Wednesday, June 27, 2012



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

[ view cloud seeding process explanation through  2Video presentations] and also the following web sites for reading materials on sciencwe of cloud seeding for people's sake]

(Text Book with figures)  
(Text Book without figures)


Why BMC is taking so long for cloud seeding experiment ?/it is already confirmed that it has rained properly. Are the Shiv Sena and BJP leaders want to delay this experiment deliberatelly since by september the cloud density will be less and they can earn more money in the experiment which will not create  the result. BMC should have done this work in July when cloud cover was adequate also . BJP and Shiv Sena will earn lots of money through tanker mafia. it is corruption which is going on for a long time in Maharastra .it is done by Pawar familly as well-----AMIT[Mumbai]


Prof.T.Shivaji Rao, Director, Centre for Environmental Studies, Gitam University
And Expert Member Cloud Seeding Project of Government of Andhra Pradesh

The key role played by a good water supply as an engine of economic growth and as a yard stick of public welfare and national prosperity has been well recognized by the intellectuals of the developed countries like USA who aptly named water as the “Blue Gold”. The more the water wealth of a nation the higher will be the opportunities for  achieving high rates of progress in the fields of agriculture production and industrial growth that help in promoting economic wealth, employment opportunities and higher standards of living. Hence the advanced countries are constantly upgrading their water resources by harnessing not only all the ground and surface waters but also by tapping a renewable, virtually unlimited and unexploited sky water resource in the atmosphere in the form of innumerable clouds. Enlightened scientists, bureaucrats, industrialists and statesmen in about 50 countries are frequently using cloud seeding operations for over 40 years for various purposes like
1. Increase of annual rainfall for drinking and agricultural purposes,
2. dispersal of fog in airports and metropolitan city roads
3. Increase of hydro-power generation at the cheapest cost
4. Suppression of hail storms to reduce damage to life, crops and properties
5. mitigation of devastating impacts of recurring droughts
6. mitigation of damaging impacts of global warming and summer temperatures
7. increase of annual rain fall for improving the forests, wildlife and the environment
Several progressive countries like USA, Australia, China, Thailand, European states, former states of USSR, Latin American states, Arab states, Indonesia and Pakistan are gettinghighly benefited by employing the advanced cloud seeding technologies for the above purposes.. Several Indian states interested in promoting economic growth, agriculture development and public welfare are eager to learn from the successful experiences of other countries like China and USA and adopt those technologies by making necessary modifications to suit the local meteorological, topographical, geographical and other environmental conditions.
Cloud seeding is done to make some clouds to grow and give rain, and some clouds which give only about 10% to 20% of their water content as rainfall to increase the rainfall by seeding by 30 to 50% at a cost benefit ratio of 1:20 by using aeroplanes and 1:60 by using ground generators. Due to the heat from the Sun the water in the rivers, lakes and Oceans becomes water vapour.  As this hot moist water vapour in the air rises into  the sky the  temperature gets reduced at 7oC per km height in the sky, the water vapour condenses over smoke and dust particles to form cloud droplets of 20 microns in diameter [micron is a millionth of a meter]  A million cloud droplets must join together to form a raindrop of 1mm size to fall over the earth as rainfall or snowfall
Rain Formation:  If a warm cloud does not contain sufficient number of giant size water drops or hygroscopic particles  the cloud cannot give 10% to 20% of its moisture as rainfall. In cold clouds whose tops attain freezing level in the sky, insufficient number of ice-nuclei prevents the clouds from giving  more than 20% of the water content as in the form of rainfall or snowfall.
How Cloud Seeding Helps?: If warm clouds have to give more rain we have to inject into them chemicals like hygroscopic common salt or Calcium powder into such clouds We have to inject  Silver Iodide particles into cold clouds which extend into the freezing zone for about  15km into the sky.  So the  injection of seeding  chemicals into the clouds causes them to produce additional rainfall upto 25 %
Why Cloud Seeding Is Unavoidable?:  In Modern Times Urbanization, industrialization and deforestation are increasing the environmental pollution and global warming which are preventing the clouds from giving the normal rainfall and consequently drinking water supply and agriculture production, hydro power generation and employment opportunities are adversely effected.  Hence cloud seeding must be undertaken to supply more water to correct the above man made problems.
What is scientific secret for warm clouds to produce about 25%  additional rainfall?:
When hygroscopic chemicals like common salt are sprinkled into the warm clouds the water molecules with their negative oxygen ends interact with the positive sodium ions and the positive ends of hydrogen surround the negative chloride ions.  Consequently the water molecules pull out sodium ions and chloride ions one by one from the salt crystal and in the process Giant Condensation Nuclei (GCN) of over 40 microns are formed.  These Giant nuclei help to transform lakhs of smaller cloud drops into big rain drops of about 1 mm in size.  Due to the chemical reaction heat is liberated within the cloud and consequently more moist air is sucked into the cloud that grows in its size and thereby rainfall is also increased.   Depending upon the geographical, topographical and meteorological conditions the additional rain varies from 10% to 25% in a given area.  Some warm clouds of about 1km height do not give rain and due to insufficient number of giant size nuclei (GCN) some larger clouds give only10% to 20% of their water content as rain while the remaining water content dissipates as moisture into the atmosphere Hence we  have to inject optimum number of chemical nuclei to extract more water than what the clouds give in their natural course. See the following figure.
(animation for dissolution of salt in water - warm cloud seeding)

What is scientific secret for Cold clouds to produce by about 30% additional rainfall?:
At temperatures below freezing, the saturation vapour pressure of ice is less than that over a droplet of water. Water evaporates from droplet and deposits on ice.The water droplet droplet dissipates while ice crystal grows into a snowflake. .  Due to the chemical reaction heat is liberated within the cloud and consequently more moist air is sucked into the cloud that grows in its size and thereby rainfall is also increased.    Depending upon the geographical, topographical and meteorological conditions the additional rain varies from 15 to 30%.  Due to insufficient number of ice nuclei some cold clouds do not give rain and some larger clouds give only10% to 20% of their water content as rain while the remaining water content dissipates as moisture into the atmosphere. Hence we have to inject optimum number of ice nuclei or their equivalent nuclei in the form of silver iodide to extract more water than what the clouds give in their natural course.  
Does cloud seeding promote the stealing of one region’s water by people of another region?
According to one expert ,the amount of moisture that falls "naturally" as rain at any point in the world is a very, very small fraction of the total amount of water (actually water vapor) that is moving over that point at any time. So if you cause more rain to fall from a thunderstorm through weather modification than what would fall normally, the additional amount of water vapor it removes would be insignificant and hard to detect. The churning in the atmosphere that occurs as the winds push it along would quickly replenish the water vapor that was removed. Thus there would be little or no discernable difference in available water vapor downwind from where the precipitation fell out. Also, you need to realize that the extra rain caused by cloud seeding is not removed from the system but rather moves back into the atmosphere through evaporation or transpiration from plants, and is then available to help produce more clouds down wind. This is part of the hydrological cycle, which is what drives most of the weather on this planet. If you would like to learn more, try out the following web sites at:,
China Is World Leader In Cloud Seeding:  In China 37,000 technicians are employed to produce additional annual rainfall of  about 60 billion cubic meters or about 1800  TMC (Thousand Million Cubic ft) which is equivalent to the annual river flow in Krishna River in South India. The cost benefit ratio is estimated at 1:29.
Cloud seeding is done in more than 40 countries like United States, Japan, China, Thailand, South Africa, Canada, Australia, Pakistan, Indonesia, Latin America, Arabian States, Russia etc.,    during the last 50 years. India must take up cloud seeding to fight the recurring droughts and also to resolve the interstate water disputes in the Cauvery, Krishna and other rivers and also to fight the damaging impacts of global warming.  Although several doubts have been raised by scientists in USA and other countries Chinese Meteorologists have researched  and established that cloud seeding is not only highly scientific but is also a proven technology, if done on scientific lines.
Presently cloud seeding operations are proposed to be conducted by the state Governments of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and other states due to the prevailing large scale water scarcity.  The hydro-power generation in Karnataka can be increased by augmenting water availability by squeezing the sky water by cloud seeding.  The annual flows in all the rivers like Cauvery, Krishna , Penna and their tributaries can be increased by about 20% so that the additional rainfall can be used to resolve the inter –state river water disputes in South India.
Precipitation in India : The summer monsoon from the South West starts from the equatorial belt and crosses over India in two distinct currents known as the Arabian sea branch and theBay of Bengal branch. According to National Commission of Agriculture, during the 4 rainy monsoon months of June to September the Arabian branch carries moisture amounting to about 770 Mham (7700 BCM) and the Bay of Bengal branch, about 340 Mham (3400 BCM). Of the monsoon moisture content about 25% to 30% precipitates in the form of rainfall. There is a substantial amount of moisture over the country during the remaining 8 months, contributing a precipitation of about 100 Mham (1000 BCM) a small part being snowfall. About 3000 rain gages are set up for recording the rainfall by the Indian Meteorological Department and the state Governments. The national annual average rainfall of about 120 cm provide annual precipitation of about 390 to 400 Mham (4000 BCM) including snowfall which is not yet fully recorded.

Thursday, June 21, 2012


Prof.T.Shivaji Rao,
Director, Center for Environmental studies,
In the light of major nuclear reactor explosions at Three Mile Island (TMI) in USA (1979),  Chernobyl in Russia (1986) and Fukushima in Japan (2011) intelligent people question why we had ever started nuclear power plants in the first instance? Why did people fail to realize how dangerous the nuclear power was?  Why we failed to think about health risks to people living in the neighbourhood of nuclear plants? Why people failed to estimate the most damaging consequences of generating so much nuclear waste?  Even today most people refuse to think on these life and death issues due to perhaps ignorance, apathy and lack of social responsibility. 
But during second world war the defeat of the enemy countries like the Nazi Germany and aggressive Japan was a major issue for the Western countries like USA which dropped killer Atom bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki to make Japan surrender.  Subsequently a cold war developed between Russia and America and the US wanted to produce nuclear weapons to show its superior military strength to the world and for this purpose nuclear plants for civil purposes like electricity production began to be built with the ulterior motive of producing enriched Uranium and plutonium as byproducts to be used for making nuclear weapons.  People were not informed about the health risks due to living around a nuclear plant.  Risk was treated as a technical issue and was left in the hands of the engineering experts.  Under the Atomic Energy Act, the Atomic Energy Commission in USA was directed to promote nuclear power and in the process safety of nuclear power had to be ensured on public demand. If more money were to be spent for nuclear plant development the experts had to cut the costs and compromise with nuclear, vice versa if safety has to be promoted it will slow down nuclear plant development activities. Thus a contradiction developed between nuclear development and nuclear safety and the later was given a very low priority.
In the beginning, the safety of nuclear plants was ensured by the simple law of locating the reactors far away from human habitations.  In 1950 a thumb rule was used to link the power of the reactor with an exclusion zone where people could not live and in case of a reactor explosion people in the off-site area were not expected to be exposed to a fatal dose of radioactivity.  For small research reactors  the exclusion zone was one or 2 miles in  radius and for larger plants that supply electricity to the cities the exclusion zone would be 10 times higher.  But the cost of land acquisition proved to be very high.  In order to overcome this problem the designers came up with the idea of putting the reactor inside a large steel shell, a containment building that would keep the radioactive pollutants from escaping to outside environment in case of an accident. 
As nuclear reactors began to increase in 1960’s questions were raised on the safety of the reactors if the pressure vessel were to burst.  The designers who knew the capabilities of normal steel became uncomfortable that the neutron bombardment of the pressure vessel can make the conventional steel brittle and liable to break, although under conditions it would normally be quite strong.  Atomic Energy Commission  assumed that during a loss of coolant accident even if the coolant stopped and the reactor core melted, yet the containment building would stop the radioactive gases from escaping into the atmosphere.  But in 1966 it was realized that in a 1000MW reactor, the fuel gets so hot after a loss of coolant accident that it might bum (pass) through the concrete and flow into the earth in a China syndrome.  Such an accident would breach the containment and release poisonous radioactivity into environment by somehow generating enough gas pressure to blow a hole in the containment.  Consequently to ensure that the core would not melt  the engineers designed more and more sophisticated systems and added new backup systems to the existing back up systems without knowing whether they work in the real field as planned in their imaginary world. 
The forces generated in a reactor by a loss of coolant accident and sudden heating and then a flood of cold water from the emergency core cooling system would be violent and unpredictable.  Nobody knows as to what happens to the fuel rods when they were heated and cooled so brutally and a great deal of testing and research studies must be made to find out the real facts.  One of the nuclear experts argued that nobody can ensure absolute safety in case of a nuclear accident and nobody can say that no radiation would escape into the environment to threaten the public health.  During an emergency if a core cooling system fails there is a chance that the containment could be breached and radioactive materials get into the atmosphere.  The experts began to admit that a severe accident was possible but its probability will be so small that reactors will be regarded as safe  are to put it other words the reactor safety became “probabilistic” and not “deterministic”. 
Subsequently the probabilistic risk assessment came into being.  It evaluated risk by taking into account both the probability of a certain accident occurring and the consequences of that accident.  If an accident occurs once in a million years of reactor operation and kills a thousand people, it is equivalent to an accident that occurs once in a 1000 years with only one death expected and this was accepted by the engineers who would establish a numerical target for reactor safety and by expecting one death by radiation accident for every 1000 years of reactor operation.  The engineers set out to reach that goal.  Moreover to pronounce a reactor as a safe one engineers need not guarantee that certain accidents could never happen but only to ensure that they were unlikely.  This approach admits that major accidents were indeed possible and such an accident might be occur one in a million shot and an attempt was made to calculate the likelihood of a major nuclear accident by Prof.Rasmussen in 1974 (a nuclear engineering professor at MIT).  By visualizing various ways in which an accident can occur he considered loss of coolant accident.  His report showed a core melt down once in every million years of reactor operation and major accident once in a billion years of reactor operation.  It means that a person is likely to die from a nuclear accident as from being hit a meteor.
But TMI accident occurred in a reactor melt down in 1979. Such accident was expected to occur once in every 17000 reactor years and not once in every million reactor years as propagated by the US Atomic energy Commission.  But the occurrence of TMI accident shocked the nuclear experts.    Before TMI accident in 1979 most of the safety efforts made by nuclear authorities aimed at improving the equipment.  By making sure that everything is designed, built and maintained properly and automatically it was thought that safety is bound to follow.  But a piece of malfunctioning equipment played a key role in the TMI reactor accident in 1979 and the Kemeny enquiry report on this accident concluded that the problems with additions to equipment were only a small part of it.  More worrisome was the performance of the operators who were running the reactors.  They had been poorly trained and poorly prepared for an emergency of the type that caused the TMI accident.  Not only did they not take the corrective steps to solve the problem but their actions made it worse.
Kemeny commission felt that the errors committed by the nuclear operators are only a part of a more general feeling of the nuclear plant and its management due to several reasons and emphasized that a reactor operation demands different kinds of management and organization capacities than those needed for operating an electricity producing coal based thermal plant.  Such plants run at full power until some component breaks and then after re-fixing the broken part the plant is started again and there is no serious concern about nuclear safety, preventive maintenance and preventive actions for safety.  Such plants are simple and do not endanger life systems even when they breakdown.  Many industries develop these attitudes to run nuclear plants and hence such attitudes did not work.  The operation of a nuclear  plant requires an entirely different institutional culture than that adopted for a thermal plant.  On examining the TMI nuclear accident experts realized that major accidents like nuclear explosions can be caused by little things.  But the thinking on nuclear safety was focused to respond to major failures such as a large pipe breakage.  By interlinking the chain of events that caused TMI accident one can prove that many minor mistakes during operation can cause a major disaster.
Animation model of  Nuclear plant for better understanding of  its working.see website

For more reliability either 2 or 4 steam generators and the required main coolant pumps are used.  Hot water at 2200 psia or 150 bars is pumped into the pressure vessel containing the reactor core for cooling the very hot fuel elements in the core water is distributed by a nozzle system to the core.  Reactor coolant pumps transport the hot coolant to steam generators where steam is produced and fed to the turbine.  The coolant from turbine is fed to a condenser and then it is fed by feed water pumps again to steam generators and the condenser waste water is return to the coolant pond, river or ocean or to the cooling towers which work as heat sinks.
The beginning of the TMI accident started at 4AM when the pumps that transport water to the steam generators failed due to human errors and equipment malfunctions as seen from the pictures of a pressurized water reactors.  There are two water supply loops, one carrying hot water to the reactor and then to the steam generator and then returned to the reactor.  The second loop sends water into steam generator where it is converted into steam and it drives through turbine and in the process the steam gets converted into water which is pumped back to the steam generator after heating and this secondary loop that stopped functioning due to pumps shutdown.  As the secondary loop has failed the primary reactor cooling system also failed to transport the heat to the steam generator and the primary loop began to get over heated and expanded and thereby pressure increased in the reactor and immediately the control rods dropped into the reactor core to absorb neutrons and it killed the chain reaction simultaneously the automatic valve opened and relieved the pressure in the reactor vessel as anticipated.  But unfortunately after releasing enough pressure the relief valve should have closed again but it did not and this malfunction was reflected by an indicator in control room and a signal was sent to close the valve.  Unfortunately for unknown reasons the valve did not close and the control room operators could not know that crucial fact. 
After 2 hours firstly the steam and subsequently a mixture of water and steam escaped through the open valve and this caused the pressure to drop in the primary cooling system after a few minutes of pressure drop it triggered the startup of high pressure injunction pumps that sprayed water into the system.  Since the operators misunderstood the happenings of the reactor they closed one pump and cut back on the other to the point where it could not make up for the water that was getting lost as steam through the open relief valve.  The operators thought that they were doing what they have been trained to do and they never could understand that they were making matters much worse by creating opportunity for promoting the disaster.  Consequently the coolant in the primary reactor system boomed into a very turbulent mixture of water and steam.
 After one and half hours the operators decided to close the pumps that circulated coolant through the reactor to the steam generators and back.  Once again the operators failed for a second time to understand the happenings inside the reactors and they believed that they merely implemented the standard procedures, and they never understood that the cutting of the reactor pumps has only added fuel to the fire because the removal of this last bit of cooling action in the core became the cause of the disaster. Soon after 50% of the core was uncovered and consequently the core temperature shot up, melting some of the fuel and thereby releasing highly radioactive poisonous pollutants and radioactive gases escaped from the containment building into the atmosphere but fortunately it did not cause much damage.  After two-and-half hours of the accident the operators found that the pressure relief valve had never shut down and they closed it off.  After another 12 hours the operators succeeded in re-establishing cooling to the reactor core and started to bring the reactor system back to normal temperatures.  Inspite of the restoration of the reactor still the accident resulted in the evacuation of more than 2 lakh people within a radius of 32km from the reactor and it caused huge financial losses to the government and the people suffered heavily.  
The TMI accident shows that the chain of events that occurred during the accident were such that no expert performing a probabilistic risk assessment could have imagined much ahead of the time of  the accident.  The chain of events makes it easy for anybody to try to blame the reactor operators.  Unfortunately they certainly overlooked the open pressure relief valve, and they closed down the water cooling injection pumps and so plenty of blame can be attributed to the operators.  But the designers also failed to incorporate any warning system in the control room to show whether pressure relief valve had closed.  It is known only that an indicator helped to send a signal  to close down pressure relief valve.  Surprisingly the American Nuclear Regulatory Commission already knew that in a similar accident earlier at another reactor a relief valve had got stuck open and created a problem.  But this information was not sent to other nuclear plants to warn them that the valve might create a similar problem sometime or the other.  The management operated the nuclear reactors without correcting such little problems and hence such work culture created a sloppiness that contribute to this accident.  Even earlier  there was a steady leak of reactor coolant from a faulty valve and during the accident the operators who noted abnormal readings that indicated the non-closure of the pressure valve was considered by them to have been  caused by the leak instead of a faulty open pressure valve.  Such small faults often lead to a big disaster in a nuclear reactor.
COMPLEXITY OF REACTOR SYSTEM AS A MAJOR CULPRIT FOR REACTOR EXPLOSIONS:    But more than these innumerable small faults in a reactor operation the  major accident occurred due to the abnormal culprit which is the complexity of the system.  The complexity of the system provides an opportunity where innumerable minor faults could interact to produce a major nuclear disaster and it makes it next to impossibility for the operators to comprehend what is really going on in a reactor until it is too late.  According to political scientist Aaron Wildavsky that because of complexity and the interactions in a nuclear plant the mere addition of engineered safety devices like defence in depth and other procedures will at some point of time actually decrease the safety in a nuclear power plant.  The TMI accident is an example of how this phenomena works.  For instance the control room of TMI plant had 600 alarm lights, each one considered by itself is promoting safety as it indicated when something is going wrong.  But the total effect in a serious accident resulted in total confusion as many alarm’s  went off and the mind could not easily grasp what was happening. 
Charles Perrow another expert argues that such complex and tightly interconnected technologies involved in nuclear  reactors are by their very nature highly unsafe.  Since so many components will be interacting with each other, there are many different ways through which an accident can happen and that accidents are an inevitable characteristic of the technology and such accidents are called “normal reactor accidents”.  Moreover such complex technologies cannot be made safe by constantly adding extra safety systems because that would increase only complexity and creates more ways by which something could go wrong.  The requirements for successful control of some complex technologies are accompanied by inherent contradictions.  What happens in one section of a nuclear plant can drastically influence the events in other sections and some sort of central control is necessary to ensure that actions in one section do not cause unanticipated and hazardous consequences in another section.  Such control can be implemented by central management that approves all actions.  Otherwise such control can be exercised in the form of a rigid set of rules and regulations governing all actions throughout the plant.  But since the technology is so complex and unpredictable, the operators of the reactor need the necessary freedom to respond quickly and imaginatively to special circumstances as and when they arise.  Hence both rigid central authority and local discretion are highly desirable and unfortunately it is impossible to have both.  Hence a nuclear reactor is always vulnerable to one type of accident or another, either one caused by failure to adopt quickly to an unanticipated problem or else one that is created by not coordinating all the relevant actions throughout the plant. 
Perrow argues that many technologies including nuclear power experience the same inherently contradictory demands like chemical plants, genetic engineering, aircraft and nuclear weapons.  For such complex technologies the accidents should be considered not as anomalies but as a normal part of the process.  However the frequency of accidents can be reduced by improved design, better training of personnel and efficient maintenance but they will be always with us.  Society must weigh the cost of these normal accidents against the benefits of the technology.  For chemical plants like the sugar mills the cost of accidents are small and are borne by the companies while the cost of shutting down would be high as there is nothing to replace them.  But in the case of nuclear accidents the costs of damage would be bearable and also there are several other ways of generating electricity not only by nuclear plants but also by alternate  plants based on fossil fuels and renewable energy sources like solar, wind and bio-energy and geo-thermal plants. 
In modern times nobody believes any longer that it is possible to engineer for complete safety of a  nuclear reactor, to determine  the maximum credible accident and then assure that nuclear reactor does not threaten anyone.  The best that can be done in the nuclear field is to attempt to make the disastrous accidents very unlikely. Moreover the complexity of nuclear technology  can amplify the risk to the people and the environment.  Further the more complex technology the more ways something can go wrong.  In a tightly coupled system of the nuclear reactor the number of ways that something can go wrong increases exponentially with the number of components in the system.  Such complexity also makes nuclear reactor system more vulnerable to errors both man-made and natural.  Even  a small mistake may trigger the system behave in many unpredictable ways making it difficult for the reactor operators to understand what is happening and to restore the system to normalcy and it is likely that the operators will make further mistakes that may result in a disaster.
According to some experts the fuel gets yellow-hot at its core, attaining a temperature of 4100oF (2250oC) while the metal casing around the fuel is kept at 650oF (350oC) by the cooling water.  If due to an accident the coolant water gets interrupted for just a few seconds the fuel temperature rises rapidly and the zirconium casing begins to break at 1800oF (1000oC) and melts at 3350oF (1850oC) The actual danger comes when the hot fuel begins to lump together in a molten mass that can explode the containment or seep into the ground, a process known as “Chinese-Syndrome”, and release massive quantities of radioactivity into the air, water and soil environment.
If the main pipe in the primary cooling breaks, immediately the control rods eliminate the nuclear fission process, halting the activity.  But the radioactivity in the already disintegrating fission products cannot be arrested.  In a 650MW plant, the heat formation by the radioactive disintegration process amounts to roughly 200MW three seconds after the reactor is switched off, 100 MW after one minute, 30MW after one hour and 12MW after 24 hours.

(Diminishing heat and sequence of  failures due to loss of coolant after the reactor is stopped.)
Heat formation
650 MW
Reactor stopped by control rods
3 Seconds
200 MW
Heat formation
15 Seconds
Fuel casing begans to fail
30 Seconds
Boiling layer of emergency coolant
45 Seconds
Reactor core melts
60 Seconds
Reactor core collapses
1 hour
30 MW
24 hours
12 MW
Diminishing heat
The above table shows that if the operators cannot stop reactor core  melt conditions within 45 seconds. A nuclear explosion is bound to occur. Can we find such strict work culture among Indian Nuclear plant operators?  Hence nuclear safety is purely a myth because accidents are bound occur and ruin public health.

When  an electron passes through a biological cell the electron releases its energy along its path (called a track) by interacting with the electrons of nearby molecules.  The energy thus released is absorbed by atoms near the track causing excitation ( a push in the orbit of an electron to a higher energy level) or ionization (release of an electron from the atom) and the residue unstable atoms are known as radicals and are chemically highly active.  X-ray and gamma rays unlike Beta particles release high speed electrons from atoms first.  Positively charged particles transfer energy to molecules in the cells electrically uncharged neutrons impact of the nuclei of hydrogen atoms namely protons.  Since the masses of the proton and neutron are similar the impact results in an elastic scattering process  as occurs in Billiards game.  The ejected protons work like charged protons.  Ionizations due to   radiation act directly on cell molecules or indirectly on water molecules causing water derived radicals which react with nearby molecules causing breakage of chemical bonds or addition of oxygen atoms by oxidation of the affected molecules.  The major effect in biological cells is at DNA breaks either in single strand or double strands and the later is important biologically.  Single strand breaks can be repaired normally because of the double stranded nature of the DNA(the two strands complement each other so that an intact strand serves as a template for repair of its damaged opposite strand) In case of double strand breaks  the repair is  more difficult and the erroneous rejoining of broken ends may occur and such misrepairs  cause mutations, chromosome abrasions or cell death.
Radiations  differ not only by their components like electrons, protons and neutrons but also by their energy.  Radiations by neutrons and alpha particles cause dense ionization along their track and are called High Linear Energy Transfer ,High LET  radiation that is energy released per unit length of the track.  Low LET radiations by X-Rays and Gamma rays produce ionizations sparsely along their track and homogeneously within the cell.  High LET radiations release energy in a small region of the cell and the localized DNA damage caused by High LET radiations is more difficult to repair than the diffuse DNA damage caused by the sparse ionizations from Low LET radiations.  The same radiation dosage produce the same total number of ionizations with the difference that Low LET radiation causes sparse ionizations whose damaging effects can be normally repaired while the High LET radiation causes dense ionization along their track causing double strand breaks which are more difficult for repair and hence are bound to cause cell deaths or mutations resulting in cancer and other forms of illness. 
Weighting factors WR (formerly termed Q factor)
used to calculate equivalent dose
wR (also Q)
< 10 keV
10 keV - 100 keV
100 keV - 2 MeV
2 MeV - 20 MeV
> 20 MeV
protons, charged pions
> 2 MeV

General Characteristics

  1. Particulate vs. Electromagnetic Radiations: Particulate Radiations are sub-atomic particles with mass (e.g., alpha and Beta particles, electrons, neutrons). EM Radiations (X-rays and gamma rays) have no mass and no charge.

    High vs. Low Energy Radiation: Absorption of radiation is the process of transferring the energy of the radiation to the atoms of the media through which it is passing. Higher energy radiation of the same type will penetrate further. Usually expressed in KeV or MeV (103 or 106 electron Volts). 1 eV = 1.6 x 10-19 Joules = 1.6 x 10-12 ergs

    High vs. Low Linear Energy Transfer (LET) to absorbing material: LET is measured by the ionization density (e.g., ion pairs/cm of tissue) along the path of the radiation. Higher LET causes greater biological impact and is assigned a higher Quality Factor(QF). Example QF values: X, gamma, and beta have QF = 1; alpha QF=20; thermal neutrons QF=3; "fast" neutrons (>10 KeV) QF = 10; fission fragments QF>20.

  2. Characteristics of Common Radiations

    Alpha Particles (or Alpha Radiation): Helium nucleus (2 neutrons and 2 protons); +2 charge; heavy (4 AMU).  Typical Energy = 4-8 MeV; Limited range (<10cm in air; 60µm in tissue); High LET (QF=20) causing heavy damage (4K-9K ion pairs/µm in tissue). Easily shielded (e.g., paper, skin) so an internal radiation hazard. Eventually lose too much energy to ionize; become He.

    Beta Particles:High speed electron ejected from nucleus; -1 charge, light 0.00055 AMU; Typical Energy = several KeV to 5 MeV; Range approx. 12'/MeV in air, a few mm in tissue; Low LET (QF=1) causing light damage (6-8 ion pairs/µm in tissue). Primarily an internal hazard, but high beta can be an external hazard to skin. In addition, the high speed electrons may lose energy in the form of X-rays when they quickly decelerate upon striking a heavy material. This is called Bremsstralung (or Breaking) Radiation. Aluminum and other light (<14) materials and organo-plastics are used for shielding.

    Note: Beta particles with an opposite (+) charge are called positrons. These quickly are annihilated by combination with an electron, resulting in gamma radiation (see Pair Production below).

    Neutrons: Neutron ejected from a nucleus; 1 AMU; 0 Charge; Free neutrons are unstable and decay by Beta emission (electron and proton separate) with T½ of approx. 13 min. Range and LET are dependant on "speed": Slow (<10 KeV), "Thermal" neutrons, QF=3, and Fast (>10 KeV), QF=10.
Cells will be damaged by ionizing radiation directly or indirectly depending on the types of atoms affected in the cells. A direct effect of ionization breaks the atoms of DNA molecules or critical components of cells that regulate cell function. The cells either die or mutate because of direct damage to the DNA or other critical components. An indirect effect of ionization damages cells by causing structural changes within the cells. [Damaging impacts of ionisation, see  links also]
Water molecules in cells get decomposed into hydrogen (H) and  (OH) ions due to ionization. These fragments or "free radicals" generally recombine as water or theyform compounds such as hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). Water does not harm a cell; however hydrogen peroxide is toxic and could lead to the destruction of a cell. The indirect effect predominates over the direct effect because a DNA molecule is a very small part of human cells whereas water constitutes 65-90% of human cells.
Our bodies have organs, and the organs are made of tissues and the tissues are made of cells and the  cells are made of molecules, and finally molecules are composed of atoms. All biological damage from radiation commences at the lowest level with damage to atoms which are in the cells and progresses to the highest level with damage to the whole body.

When India became  independent Mahatma Gandhi addressed a public meeting on the occasion.  He said “by making Pandit.Jawahar Lal Nehru as the Prime Minister of India I call him an uncrowned King of India.  Like anyone of us he is a humanbeing and all of you know that to err is human.  In course of his work to uplift the nation he will plan and execute  several developmental projects during the course of administration he may commit some errors who will correct such errors.  His Minister or his administrative officers will not dare to point out his mistakes and rectify them and then who will take the responsibility to put the nations destiny on the right track”.  Since none of them people presented the meeting opened their mouths he told them point blank “ it is you, the people of this great social welfare state in the democracy who have to correct even the mistakes of a Prime Minister.  If you do not come forward to rectify such defects you are unfit as responsible citizen of the great social welfare state.  Similarly Prime Minister Mrs.Indira Gandhi also wanted all the responsible citizens to protect public interest and for the purpose amended article 51A and introduced sub clause “g”  by which she proclaimed that it is the first duty o the responsible citizen to protect the water, the air, the forests, the wild life and to develop compassion for all living creatures. “That is why it has been always said that eternal vigilance is a price that the Indian people have to pay to sustain their democracy.  Thus it is the people of India who have to fight against the anti peoples actions perpetrated by the Government at the state and Central levels to safeguard the health and welfare of the present and future generations of the people in India. Coming to the case of Kudankulam nuclear reactors the people must play an active role to stop them as they are just silent killers.
In case of Kudankulam reactors it is better that the local people and school children must collect funds by begging in Tamilnadu villages and towns and present the money to the Chief Minister and Prime Minister for abandoning the present reactors on the plea that in case these reactors experience explosions on the pattern of Fukushima rectors, the people have to pay a heavy penalty of Rs.4 lakh crores which will make the state and the country fall into the trap of economic bankruptcy.  Infact in one of the villages of Cuddapah the school children who found that their family members addicted to liquor are not only dying but also ruining their families because the state Government  has considered liquor business as their main economic source of survival.  The children wanted to pay that amount realized through liquor sales to the state Government to ban liquor sales so that the families will save their own heads of families who are  the bread winners.  In Tamilnadu the experiment can be copied and implemented to stop the reactors and thereby stop the state Government do indirectly declare a nuclear war on millions of people of South Tamilnadu. 
Even in history there are many instances when a Kingdom was invaded a treacherous foreign ruler the local people used to fight against the invasion or alternatively purchase peace by paying compensation money to the invader.  Veera Pandya Kattabhraman refused to yield to the dictators of the treacherous British rulers so he was hanged in public.  Today the people of this historical Pandyan Empire have to save their lives and of their progeny against the invasion by the people in the North of Pandya Kingdom in Tamilnadu and those from the North India.  The Pandyans if they want the survival of their future generations they must resort to this  alternative course of action as followed by the children of the Cuddapah village of Andhra Pradesh.
NOTE:The nuclear experts are feeding  very false information on the damaging impacts of the routine radioactive pollutants released into the environment by stating that their concentrations in the environment will contribute only as a small fraction of the inevitable background level radiation experienced by the people.  But they fail to tell the truth that the impact of the background level radiation causes lesser damage to public health and the environment while the manmade radioactive pollutants cause higher levels of damage because of the differences in their energy levels and the quality factors as discussed elsewhere in the article 

Name of Reactor
Liquid waste
(Lakh liters)
% contribution
Fission Products
San Onofre-1
Haddam Neck
Yankee (Rowe)
Point Beach-1,2
Indian Point-1


About Me

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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,