#India -Village falls within Jaitapur nuclear reactor’s 2-km danger zone #WTFnews


Nitin Ghanekar reports in  Hindustan times, June 10, 2013

Since we are so close to the plant, we fear that we might be displaced.
SACHIN WAGH DHARE, a Dhanivare resident

JAITAPUR/MUMBAI: Residents of Dhanivare village are a worried lot. Given the proximity of their hamlet to the proposed Jaitapur nuclear power plant site (JNPP), the village falls in a range of 0 to 2 km distance from the plant, which makes it a part of the plant’s exclusion zone.

A nuclear plant is supposed to have an exclusion zone of 1.6 km around the nuclear reactors, making this area uninhabitable. That the JNPP site can be accessed from Dhanivare village on foot within five minutes makes the hamlet’s proximity to the site clear. But the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) seems to have forgotten this tiny hamlet when claiming that that no house would be displaced while creating the exclusion zone.

When HT contacted additional chief engineer of JNPP SG Galgali, and asked him about the fate of Dhanivare, he said, “The nuclear reactors at JNPP would be located along the shore in a northsouth direction near the Rajapur bay lighthouse. They would be located in such a way that no village falls in the 1.6kms exclusion zone.”

However, a report from the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) states otherwise. Recently, under the Right to Information Act, Mumbai residents Premanand Tivarkar and Dr Bhikaji Waghdhare obtained a site selection committee report dated September 2002. The report detailing the population in villages around the Jaitapur site says, “Dhanivade, a hamlet of Madban, falls within the 1.6 km exclusion zone and has an estimated population of 135.”

Galgali said, “The report might have stated that the hamlet is in the exclusion zone, but the positioning of the plant will not displace its residents.”

Residents of Dhanivare said that the NPCIL’s attempts to encroach on their mango orchards might be their way of pressurising them to relocate. “We never received any notices from NPCIL regarding land acquisition or any exclusion zone. As we are so close to the plant, we fear we might be displaced,” said Sachin Waghdhare, a resident of Dhanivare.

N-plant encroaching on our orchards’

Boundary wall built by NPCIL for Jaitapur power plant passes through mango groves that are a source of livelihood for an entire village

JAITAPUR/MUMBAI: Even as French nuclear giant Areva, officials from Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) met to work out a financial package that would fund two 1,650 megawatt reactors at Jaitapur, residents of Dhanivare village near the plant site have alleged that there is a quiet attempt by NPCIL to encroach on village land not marked for acquisition.

Dhanivare is a hamlet of less than 200 people located within a 2-kilometre distance from the proposed Jaitapur nuclear power plant (JNPP). The residents of the village, many of who own mango orchards, have alleged that NPCIL and their sub-contractors have been trespassing on their land — marked as ‘survey no. 119’ — and are trying to encroach on it to build an unfinished boundary wall outside the plant site. This has allegedly been going on for over two years.

Survey no. 119 was not a part of the land acquired by the Ratnagiri district administration for JNPP. It did not feature in the list of notified lands to be acquired for JNPP, published by the Konkan administrative division in the Ratnagiri edition of Tarun Bharat newspaper on January 10, 2007. Current district collector Rajeev Jadhav also attested to this. The land in question is home to around 500 mango trees that serve as a source of livelihood for Dhanivare residents.

Recent developments in the area are contrary to NPCIL’s claims that villagers’ livelihood would not be snatched away due to the project.

Though the issue dates back over two years, a fortnight ago, residents said that NPCIL officials arrived at the land in question with a bulldozer and civil supplies in an effort to continue work on the incomplete wall. “There was a wedding in the hamlet so many of us were away. When we returned to our orchards, we saw that a few people had entered our property and were trying to carry out civil work. We protested and drove them away,” said Sachin Waghdhare, a resident of Dhanivare who owns close to 150 mango trees and earns between Rs50,000 and Rs1,00,000 from it annually. Even before this, villagers found paint markings running across orchards, starting from the unfinished wall, right up to the pathway to orchards. “The paint markings indicated that they (NPCIL) want to encroach into our villages. If this happens, all of us would lose our livelihoods,” he added.

Bhikaji Waghdhare, the sarpanch of Madban gram panchayat, of which Dhanivare is a part, sent a letter on May 31 informing the district collector about the markings and tree felling. When HT contacted Ratnagiri collector Rajeev Jadhav, he said, “I have not yet seen such a letter, but if NPCIL is encroaching on land not meant to be acquired for JNPP, we will follow the rule of law to take action.”

Villagers claim the issue dates back to December 2010, when the NPCIL started construction of a wall that was to pass through the mango orchards. Back then, villagers had protested against NPCIL’s activities and had even sent a complaint to the then collector of Ratnagiri and to the Sakhari Nate police station, alerting them about this issue. Through sustained protests they managed to stop the construction. Later, in 2011, Mumbai resident Dr Bhikaji Waghdhare, 74, a native of Madban, filed a writ petition in the Bombay high court. The court had found the petition to be substantive but asked Dr Waghdhare to pursue the case at the local district court in Ratnagiri. Owing to ill-health, Dr Waghdhare did not pursue the case. He owns 0.60 hectares of land that bears 160 mango trees, 40 toddy palm trees and one well. “I sought survey maps under right to information (RTI) act and they indicate that the area where NPCIL is trying to carry out work is survey no. 119,” said Dr Waghdhare. HT is in possession of those maps. Besides, in a reply to an RTI application filed by Mumbai resident Premanand Tiwarkar, NPCIL admitted, that survey no. 119 was not acquired for JNPP.

HT mailed a detailed questionnaire to NPCIL, sent text messages to officials and also tried to contact senior officials to seek their response, but there was no reply.

Call for endorsement- Citizens Statement Demanding Independent Enquiry into Koodankulam Safety


Please find below the citizens statement on Koodankulam drafted by Mr.Praful Bidwai and Mrs. Lalita Ramdas.

In thelight of recent news arrest of the Russian supplier ZiO-Podolsk chieffor a scam related to sub-standard equipments, the statement callsfor an independent enquiry into the plant’s safety issues, somethingthat the people’s agitation has been demanding from day one. Theformer chairman of India‘s Atomic Energy Regulatory Board has alsodemanded a moratorium on the reactor pending an independent enquiry.

Thestatement also appeals for transparency on vital safety issues inKoodankulam.

Pleasealso forward the statement to your friends for endorsement and urgethem to send back the signatures to 

 

pksundaram@gmail.com

 

With bestregards,
AchinVanaik

P KSundaram

Coalitionfor Nuclear Disarmament and Peace

www.cndpindia.org

 

Citizens Statement Demanding Independent Enquiry into Koodankulam Safety

 

Recent developments in Koodankulam, which highlight grave technology-related problems with the first nuclear reactor, take the shocking failures of the operator, Nuclear Power Corporation, to a new low.

The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board was forced to admit to the existence of sub-standard and unsafe equipment in the reactor only after a major scandal concerning a Russian sub-supplier firm was brought to light by the ongoing people’s movement against the project. However, the admission came only after the nuclear establishment’s denial tactic manifestly failed. Former AERB Chairman Dr. A. Gopalakrishnan has unequivocally and publicly opposed the commissioning of the plant and trashed the AERB’s admission and assurances.

We urge that an independent enquiry must be conducted into the safety aspects of the Koodankulam reactors, including the supply of sub-standard equipment, vulnerability of the reactor pressure vessel,and the fraudulent post-dated environmental clearance given to the desalination unit. Till then, a moratorium on the reactor’s start-up must be imposed in Koodankulam.

India, Russia close to deal on remaining N-reactors


Jayanth Jacob, Hindustan Times New Delhi, April 08, 2013

A nearly three-year-long tussle between India and Russia over the modalities of the remaining two nuclear reactors – to be set up at Kudankulam – may finally be close to a resolution. India is willing to pay more if Russia accepts India’s nuclear liability law, a government source told HT.

A technical team is now in Mumbai to tie the loose ends so that the pact for reactors 3 and 4 can be signed at the earliest. India and Russia had signed a protocol for funding two new units at Kudankulam last year. The protocol provides that Russia will extend an export credit of $3.4 billion to Russian organisations to help build the units at four per cent interest and the total cost is expected to be more than $11 billion now.

The Kudankulam reactor 1 is to be operationalsied this month and reactor 2 will be functional within this year. “The additional cost being incurred for adhering to Indian liability law can be loaded into the reactor price and that is our position as we are looking to seal the deal for reactors 3 and 4″, said a source.

Negotiations regarding the two reactors in Kudankulam had been stuck over Russia’s refusal to accept the provisions of India’s nuclear liability law that came into force in 2010. Russia says these two reactors are part of the 2008 agreement for four additional reactors, which stems from the comprehensive Inter-governmental agreement (IGA) signed between India and the former USSR in 1988 for cooperation in areas of peaceful uses of atomic energy. The IGA signed in 2008, makes only the Indian operator liable for any nuclear accidents.

Russia wanted the same terms of pact to be continued for the 3rd and 4th as well – a position that Indian government could not accept in the light of the new liability law. The Kudankulam site, also plagued by anti-nuclear protest, is also critical to the India’s nuclear sector targets. The government has to show that it moves ahead with the nuclear energy target of 63,000 MW of power from nuclear power by 2032.

 

Inferior parts being used in Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant: Top scientist


English: Construction site of the Koodankulam ...

TNN | Apr 7, 2013, 05.32 AM IST

 

 

CHENNAI: The Centre, speeding up the process to commission the first unit of theKudankulam Nuclear Power Plant, received a jolt from one of the country’s noted nuclear scientist and former chairman of AtomicEnergy Regulatory Board (AERB) A Gopalakrishnan, who raised doubts about the quality of equipment in the plant. “Sub-standard materials have come to the Kudankulam plant and they are causing problems,” he alleged.

Gopalakrishnan was speaking at the nationalconvention on “Approach to the power question in the country,” organised by the People’s Committee for Safe Energy, and Breakthrough Science Society. “Dangerous things have been doneundercover,” he said. “AERB officials are not responding to any queries. There are reports from Russia about the supply of substandard atomic energy equipment. This has to be investigated before they go ahead with the commissioning. Since faults may not be known for a few years, safety concerns of the people have to be cleared,” he said, while seeking an independent Indian investigation team to study the plant. “Chinese have now started examining the components from Russia,” he said.

The senior scientist, who endorsed indigenous development of atomic energy, complained the reactors under operation with foreign support were in a very bad state. The nuclear reactors in Tarapur built by America’s General Electric in 1965, suffered serious technical problems even when they were constructed. The spare parts could not be sourced from GE even in 1995 as they were no longer making it. “Even the GE’s assessment was that the plants were too old, dangerous and should be shut down, but the department of Atomic Energy continue running the plants till date,” said Gopalakrishnan. He questioned India’s commitment to French reactors for Jaitapur even while a single plant of that kind had not been built anywhere in the world.

Terming the Centre’s nuclear policy as dictated by foreign countries, Gopalakrishnan said, “Nuclear policy followed in this country today is moving on a reckless path and it could one day land us in trouble.”

 

 

 

#India -129 People Jailed for Protesting Against Kalpakkam Reactor #WTFnews


29 March, 2013 – In a bid to intimidate fenceline communities living around the Kalpakkam nuclear reactors, the Tamil Nadu Police has jailed 129 people of the 650 that were detained in wedding halls yesterday. Those detained were protesting to highlight that the nuclear complex in Kalpakkam was all threat and risk to the local community with no benefits either in the form of jobs or electricity.

A peaceful protest involving more than 1000 people was broken up by the police. Nearly 650 people peacefully boarded buses to court arrest. Given the peaceful nature of the protest, and the cooperation extended by the people to the police, those detained would normally have been released by evening. However, the Police invited a magistrate to the wedding hall where 129 people were detained, and filed two separate cases against them — one case naming 27 people (mostly leaders and organisers); and another naming 102 people.

Prominent among those arrested are leaders of the Manithaneya Makkal Katchi and the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.

The  police has slapped the following charges against the villagers:
Section 143 IPC: Punishment for Unlawful Assembly
Section 147 IPC: Punishment for rioting
Section 148 IPC: Rioting, armed with deadly weapons
Section 158 IPC: Whoever is engaged, or hired, or offers or attempts to be hired or engaged, to do or assist in doing any of the acts specified in section 141, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine, or with both.

or to go armed. or to go armed.– and whoever, being so engaged or hired as aforesaid, goes armed, or engages or offers to go armed, with any deadly weapon or with anything which used as a weapon of offence is likely to cause death, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.
Section 353 IPC: Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty.– Whoever assaults or uses criminal force to any person being a public servant in the execution of his duty as such public servant, or with intent to prevent or deter that person from discharging his duty as such public servant, or in consequence of anything done or attempted to be done by such person to the lawful discharge of his duty as such public servant, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.

All above sections are to be read with Section 7(1)(A) of the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1953:
“with intent to cause any person to abstain from doing or to do any act which such person has a right to do or to abstain from doing, obstructs or uses violence to or intimidates such person or any member of his family or person in his employ, or loiters at or near a place where such person or member or employed person resides or works or carries on business or happens to be, or persistently follows him from place to place, or interferes with any property owned or used by him or deprives him of or hinders him in the use thereof, or. . .”

 

India importing nuclear reactors to please foreign countries; former AERB chairman #WTFnews


Date: 16 February 2013
Subject: DNA – India importing nuclear reactors to please foreign countries; former AERB chairman

 

The decision to import 40,000 MWe capacity Light Water Reactors (LWRs) in early 2006 was taken without any techno-economic evaluation by Atomic Energy Commission or any other agency to assess the need for these imports, said Dr. A Gopalakrishnan, former chairman, Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB).

“The decision was merely a quid-pro-quo to give business to the reactor manufacturers in those countries which helped India get a Nuclear Supply Group (NSG) waiver,” said the former chief. He was talking on the occasion National Seminar on People’s Science Movement on Saturday in Hyderabad.

The agreement to import was signed immediately after the nuclear energy framework agreement with the US was finalised in July 2005. In 2006, an Integrated Energy Policy was prepared by the Planning Commission which set 63,000 MWe as the projected nuclear capacity target for 2032, which included these imports as well.

The then chairman of the AEC colluded with the Prime Minister’s Office and went along with this purely political decision, and even the non-official scientific members of the AEC meekly consented, he added.

Dr. Gopalakrishnan alleged that even a conservative estimate of Rs. 20 crores per MWe for importing these reactors during next 20-25 years would cost tax-payer about Rs. 8, 00,000 crores.

“The decisions, price negotiations and supply terms are being negotiated by the UPA- 2 government in hasty is with the intention of fulfilling the PM’s commitments to these foreign governments and their companies before he demits office,” said Gopalakrishnan.

The decisions are taken by a closed group consisting of government officials, who are acting at the behest of Indian & foreign corporate giants. And the Prime Minister’s Office is overseeing the process to protect varied political interests, he added.

He further pointed out that there is absolutely no transparency in this process and a tight cover of secrecy is unnecessarily maintained over these essentially civilian, non-

strategic purchases. Even the Comptroller and Audit General (CAG) has limited authority to question DAE’s transactions. This current situation is certainly conducive to ferment corrupt practices, and potential malpractices in these reactor imports may turn out to be the next biggest financial scam.

It was really the role of the non-official scientific members of the AEC to seriously question the UPA government’s motives in neglecting the indigenous three-stage nuclear program from 2005 onwards.

It is high time we clean out the entire set of non-official members from the current AEC and replace them with an ethical set of comparatively younger generation senior scientists , so that public trust in the management of the Indian nuclear sector can be restored, he said.

 

#India- When life is cheaper than nuclear power


Published: Monday, Jan 7, 2013, 10:00 IST
By Dilnaz Boga | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
Members of New Socialist Alternative protest against nuclear power in Bangalore on Wednesday, October 24, 2012. (Pic used for representational purpose only)
Anantha Subramanyam K | DNA

Poonam Hambire, a resident of Ghivali village, 12km from Boisar in Thane district, is at the forefront of the anti-nuclear agitation against the Tarapur Atomic Power Station (TAPS). “Women have to come forward as false cases are slapped against the male protesters in Tarapur,” she alleges.

Her village lies within the 1.6km radius around one the country’s oldest nuclear reactors built by General Electric in the 1960s. It’s the same model as Japan’s Fukushima reactor. The effects of radiation are obvious in every home not only in Ghivali but also in the neighbouring villages.
At Hambire’s home, her eight-year-old nephew’s garlanded photo adorns the wall. “He died of lung cancer, but we couldn’t get his medical reports from the government heath centre. It’s hard to talk about it as his father who is employed at the plant will lose his job. None of the sick villagers get their medical papers,” she claims.

Grievances galore
Most of India’s 20 reactors are on the list of the most unreliable 50 in the world and are being monitored by the IAEA, says former navy captain Dr Buddhi Subbarao, who has a PhD in nuclear technology from IIT-B and is an advocate in the Supreme Court.

The decommissioning cost of a nuclear reactor (about $300 million-5.6 billion) is more than the cost of construction and commissioning. That’s why TAPS hasn’t been decommissioned despite the American manufacturers’ advice to the government to do so in 1995, Subbarao adds.

Ramakrishna Tandel, secretary, Maharashtra Machimar Kruti Samiti, who has led the fishermen’s community in the area for years, says, “The mangroves have dried due to the hot water released from the plant’s cooling system. We have found boiled fish 2km away from shore. The breeding patterns of the fish have also changed and our businesses have collapsed.”

“Forget listening to our grievances, they don’t even let us stand at the gate. We are sandwiched between TAPS and the sea. Earlier, we had 28 boats, and 10 families would live off each boat. Now, we have just one,” he adds. The government has proposed 14 more nuclear plants in the area.

The discharge has increased considerably after TAPS 3 and 4 started, say villagers. The adjoining sea and creek continue to bear the brunt and many species of fish have diminished completely. Chronic illnesses are on the rise, observes environmentalist Girish Raut.

Nuclear troubles
All nuclear-spent fuel from India is being brought to BARC, Tarapur, for reprocessing and later, cooling, storing and intermediate burial-storage, amounting to high concentration of nuclear activity material in Tarapur. Tandel explains that NPCIL has no evacuation routes for the villagers in case of emergency, or even any medical facilities, food or a shelter plan. Also, residents of Palghar and Dahanu are also at high risk. “Hence, we are opposing the expansion of the facility and the port that Jindal is going to build here,” says Tandel.

Every fortnight, the authorities take samples of soil and water for testing from the villages in the plant’s vicinity, but the results are never shared with the inhabitants.

A 40-year-old maintenance mechanic from the neighbouring village of Pofran, who works at TAPS, complained about pain in his joints. “About 29 of us have been employed on contracts so we get no medical treatment. I earn Rs300 a day; how will I spend on doctors? We have to live with what we suffer from,” he says.

“People don’t talk about cancer here due to the stigma. Who will give their daughter’s hand in marriage to such a family?” asks deputy sarpanch of Ghivali Sunil Prabhu. Take the example of Prakash Ambhire, 47. He died of eye cancer last November. “He worked as a helper in the plant. He didn’t get any treatment and there are no case papers. He is survived by his aged mother, a son and three daughters,” Prabhu adds.

RK Gupta, 73, who worked with BARC’s fuel reprocessing division of the plutonium plant as an engineer and has been exposed to radiation, is suffering from its after-effects.

“Labourers and contractuals are appointed from the roadside. There is no proper health procedure. They die on the roadside after their contracts are through. But employees are treated differently. I was over-exposed and I am handicapped now. I was diagnosed early but I am suffering because of medical negligence. I have psoriasis,” he says.

Apathetic state
Rajendra Gavit, minister of state for tribal development and labour affairs, who addressed the fishing community on World Fisheries day last month, said, “Project-affected people will get permanent jobs in the plant. We are fighting to make 200 workers permanent every year.”

Gavit added, “I realise the issue about cancer and radiation. Doses (radiation) for the employees need to be reduced. We have been trying for their safety all these years. Now, we are trying to decrease their exposure.” At TAPS, contractual labourers may be exposed to 1,500 doses in two months and employees to 1,000 a year.

Vivek Sundara, an anti-nuclear protester, says, “Studies from all over the world show that any kind of radiation is bad. If it’s harmless like the government says, then why are women told not to breastfeed after mammogram? Government needs to stop using nuclear energy and switch to more sustainable and eco-friendly forms. This toxicity will last for millions of years,” he adds.

Scientist Dr V Pugazhenthi, who had conducted a survey in Chinchani village, 8km from the plant two years ago, said cases of neuroblastoma can be attributed to radiation. “Even 40km away from the plant cases of unexplained anaemia, Down’s Syndrome, tumours, high rate of abortions and miscarriages and multiple myeloma are seen.”

 

Interesting stats about nuclear power plants in India #mustshare


The performance of the operational nuclear reactors in India.

It is very easy to project great amounts of power generation,

but the ground reality is different as you can see in this chart compiled by  

Anuj wankhede

plants

Cost of Jaitapur reactors could triple to nearly Rs. 35,500 crore


 

VAIJU NARAVANE, The Hindu, Dec 6,2012

 

English: Internationally recognized symbol. De...

English: Internationally recognized symbol. Deutsch: Gefahrensymbol für Radioaktivität. Image:Radioactive.svg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

EDF, the French electricity giant that has built and operated the country’s 58 nuclear reactors, has announced that the bill for the 1,650-MW, third-generation pressurised reactor known as EPR has now gone up to AFP €8.5 billion. At its inception, the reactor, designed by Areva of France, was expected to cost €3.3 billion.

This is bad news for India which is slated to buy six EPR reactors for a site in Jaitapur, Maharashtra. Initially expected to cost some €20 billion, the six EPRs India intends to buy will now be in the region of €50 billion — nearly Rs. 35,500 crore.

Delays and cost over-runs have marked the construction of the EPR in Flamanville, Manche, France. In the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster, the French Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) carried out an audit of the country’s nuclear installations and asked for several reinforcements and design changes. All these added to the price.

However, work on the reactor had been badly delayed and it is now expected to go on stream in 2016. Industry insiders predict that date will not be respected and there will be further cost overruns.

“The development of the boiler design, additional engineering studies, the integration of new regulatory requirements and everything learnt from Fukushima have also been taken into account,” EDF said in a statement.

There is not a single EPR that is working today. The reactor built in Olkilouto, Finland, by Siemens and Areva is also running four years behind schedule and has yet to begin operating. The reactor may start operating next year.

EDF has been rapped on the knuckles several times by the nuclear watchdog ASN for cutting corners, using shoddy materials, and employing workers who do not know their job. The Flamanville plant is the first reactor being built in France in nearly 20 years.

 

 

The Imminent Death of Civil Nuclear Energy


Anamika Badal, dianuke.org

Some may consider that civilian nuclear energy programs are going great guns and will grow in future. They will not. In fact, its slow death is already on and will only accelerate in future. Let’s understand why.

 ————————————————–

The nuclear energy industry has had a charmed half century of existence.

What essentially started as military research for the development of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) was subtly packaged into a benign energy source. At heart, the roots of nuclear energy are firmly linked to military use.

The cold war was an occasion which offered the nuclear energy industry the use of massive funds, research facilities, government grants (subsidies) and huge freedom to conduct more and more research into making more and more weapons.

Nuclear Energy was simply a byproduct of this military work.

Companies and governments worked overtime to create a veil of secrecy around atomic energy so that the common person would not be able to link the two. And to their credit, they succeeded for a large part. In the days before the advent of the internet, information was scarce and expensive to procure. People – by and large – tended to believe what the ‘scientists’ and the governments told them.

Essentially, they were sold two stories -

1) Nuclear industry means ‘national security’ and ‘national pride.’ Any opposition to nuclear automatically makes you an anti-national.

2) Nuclear Energy has no alternative because of its “cleanliness” and ability to deliver large amounts of power at cheap cost.

It is said that if a lie is told a thousand times, people start to believe that it is the truth.

Yet, it is also said that ‘You can fool some people all the time, you can fool all the people sometimes but you cannot fool all the people all the time.’

The tipping point for the nuclear industry came after the end of the cold war. Contrary to what most people believe, Chernobyl had no effect on the growth of the nuclear energy business. After a tiny blip, the industry was back to it’s own self.

Anyway, concealment, fabrications, misrepresentation of facts, propaganda, censorship of news, strong arm tactics were all part of the overall cold war game.

The world knew that a huge nuclear accident had happened in Russia.

But beyond that, they had little more knowledge. The Russians painted a picture of “all-is-well“, while the West tried to malign Russian technology and safety. Neither really questioned nuclear energy as a whole.

Sure, there were enough independent researchers who risked life and limb to bring out the truth. But it was easy for the governments of those days to tackle these civilian groups – after all, government agencies were trained to play the big spy games – a bunch of civilians was a cakewalk for the masters.

The disguise continued unabated until the unexpected end of the cold war. The cold war meant that there was little need for military deterrence (?) The future wars would be fought on economic fronts and smart wars would take centre stage.

Tactical weapons, quick surgical strikes on specific small strategic targets did not require the kind of arsenal needed during the cold war days. It was no longer fashionable to parade the missiles and war heads on National days and gloat about technological prowess.

The new kind of weapons did not require as much of plutonium but needed a material that was far easier to procure – depleted uranium (DU).

DU is easily and openly available from nuclear reactors without the need for complex and expensive re processing technologies. The guided missiles tipped with DU are hundreds of times more powerful compared to ordinary bombs and can cause massive damage to over and underground structures. Because of the fact that they do not leave a huge visible impact (like that of an Atomic Bomb), people do not realize that effectively, a nuclear weapon has been used.

These missiles have been extensively used in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  While they have sometimes ensured that the targets are taken out, they are as deadly as a nuclear attack and leave behind vast amounts of radiation in the environment. People affected by DU develop the same conditions as those in Hiroshima or Nagasaki – the only difference being that of immediate visibility and localization.

The US and NATO troops have got away by using these weapons of tactical attack for many years now and the effects are showing up in the local population there – increased cancer, deformities, mutations and all the other radiation induced diseases are seen here. The soil and ground water is polluted with uranium and will continue to do so for many decades to come. The radiation has spread wider and entered the food chain and will continue to irradiate for a long time to come.

The West had found the ideal nuclear weapon which can be used easily – without any concern of accountability or justification needed  for a full blown nuclear attack.

The need to use nuclear energy and the spent fuel had diminished and the military had a far lesser interest in these reactors.

Almost at the same time, another and more significant revolution was taking place.

The information revolution.

Almost out of nowhere, the computers, satellite television, instant messengers and the internet were all over the world.

Nothing was hidden. Information previously restricted to libraries or locked away in forgotten cupboards was suddenly openly available.

Information flow meant that there were no longer any holy cows. Discussions happened over emails and internet, ideas exchanged and previous paradigms challenged.

When Data gets analyzed, it turns into Information.

The massive amount of data which was scattered all over the globe earlier was put together and analyzed. Cheaper but more powerful computers allowed this massive data to be analyzed on desktop computers without the need for super computers.

What emerged was the naked truth.

Atomic and nuclear science is no more (or less) mysterious or complex than any other science. The sheer eliteness of being part of a select “nuclear club” was shown to be hollow. The cost of nuclear energy in purely financial terms was proven to be the highest, the enormous social damage, the horrible medical conditions and the silent environmental destruction were proven – with irrefutable data.

Troubles, they say, come in multiples.

More was to follow.

With no place to hide, the nuclear industry was hit by developments in renewable energies which took off at a massive scale resulting in prices crashing beyond imagination. A new, safe and cost effective option arose for which the nuclear industry was totally unprepared – literally caught with its pants down!

With no business model to survive, shrinking patronage from the defence and government ministries, Fukushima was the final nail in the coffin. In plain, open view, the incident shamed the industry  badly and showed the world that the civilian nuclear operators were leagues ahead of Big Oil and Tobacco when it came to blatant lies and endangering lives for maximizing own profits. Safety and ethics be damned.

In the end, the nuclear industry has only itself to be blamed for its decimation. Nobody – except probably its own nuclear village fraternity – will shed any tears on its death.

It is one death which does not merit a RIP.