Immediate Release-Substandard Equipment Compromises K-reactor Safety: PMANE scientists say


PRESS RELEASE

Substandard Equipment Compromises K-reactor Safety: PMANE scientists say

16 June, 2012. CHENNAI – In what may be a breach of the Indo-Russian agreement on the Koodankulam plant, NPCIL and AERB have accepted a lower-quality Reactor Pressure Vessel (RPV) with significant implications on radiation safety, according to two documents unearthed recently by PMANE’s Expert Committee. The contracted design envisioned an RPV without any welds in the area surrounding the reactor core. The RPV, which is a 19 metre high, 4.5 metre wide cylindrical structure made of 200 mm steel, is critical to radiation safety because it houses the reactor core (fuel assembly) and the coolant system. According to the two documents – one authored by NPCIL scientists in September 2005 and the other a 2008 AERB document — the original contract specified that the RPV will be constructed without any welds in the area surrounding the reactor core. The AERB document additionally states that “the vessel now used has two welds in the core region.”

 

Welds are the weak links. They can become brittle with neutron bombardment and cause the RPV to break. If that happens, you have an international radiological disaster on your hands,” PMANE said. The AERB document devotes only one sentence to the safety concerns arising out of the welds. “The effect of neutron fluence on these welds was evaluated and found to be acceptable,” AERB states.

 

We deserve to know what tests were conducted and what the results were. AERB owes a detailed explanation to the people of India and the region,” PMANE said. “Why did it accept an RPV with welds, when the agreement explicitly mandated a weld-free RPV?” PMANE asked.

 

This revelation assumes increased significance in light of NPCIL’s recent denial to publish the Safety Analysis Report despite an order by the Central Information Commission to reveal its contents. The report would throw light on what increased risks people are being asked to take on as a result of the substandard design. Czech Republic shared Temelin VVER 1000 reactor’s details on RPV integrity and other safety aspects with the Austrian parliament as a routine aspect of safety evaluation. The Indian parliament too should have access to these details, PMANE and Chennai Solidarity Group said.

 

Because the RPV houses all radiological components, its integrity over the lifetime of the reactor is of paramount importance. “Tremendous care must be taken to ensure that the steel casing used for the RPV does not become brittle with time after it is bombarded by neutrons,” said PMANE expert committee member Dr. V.T. Padmanabhan. “The area of the RPV surrounding the core, where the fuel assembly is stored, is the most impacted by neutron bombardment. It is safest if steel casing of the RPV in the area surrounding the core is without welds,” he said. Metals such as nickel and manganese present in the welds can increase their vulnerability to neutron bombardment.

 

The International Atomic Energy Agency and the European Union insist that welds in the core area, if any, should be subjected to tests that assess their strength under pressure and rapid temperature fluctuations. Such tests cannot be conducted after the insertion of fuel rods. Because the safety reports are not being shared with public, it is not known if the required tests have been conducted. PMANE, Chennai Solidarity Group and PMANE’s expert members said that the Government’s hurry to insert fuel rods is to avoid public scrutiny of the integrity of the welds.

 

PMANE’s request for information relating to the Indo-Russian liability arrangement too has been denied on grounds that its revelation would affect bilateral relations. In this instance, there is clear evidence that the supplier has violated the contract and supplied a substandard RPV. However, it is generally known that the liability arrangement protects the Russian supplier in the event of any disaster. “The Bhopal disaster was a result of substandard technology, cost-cutting and a devil-may-care attitude towards safety. The State and Central Governments are doing a replay of the Bhopal disaster,” PMANE and Chennai Solidarity Group for Koodankulam Struggle said.

For more information, contact: Chennai Solidarity Group for Koodankulam Struggle: 9444082401

Four Dalits done to death in Srikakulam village


Staff Reporter, The Hindu , June 13 , 2012

Police personnel enquiring about
the attack on Dalits in Lakshmipeta of Vangara
mandal on Tuesday. Photo: Basheer

Police personnel enquiring about the attack on Dalits in Lakshmipeta of Vangara mandal on Tuesday. Photo: Basheer

Four Dalits were killed and 25 injured in an attack, allegedly by members of a Backward Class community, at Lakshmipeta of Vangara mandal, 55 km from here, on Tuesday morning. The condition of four, admitted in the Rajam area hospital was stated to be critical.

As a majority of police personnel had been drafted for the by-election duty in Narasannapeta, the attackers backed by ‘village elders’ took advantage of the situation to indulge in bloodbath. Police reached the spot two-and-a-half hours after the attack that took place at 8 a.m.

The victims have been identified as Burada Sundara Rao (45), Chitri Appadu (35), Nivarti Venkati (65) and Nivarti Sangameshu (40).

Rapprochement fails

According to the police and locals, differences arose between the two communities over use of leftover land alienated for the Madduvalasa reservoir. The government acquired lands for the reservoir but a portion of it remained vacant. With both sections claiming ownership, the district administration’s efforts to bring about a rapprochement did not bear fruit.

A police picket had been posted in the village to avert clashes. But after several police personnel left for poll duty at Narsannapeta, the dominant section went on the rampage attacking the dalits with crude bombs, sickles, hatchets, axes and other weapons.

The shocked Dalits could neither retaliate nor run for safety.

“My father Venkati begged with folded hands to spare him saying the entire family depended on him. But the attackers did not heed his appeal and killed him on the spot,” said a shocked Anuradha who had become unconscious after witnessing the attack.

The State government decided to inquire into the Lakshmipeta incident under Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. The government will pay compensation of Rs.2 lakh to each bereaved family member.

According to district Collector G. Venkatram Reddy, Minister for Medical Education Kondru Muralimohan will distribute Rs.1.5 lakh to each of four families on Wednesday and the remaining Rs.50, 000 will be distributed after the thorough inquiry and court verdict.

Interim probe report

Meanwhile, Palakonda Revenue Divisional Officer S. Venkateswara Rao submitted an interim inquiry report to the Collector. According to him, all the deceased were agriculture labourers and were the bread winners for their respective families.

A CPI(M) team consisting of Bhaviri Krishnamurthy and Panchadi Papa Rao visited the village demanded an ex gratia Rs.10 lakh and 5 acres of land to each family.

Palakonda Revenue Divisional Officer Saluru Venkateswara Rao assured the victims’ families that their grievances would be taken the notice of the government.

Keywords: murder caseDalits

Sadashiva panel favours internal quota suggests reclassification of SC/STs into 4 groups


TNN | Jun 15, 2012, 11.28AM IST

BANGALORE: AJ Sadashiva Commission of Inquiry has favoured providing internal reservation (reclassification of 15% reservation amongst the sub-sects) broadly classifying the 101 sub-sects of SC/STs in the state into four groups. This is to ensure that the benefits of welfare schemes reach all the needy.

In its 200-page report submitted to chief minister D V Sadananda Gowda on Thursday, the commission, set up to review distribution of reservation benefits among various SC/ST groups, has found the benefits of reservation and of welfare schemes in Karnataka were reaching only a few groups among the SCs and STs, and several other sub-sects were the worst affected as a result.

But the rider here is that the Karnataka government has little role to play in creating the internal reservation. Quoting a recent court verdict, Justice Sadashiva said ” Presently, the reservation benefits meant for SC/STs are being cornered by a section of powerful sub-sects belonging to the right wing. As a constitutional amendment is required to Article 341, only Parliament is empowered to do so,” he added.

Keeping this in view, he said the commission in its report recommendsed that state government should insist Parliament make amendments to bring out the changes at the earliest.

As per the commission’s recommendations, the 101 sub-sects of SC/STs in Karnataka should be broadly divided into four categories — left wing (who identify with former dy PM Babu Jagjivanram), right wing (with BR Ambedkar and Buddhism), other SCs and touchables. Of the 15 % reservation extended to SC/STs, the commission recommends 6% reservation for the left wing, 5% for right, 1% for other SCs and 3% for touchables.

Justice Sadashiva said these recommendations were made following a feedback from 96 lakh SC/STs in the state. The commission had undertaken a major exercise conducting door-to-door survey of 101 categories of SCs, to determine their backwardness. For this, a comprehensive 195-question format was prepared, which took almost a year. The queries pertained to educational, cultural and economic background of families, and also the extent of reservation availed by them.

However, the survey brought out one interesting fact. Of the 96 lakh SC/STs, about six lakh people declined to identify their sub-caste. Probably these people are those untouchables who are yet to come out of the age-old social stigma,” Justice Sadashiva said.

After accepting the report, CM Sadananda Gowda said the government will examine and study the report before tabling it in the House.

LONGEST-SERVING COMMISSION

AJ Sadashiva Commission of Inquiry will go into the annals of Karnataka history as the longest-serving inquiry commission in Karnataka, and the reason is not because the panel was unable to meet the deadline, but sheer apathy of governments of the day – since Sept, 25,2005 – to provide necessary inputs to get the commission going. Justice Sadashiva said he has dedicated five pages in the report to explain the ordeal. Though the commission was formed in 2005 under the Dharam Singh government, it got down to work in 2010 after former CM B S Yeddyurappa released Rs 11.12 crore.

SURVEY FACTS

* Of the 96 lakh people identified during the survey, 33.47% belong to left wing, 32% to right wing, 4.5% to other SCs and 23.64 % touchables

* There are about 1.58 lakh SC/ST government employees in Karnataka

* There are 20.54 lakh SC/ST households in Karnataka

* In Karnataka, SC/STs together tip the population scale at 22.7%

* About 6 lakh SC/STs refused to identify their sub-castes during survey

India Today

Public hearing on PDS in Imphal – July 9th


Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, June 15 2012: The Sustainable Livelihood Forum would organise a public hearing on July 9 and 10 at Lamyanba Shanglen, Palace Compound on the failure of the State to provide PDS items regularly in adequate quantities.

Speaking to media persons at Manipur Press Club today, convenor of the forum K Shangnaidar Tontang while conveying about the scheduled public hearing, also informed that one State working committee has been constituted comprising several civil organisations in connection with denial of PDS items to the public.

Saying that BPL families living in all the nine districts have not been receiving their due share of PDS items for a long time, the convenor asserted that people above poverty line have been enjoying the benefits of public distribution system thereby forfeiting the right to food of many impoverished families.

Observing that the existing PDS agents have not been working according to guidelines, Shangnaidar remarked that the agents have seemingly forgotten who should be the beneficiaries of public distribution system.

At the same time, some people have been misappropriating the PDS items in collusion with relevant officials.

Inviting all interested persons to the public hearing, the convenor appealed to all concerned not to impose any bandh or blockade on the two specified dates.

Human Right Alert executive director Babloo Loitongbam also appealed to all the people to participate in the public hearing without any distinction between on religion, ethnicity or language.

Supreme Court’s Right to Food Commissioner Harsh Mander would also attend the public hearing.

Syrian forces use sexual violence against men, women, children – HRW


Fri, 15 Jun 2012 10:17 GMT

Source: reuters // Reuters

Demonstrators protest against Syria‘s President Bashar al-Assad after Friday prayers in Maraa, near Aleppo, June 8, 2012. The placard reads, “Your tanks never scared us, we are staying here, you are mortal”. REUTERS/Shaam News Network/Handout

(Story contains graphic details of abuse and torture)

* Women complain of rapes during military raids

* Many Syrians reluctant to report “shameful” crimes

* Electric shocks to genitalia of prisoners

BEIRUT, June 15 (Reuters) – Government forces have used rape and other sexual violence against men, women and children during the Syrian uprising, Human Rights Watch said on Friday.

The U.S.-based group said it had recorded 20 incidents from interviews inside and outside Syria with eight victims, including four women, and more than 25 other people with knowledge of sexual abuse – including medical workers, former detainees, army defectors, and women’s rights activists.

“Sexual violence in detention is one of many horrific weapons in the Syrian government‘s torture arsenal and Syrian security forces regularly use it to humiliate and degrade detainees with complete impunity,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at HRW.

“The assaults are not limited to detention facilities – government forces and pro-government shabiha militia members have also sexually assaulted women and girls during home raids and residential sweeps.”

Cases were reported all around Syria, but most of all in Homs province, an epicentre of the revolt.

HRW quoted a man who said he had been held in the Political Security branch in Latakia in a cell with over 70 other people. He said young boys were treated worse than adults, brought back to the cell raped and with their fingernails pulled out.

“One boy came into the cell bleeding from behind. He couldn’t walk. It was something they just did to the boys. We would cry for them,” the man said.

HRW said many of the assaults were in circumstances in which commanding officers knew or should have known the crimes, such as electric shocks to genitalia, were taking place.

In another face-to-face interview a woman from the Karm al-Zeitoun neighbourhood of Homs city which was overrun by Assad’s troops said she heard security forces and shabiha militia rape her neighbours while she hid in her apartment in March.

“I could hear one girl fighting with one of (the men)… She pushed him and he shot her in the head,” HRW quoted the woman as saying. She said three girls, the youngest aged 12, were then raped. After the men left the woman went next door.

“The scene on the inside was unreal. The 12-year-old was lying on the ground, blood to her knees… More than one person had raped the 12-year-old… She was torn the length of a forefinger. I will never go back there. It comes to me. I see it in my dreams and I just cry.”

Some interviewees told HRW that victims did not want their families to know about the assault because of fear or shame. In one case, HRW said a female rape victim was willing to be interviewed but her husband forbade it.

“Even when they may wish to seek help, Syrian survivors of sexual assault have limited access to medical or psychological treatment and other services,” HRW said.

“It is critical that survivors of sexual assault have access to emergency medical services, legal assistance, and social support to address injuries caused by the assault; prevent pregnancy, HIV, and other sexually transmitted infections; and to collect evidence to support prosecution of perpetrators.” (Reporting by Oliver Holmes; Editing by Andrew Roche)

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