What's the real situation? It is true that there has not been an accident, leading to core meltdown and radiation exposures. But, the fact remains that several minor accidents have happened in the past. These accidents range from leaks of oil to complete loss of power in the reactors causing all safety systems to be disabled.

Let us look at some of the accidents. The accidents at Tarapur, Madras and Rajasthan plants were due to non-compliance with safety standards. According to the mandatory standards of operation, each reactor is supposed to have an independent emergency core-cooling system. But, in practice, one cooling system was being shared between two reactors. The investigators were astonished to find that the reactors at Madras and Rajasthan had been operating without backup pumps to continue smooth operation. The plants had to be shut down as whenever the operating pumps were disabled by external factors such as fluctuations in the grid.

A study by India's Atomic Energy Regulatory Board documented over 130 extremely serious safety issues warranting urgent corrective measures in the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research, Uranium Corporation of India, Heavy Water Board, Indian Rare Earths Limited and several other facilities. The CIRUS reactor had an inherent problem of radiation leakage. Candu reactors suffered from heavy leakage of water. Dhruva reactor experienced fuel leakage, attributed to imperfect design architecture. Radioactive waste from the Tarapur Plant endangered lives of about 3,000 villagers living nearby.

The power plants functioned at substandard capacity levels. Inlets of a reactor at Madras Atomic Power Station cracked. Due to frequent breakdowns and leakage of heavy water, the power plant had to be shutdown. Rajasthan Atomic Power Station also had to be shutdown several times due to incorrigible design-related faults.

That's not all. The containment dome of the Kakrapar Power Station collapsed. Fire broke out at Narora Plant threatening a meltdown. An explosion took place at the Nuclear Fuel Complex at Hyderabad. Radiation exposures to workers from India's power plants are ten times the world average for each unit of electricity and twice the world average for each monitored worker. The safety of the Russian Light Water reactors was rated substandard by the IAEA. Yet, it continued to be operated.

Poor safety practices in India's nuclear-power plants remain camouflaged under a cloak of secrecy. Authorities get alerted only when an accident occurs, necessitating a shut down. The NSG should have a second look at safety measures `observed in India's power plants.. A cavalier approach to poor safety standards could result in a major accident, like Chernobyl or Three Mile Island. There is no reason why India should enjoy privileged use of nuclear energy, while other countries, with better safety records, remain deprived of it. Mohamed ElBaradei has rightly exposed this dichotomous policy in Time magazine dated August 17, 2009. In reply to a question, he emphasised: Every country has the right to nuclear technology as long as they use it safely, peacefully and in a secure way . . . . .THIS NEWS ARTICLE DATED AUG 17,2009 ..BY S.MALIK....HTTP://WWW.KASHMIRWATCH.COM....SHOULD BE OF CONCERN TO EVERYONE ON THIS PLANET WHO STILL THINK THAT NUCLEAR POWER IS THE SOLUTION TO GLOBAL WARMING ..IT IS SIMPLY NOT A SAFE OR RELIABLE TECHNOLOGY.


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