformation furnished to him by the  Kudankulam nuclear plant authorities.  No attempt has been made on the feasibility of implementation of disaster management plans as envisaged by the National laws and International guidelines.
The Nuclear Plant promoters know that they cannot believe in the safety of their own Nuclear plants in both United states and India. In USA ,the Nuclear  plant owners pay only two percent of the costs of damage to the victims of a nuclear reactor accident and the rest of the compensation is paid by the subsidies provided by the Price-Anderson Act and the US Government which means the  tax payers money. Similarly, the Indian Government is planning to pay the victims of Nuclear accident from the taxes paid by the common man. Thus safety of Nuclear plants is not accepted by the  Nuclear plant operators or the suppliers from foreign countries and the poor man in India is going to be heavily taxed for the sake of the nuclear industry and this is highly unjust to subsidize the industry that is a slow killer  of mankind and Nature. It is beyond comprehension how the nuclear plant authorities and even a highly educated person like Dr.Kalam chose to ignore these realities about hazards of Nuclear power and how can any patrriot promote a risky industry to the detriment of the life and culture of  Indian population?
Under the circumstances the declared views of the nuclear plant authorities  and assertion of Dr.Kalam on safety, economy and feasibility and public acceptability of the nuclear plant at Kudankulam from the Gandhian perspective seems to be that of a scientist without humanity and consequently becomes one of the seven social evils.  Since the impact of such a tunnel-visioned one sided scientific view without a human face about the advantages and disadvantages of the nuclear plant from the perspective Gandhian ideology  falls under the category of one of the seven social evils and thereby the nuclear plant authorities and Dr.Abdul Kalam can be considered to have unknowingly committed a social crime because such a non-comprehensive view supporting a major silent killer industry constitutes a major environmentally unethical act and a social crime against mankind and nature.  Such misdeeds by people in power to the detriment of mankind and nature makes the experts fall into the category of irresponsible citizens of India under Article 51 A(g) of the Indian Constitution.  If these scientists considered themselves as experts they must first of all verify their credentials as experts under Sections 45 and 51 of the Indian Evidence Act so that they can present their expert views before the concerned people whose genuine doubts about the safety of the reactors and their damaging impacts on public and the environment promote the right to life of the people and the right to health and the right to livelihood as guaranteed by constitution of India.  First of all public hearings must be held to explain the salient features of the plant and also inform the people that as per International Standards as followed in USA the emergency preparedness plans prepared for a maximum credible accident are adequate enough to evacuate the people upto 80km distance around the plant for being shifted within the stipulated time of 1 or 2 days to safer places far away from the plant.  The authorities must also justify their plans for emergency preparedness by conducting mock drills of evacuation and convince the public that their schemes are quite feasible and can be implemented without any problem.  In the United States the Indian point nuclear plant was stopped from getting a license to operate the plant because it is failed in proving that the emergency response system devised by them is implementable under field conditions.  

VIENNA Declaration by European States on Nuclear plants, May 25, 2011, Vienna
Ministers and Heads of Delegations of Austria, Greece, Ireland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta and Portugal, responding to the challenges posed by another severe nuclear accident, met in Vienna today, in order to enhance co-operation and contribute further to the discussions as regards environment, combating climate change as well as developing safe and sustainable energy systems without necessarily relying on nuclear power.
Ministers and Heads of Delegations reiterated their utmost sympathy for the plight of the Japanese people as well as their solidarity. They underlined their readiness to learn jointly from this event.
The disastrous earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011, and the subsequent events in the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant which has now been classified as a level 7 accident on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES), once more demonstrated that the risks of nuclear power outweigh any potential benefit.
The principal issues discussed at the meeting were environmental aspects of nuclear power, climate change policies, the potential for phasing out nuclear power, nuclear safety, nuclear security and safeguards; the expectations regarding the stress tests for nuclear power plants; the need for more and better information to be provided to countries neighbouring nuclear states; issues of transparency and participation regarding nuclear plans and projects; but in particular alternatives to nuclear power and the need to ensure the development and provision of safe and sustainable energy supplies and services.
In their discussions, Ministers and Head of Delegations
1)      Emphasised their view that nuclear power is not compatible with the concept of sustainable development and underlined their conviction that nuclear power does not provide a viable option to combat climate change.
2)       Reiterated that the very significant safety, security, environmental and proliferation risks associated with the nuclear power option remain, and need to be further addressed by the international community, including co-operation between nuclear and non-nuclear states in assessing the risks, exchanging information on their management, and enhancing preparedness for responding to nuclear emergencies.
3)       Stressed the need to fully draw the lessons from the events in Japan, and that such lessons are promptly acted upon, in particular for the European energy policy, to ensure that the highest standards for nuclear safety are implemented - including the closure of installations which cannot be upgraded within a reasonable time frame and that renewable energy and energy conservation play a major role.
4)      Welcomed that comprehensive and transparent risk and safety assessments (stress tests) will be performed within the European Union, and supported the EU´s invitation to its neighbouring states and worldwide to do likewise.
5)       Appreciated that external and internal initiating events, even if extremely unlikely, as well as a combination of these are considered and that the potential interaction of several installations at the same site is duly taken into account.

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Born in 1932 at Mudinepalli, near Gudivada, Krishna Dist. Andhra Pradesh, received Bachelors degree in Civil Engg., from Viswesaraiah Engineering College, Banglore (1956) and Masters Degree in Environmental Engineering from Rice university, Houston, Texas, (USA) (1962), Ph.D (Hony). Former Head of the Department of Civil Engineering and principal of College of Engineering, Andhra university.Formerly Hony.Professor in Andhra University,Manonmanian Sundarnar University,JNT University. Fellow of the Institution of Engineers,India Recipient of the University Grants Commissions National Award "Swami Pranavananda Award on Ecology and Environmental Sciences" for the year 1991. Recipient of Sivananda Eminent Citizen Award for 2002 by Sanathana Dharma Charitable Trust, Andhra Pradesh state. Presently Working as Director, centre for Environmental Studies, GITAM University,