Tag Archives: Radioactive Waste

JAPANESE NUCLEAR DISASTER ON 11 MARCH 2011


1 – control rods; 2 – reactor cover; 3 – react...
Image via Wikipedia

AN UNFORGETTABLE LESSON IN HUMAN HISTORY :        

I dedicate this blog post to the nuclear engineers of the Tokyo Electric Power Company who are currently serving at the Fukushima Nuclear Plant. I sincerely applaud their spirit, dedication, and courage to confront the challenge of averting an imminent nuclear meltdown at this Nuclear Plant where Plutonium is being used as fuel at Reactor #3. I would remember the people of Japan in my prayers as I firmly understand that man is a created being who exists in the physical world depending upon the Power/Force/Energy which bestows Mercy, Compassion, and Grace upon all of us. The natural disaster, a combination of a powerful earthquake and a massive tsunami on March 11, 2011 resulted in loss of life and property and yet there is Hope. As per the Laws of Conservation of Mass and Energy, matter is indestructible. I pray for renewal, regeneration, and regrowth in Japan. Man has no choice, and has no alternative as the Subjective Reality of his physical existence is conditioned. Man exists in the physical world depending upon energy provided to him by his Creator and this acquisition of energy for biological existence is sustained by God-Connection. Man’s dependence upon Nuclear Energy and the consequences of Radiation exposure and injury should be fully understood.

 

 

Nature's Fury- Tsunami hitting Natori, Japan. The Disaster that followed this tsunami is more frightening.

 

 

Man's dependence upon Nuclear Energy is the real issue to be faced by Japan, and the rest of the World.

 

 

 

The explosions at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant has caused a breach in all the three containment structures and the risk of radiation escaping into the environment has become real and the consequences would be inescapable.

 

We need to earnestly ask ourselves: Is this Safe? Is this Cheap? Is this Green? In human history, the Japanese Nuclear Disaster on March 11, 2011 will be the most unforgettable Moment. Nuclear Power is more frightening than the Earthquake and the Tsunami that initiated this Nuclear Crisis. It also speaks about the effects of human activities on their environment and on the survival of other species.
The Safety of Nuclear Power is exposed by this image. The containment structures have failed and could not prevent the escape of radiation from the Reactor Core.

ECOLOGICAL AWARENESS OR CONSCIOUSNESS  :

 

We understand the term Evacuation, Exclusion, or Danger Zone only in terms of its significance to human beings. We need to always think of the entire Ecological Community and man simply belongs to the greater Ecological Community.

 

The nuclear disaster in Japan will give us a reason to reflect upon the fragile nature of human existence. The Earthquake and the devastating Tsunami are understandable natural calamities and man has no control on geological events and Plate Tectonics. Man has no control over the tidal waves unleashed by the earthquake. However, man has to come to terms with his dependence upon Nuclear Power. This tragedy would also give us a chance to understand the interconnectedness, interrelatedness, and the interdependence of all forms of life. Consciousness is the awareness of something; the awareness of one’s own state of existence and the awareness of the existence of other conscious entities present in the environment. A living organism’s ability to detect the presence of other living organisms in its environment is the characteristic of the biological function known as consciousness. A living cell is conscious as it displays awareness of other living cells present in its environment. The relationship between the organism and all the factors including other organisms that make up its environment is described as Ecology. Consciousness establishes the interconnectedness, the interrelatedness, and the interdependence of a diverse population of living organisms that constitute a continuous ecological chain. This disaster speaks about the effects of human made radiation; the effects on the environment, the effects on other members of human community, and the effects on the Ecological Community in the areas affected by the disaster.

 

MAN AND NATURE – WHAT IS THE RELATIONSHIP ?   : 

The Science known as Ecology, Bioecology, Bionomics, and Environmental Biology study the relationships between organisms and all factors including other organisms, that make up their environment. I derive Knowledge from Spirituality Science to understand as to how the relationship between man, and other organisms gets established.

Ecology considers organisms at the levels of individuals, populations, and communities. It will be easy to visualize the human toll in terms of sickness, death, and forced displacement of a large population of human beings. The loss, the pain, and the suffering that is endured by each human individual reveals only a part of this disaster of epic proportions. While we humans try to escape from a disaster zone or area, we need to recognize that our evacuation plans during an emergency fail to include the plant, and animal life with which we share our living environment. We need to take into account the land and water that exist in the area affected by a disaster. The problem is not that of simple relocation of human beings. The human costs are further aggravated by the lack of gasoline, the damage done to the roads and the lack of transportation to move a large number of people quickly and efficiently. The lack of food, safe drinking water, the lack of housing is often understood as a problem just affecting the human victims of the disaster. We have to give attention to the impact upon the Ecological Community as a whole. We need to understand the costs of nuclear industry, the risks it poses to life, and environment, and the long-term consequences imposed by nuclear plant shutdowns. Nuclear accidents get very dramatic attention. There is a fundamental problem with Nuclear energy it is not clean, it is not cheap, and it is not safe. It is very frightening when we face the uncertainties this disaster has imposed on us.

 

THE BIOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF RADIATION  :

The Biological effects of Radiation are well understood. The human risks from exposure to Ionizing Radiation are known. We need to realistically assess the safety levels for the entire Ecological Community.

 

The General Electric Company designed Boiling water reactors at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear plant had posed safety concerns when they went into operation during 1972. These reactors have about 1000 MW capacity per year and are similar to the Chernobyl 4 Reactor that exploded in 1986. However, in Japan, the reactors have better safety features. This type of Nuclear Crisis is an inherent risk that could happen at any time during the life of the reactor for a variety of reasons. The containment structures have faced a stress and sustained damage. The explosions on March 12 have demonstrated that the danger of radiation leak is not fully contained. These nuclear reactors built-in 1972 have an average lifespan of about 40 years and they are at the end of their operational life. We can never ignore the problem of aging that is  an inseparable characteristic of the operation of nuclear plants. We have to recognize the risks imposed by the Suppression Pools that are designed to cool and trap the radioactive particles of Iodine, Cesium, and Strontium. It has been reported that levels of 400 millisieverts per hour had been recorded near the No.4 reactor at Fukushima. At that level of radiation exposure, the operators would be at a high risk of getting radiation sickness after two and half hours of continued stay. According to the World Nuclear Association, radiation exposure to over 100 millisieverts a year can lead to cancer. It has been stated that 1,000 millisieverts of radiation exposure causes immediate or Acute Radiation Sickness. The fatal dose of radiation exposure is about 5,000 millisieverts. The biological effects of radiation are determined by the amount of energy absorbed. Energy dissipation must be quantified to determine the exposure levels. The amount of exposure, the duration of exposure, and the area of the body surface that is exposed are the important factors that determine the nature of radiation injury or illness. The radiation enters the body either as waves or as particles that are electrically charged. Radiation enters body like minute bullets that cause localized injuries in the cells affected. Whether the cell dies immediately or shows molecular changes depends upon the number of sites in the cell that are bombarded and upon how critical these locations are. In the chromosomes, the molecular DNA structure could be damaged. High radiation doses cause rapid cell death. If the cell changes are more subtle, the damage to DNA would unable the cell to reproduce, or the new cells produced could be abnormal and not viable. The tissues most affected by radiation are those that undergo rapid replacement, such as bone marrow, intestinal tract, and skin. Some of the direct effects of radiation exposure include cell depletion, inability to produce new tissue, lowered resistance to infections, decreased number of Red Blood Cells, bleeding from disrupted blood vessels, effects of toxins released by tissue breakdown, and slower blood clotting time. The indirect effects of radiation exposure include tumor growths, a shortened life span, recurrent bacterial infections, anemia, and body ulcers. The explosions at Fukushima Nuclear Plant have exposed the highly radioactive material to environment and radiation levels have increased in the surroundings and in distant areas. It is not known as to how long the population would remain exposed to radiation risk as the population could not be fully evacuated. People in the Danger Zone have been warned to stay indoors.  The longer-term exposure to radiation can raise the risk of Thyroid, and Bone cancers, and Leukemia. The incidence of birth defects and deformities would increase. People would become more vulnerable because of suppression of immunological functions. Children, pregnant women, women of child-bearing age would face the brunt of this nuclear disaster while the environment takes its time to recover. There can never be a happy ending to a very tragic story of this kind. There is no Winner and we are all Losers.

THE TWO FACES OF THE NUCLEAR INDUSTRY  :

 
Nuclear Energy - Is there a Winner? Are we all not the Losers?

 

The civilian uses of Nuclear Power often conceals the use of Nukes as weapons of warfare. The radioactive waste from both civilian and military use remains toxic for thousands of years. The waste is disposed by concentration and storage in casks. This disaster would reveal more information about the fate of highly radioactive waste that is often stored at the nuclear plant on a permanent basis.

BLESSINGS TO PEOPLE OF JAPAN  :

 

Indian tradition, in the epic story of Samudra Manthan or Churning of the Ocean, glorifies Lord Shiva who had protected humanity from utter destruction by holding a deadly poison in His throat. We need a Savior to protect humanity from deadly toxins like Plutonium.

 

I seek the Blessings of Lord Shiva to protect and defend the existence of the people of Japan and wish them a success in their efforts to contain the problem of radiation leaking into the environment.

A LESSON FOR INDIA AND ITS NUCLEAR LIABILITY  :

Japan's Nuclear Disaster offers a valuable Lesson to India. India must carefully review its Bill for Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage.

 

Kindly review my blog post titled Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill 2010 – A Himalayan Blunder.

http://bhavanajagat.wordpress.com/2010/08/22/civil-liability-for-nuclear-damage-bill-2010-a-himalayan-blunder/

TIME’S DIVINE POWER OF HEALING :

On March 11, 2012, I am pleased to share the following photographs from Japan that display Time’s Divine Power of Healing. I continue to seek the well-being of people of Japan and the full recovery of its Land and all of its inhabitants.

 

 

 

“SARVESHAM SWASTIR BHAVATU” : This is a statement expressed in Sanskrit language and it seeks the well-being of all people, of all nations, of all religions, of all races and of all living entities in their environment and community.

Dr. R. Rudra Narasimham, B.Sc., M.B.B.S.,
Kurnool Medical College, Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh, India,
M.B.B,S., Class of April, 1970.

After the Japanese Disaster, A

Reappraisal of Nuclear and the

LNG Option

by Kent Moors Ph.D. | published March 14th, 2011

After the triple blow of a massive earthquake, aftershocks, and a tsunami,

much of the infrastructure in northeast Japan is reeling, and the energy

sector is descending into a significant crisis.

Already, a casualty has emerged: The resurgence of nuclear power as an
alternative energy source worldwide has taken a direct hit.

Japan has now introduced electricity rationing, as more and more
nuclear-generated power comes off-line.

As of Sunday morning, four of the six nuclear power plants in the district
suffered damage from the natural disasters, while technicians lost the
ability to cool six nuclear reactors at two of those plants.

Three of those units are at the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (Tepco, TYO:9501) Fukishima Dai-ichi power complex, where a hydrogen explosion occurred
Saturday at Unit 1 and a separate explosion was feared likely at Unit 3.

Such explosions are in the outer building – not in the one surrounding
the reactor core itself. The Japanese facilities have two complete
structures separating the core from the outside world, unlike the
1986 Chernobyl disaster (where the plant had only a single encasement).
Nonetheless, the overriding concern in Japan is to prevent a meltdown
at each facility.

If a full meltdown occurs, a huge, molten, radioactive mass would burn
through both containments and all supporting structures, destroy the
buildings, and release a mixture of highly radioactive particles to be
spread by wind and rain.

How bad the aftermath would be depends on two things – how much
radiation is released and the weather.

At least through Wednesday (March 16), the wind is blowing out to sea,
rather than inland, toward population centers. That’s good.

However, reports yesterday about the detection of highly radioactive
cesium-137 and iodine-131 outside the Dai-ichi complex means a small
amount of dangerous radioactivity has escaped. Experts believe that
the radiation problem is thus far localized and minor. Nonetheless,
upwards of 200,000 people have been evacuated from the area
surrounding the Dai-ichi complex.

To prevent the meltdowns – the worst scenario reminiscent of the cinematic treatment in “The China Syndrome” (1979) – operators have been pumping in seawater in a last-ditch effort to cool down the reactor core. Absent another significant tremor de-stabilizing the plants even further, most specialists believe this will be successful.

But there will be some major costs.

For one thing, seawater corrodes the reactors, making them unusable. There
will be significant downtime for other reactors, as detailed technical examinations take place, to say nothing of the massive cleanup required at a number of plants.
The largest damage, however, is to the credibility of nuclear power in general.

Nuclear Expansion Plans Are Likely to Be Delayed

This calamity is not about inadequate company oversight or technical
deficiencies.

This is all about how Mother Nature can undermine even the best-laid
plans of mere mortals.

As the larger Asian region begins to ascertain the damage done to the
nuclear-as-remedy approach, major nuclear expansion plans in China, India, throughout East Asia, and in Australia are likely to be delayed. The same
goes for the two new reactors under construction in Japan and the 12 more currently in the planning stage.

The real impact, however, is likely to be felt well beyond Asia.

According to London’s World Nuclear Association, there are at present
442 reactors worldwide providing around 15% of global electricity. Plans are already announced to build more than 155 additional reactors, most of them
in Asia, with 65 reactors currently under construction.

Back at the epicenter of the present disaster, the impact upon Japanese
electricity volume is already wreaking havoc on factories attempting to
jumpstart production.

In trading today throughout Asia, shares were tumbling on concerns that
major companies would be unable to return to any normal level of production anytime soon.

The Tokyo Stock Exchange also suspended any trading in Tepco. The company
is facing an avalanche of sell orders that would greatly exceed the exchange’s
24% limit in the decline of share price.

Yet, despite the current sourcing problems, energy needs will certainly
not abate.

LNG Is the Immediate Alternative

Prior to the earthquake, 54 nuclear reactors at 17 plants nationwide
produced more than 30% of Japan’s power. Japan has already requested
additional electricity from Russia, but the rolling blackouts introduced today
will continue throughout the country.

The immediate alternative source of power will be an accelerated
usage of liquefied natural gas (LNG). Japan had traditionally been
one of the two primary users of LNG (the other being South Korea).

More recently, LNG has been increasing in transport volume throughout
the world, even establishing a northern European spot market to challenge
long-term conventional pipeline prices from Russia and prompting Canada
to revise the terminal under construction at Kitimat on the British Columbia
coast to move LNG to Asia.

In the U.S., a similar move to turn excess shale gas into LNG for export
is also afoot (see “A Solution for North America’s Natural Gas Surplus,”
November 2, 2010).

Closer to Japan, the Gorgon and other northwestern Australian projects,
along with those in Papua New Guinea and on Sakhalin Island off of the
Pacific coast of Russia, are gearing up a rising volume of LNG for export.

Much of that increase is bound for China, where five receiving terminals are right now at various stages of completion, and three additional ones are in planning.
Still, there is more volume that can be brought to market, and Japanese utilities have been actively locking in additional LNG consignments governed by multi-year contract agreements.

Japanese energy needs are tailor-made for a transition to LNG as a
rising fuel source for power generation. The country had already embarked
on a robust project to expand existing LNG terminals and build new ones
well before the earthquake occurred.

These are not coming on-line in short order…
But neither are the problems with the Japanese nuclear network
going away anytime soon.

Sincerely,
Kent

UNLIMITED LIABILITY IN NUCLEAR DAMAGE LIABILITY BILL 2010


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bharat-mata.jpg?psid=1&type=1&Bpub=SDX.Photos&Bsrc=Photomail&parid=85D13CEBE1AA70A8!197 UNLIMITED LIABILITY IN NUCLEAR DAMAGE LIABILITY BILL 2010

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The%20Divine%20Phenomenon.jpg?psid=1&type=1&Bpub=SDX.Photos&Bsrc=Photomail&parid=85D13CEBE1AA70A8!197 chernobyl-meltdown.jpg?psid=1&type=1&Bpub=SDX.Photos&Bsrc=Photomail&parid=85D13CEBE1AA70A8!197 Radiation%20Map%20-%20Chernobyl%20Disaster.jpg?psid=1&type=1&Bpub=SDX.Photos&Bsrc=Photomail&parid=85D13CEBE1AA70A8!197 Chernobyl%20%20Disaster-victim%20-%20Exposure%20to%20Radioactive%20Iodine.jpg?psid=1&type=1&Bpub=SDX.Photos&Bsrc=Photomail&parid=85D13CEBE1AA70A8!197 The%20Face%20of%20Chernobyl%20Tragedy.jpg?psid=1&type=1&Bpub=SDX.Photos&Bsrc=Photomail&parid=85D13CEBE1AA70A8!197 A psycho-neurological Boarding School for Children in Novinki, Minsk is a safe heaven for severely handicapped children, many of whom are not able to walk or get out of bed by themselves. Most pictures show the kids with nurses in the “solarium”, a small
Three%20Mile%20Island%20Nuclear%20Reactor%20Accident.jpg?psid=1&type=1&Bpub=SDX.Photos&Bsrc=Photomail&parid=85D13CEBE1AA70A8!197 Radiation%20Emissions%20and%20Cancer%20Incidence.jpg?psid=1&type=1&Bpub=SDX.Photos&Bsrc=Photomail&parid=85D13CEBE1AA70A8!197 No%20Nukes%20in%20our%20Backyard.jpg?psid=1&type=1&Bpub=SDX.Photos&Bsrc=Photomail&parid=85D13CEBE1AA70A8!197 Demand%20Zero.jpg?psid=1&type=1&Bpub=SDX.Photos&Bsrc=Photomail&parid=85D13CEBE1AA70A8!197 A%20Flame%20that%20got%20Extinguished.jpg?psid=1&type=1&Bpub=SDX.Photos&Bsrc=Photomail&parid=85D13CEBE1AA70A8!197
Human%20Egg%20Cell.jpg?psid=1&type=1&Bpub=SDX.Photos&Bsrc=Photomail&parid=85D13CEBE1AA70A8!197 Vitruvian-Man.jpg?psid=1&type=1&Bpub=SDX.Photos&Bsrc=Photomail&parid=85D13CEBE1AA70A8!197 Neela%20Kantha.jpg?psid=1&type=1&Bpub=SDX.Photos&Bsrc=Photomail&parid=85D13CEBE1AA70A8!197
Over 221,000 people have raised their voice for unlimited liability in the nuclear liability bill. The bill is going to be tabled in the Parliament today.The bill in its revised form lets foreign nuclear suppliers off the hook yet again. It completely ignores the changes suggested by the Standing Committee and supported by the people.

The Prime Minister, keen on clearing this faulty bill, is ignoring the voices of his people.

Check out this video to see what some Greenpeace activists are doing to make him hear properly. Then write to the PM asking him to incorporate supplier liability in the bill.

http://www.greenpeace.org/india/unlimited-liability

More and more letters to the Prime Minister will make it difficult for him to ignore the voices against this bill. The Government is trying to appease foreign corporations at the cost of it’s people.

Earlier the Standing Committee had made suggested changes which made the supplier liable for any nuclear accident that took place in the country. But the change made by the Cabinet makes the supplier liable only if it is proved that the nuclear accident was done deliberately. This is quite a contradiction and will help the suppliers get away very easily.

The Government is all set to repeat the mistakes of Bhopal with this bill. They have to be stopped. The PM has to follow the will of the people.

Watch this and write to the PM now.

http://www.greenpeace.org/india/unlimited-liability

Thanks a billion!

Photo of Karuna Raina
Karuna Raina
Nuclear Campaigner
Greenpeace India

CIVIL LIABILITY FOR NUCLEAR DAMAGE BILL 2010 – A HIMALAYAN BLUNDER


INDIA – THE LAND OF KARMA :

The Laws of Karma govern the lives of the People of India. It would be a grave mistake to insult Mother India by dumping Radioactive Nuclear Waste into Her lap.

India is popularly known as ‘Karma Bhumi’, or ‘Karma Kshetra’. The Laws of Karma govern the lives of the people of the Land of India. We, as Indians are destined to experience the taste of the Fruits of our own Actions either during the present stage of existence and in subsequent or future states of existence. When an action damages the Genetic Code contained in DNA, the consequences would be experienced in the lives of our children and their children. If we recklessly pollute the air we breathe, the water we drink, and contaminate the soils that support the lives of living organisms, the consequences would be experienced as long as these toxic chemicals persist in our living environment. Radioactive Chemicals are extremely hazardous to human life and to the lives of plants and animals upon whom human life depends for its own existence. Radiation damages DNA and injures the structures known as Chromosomes which carry vital hereditary information. We need to learn from the lessons of our recent past. Kindly review the Nuclear Damage caused by Nuclear Accidents at Three Mile Island during 1979, and at Chernobyl during 1986.

Nuclear Meltdown at Three Mile Island Nuclear Reactor describes the problems of equipment failure and the hazards of Nuclear Industry. In the United States, 15 Nuclear Plants were forced offline between 2000 and 2001 because of equipment failures attributed to Aging. The Costs of Maintenance and Upkeep of Equipment must be considered apart from Liability for Nuclear Damage. The Nuclear Chain Reaction damages the Nuclear Reactor Vessel.
Radiation Emissions from Three Mile Island Nuclear Accident are linked to Cancer Incidence in the Community.
The Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster of April 23, 1986 should not be erased from Human Memory.
Trans-Boundary Effects of Nuclear Accidents could be understood from this Radiation Map following Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster.
Children are extremely vulnerable to Radiation Injuries. The Thyroid Gland selectively concentrates Iodine and exposure to Radioactive Iodine causes Thyroid Cancer.

 

Nuclear Accidents are extremely expensive as we need to take care of children affected by birth defects and deformities.

PLAN FOR NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES PRIOR TO REAPING BENEFITS FROM POSITIVE CONSEQUENCES :

The Hindu Mythological Legend known as 'Samudra Manthan' narrates the importance of taking care of Negative Consequences prior to reaping the Benefits from Positive Consequences of our intended actions. India needs a Savior and Protector like Lord Shiva who could hold the extremely Hazardous Radioactive Nuclear Waste that India wants to generate by importing Nuclear Fuel and Nuclear Technology.

Indian Traditional Wisdom directs us to take into account all the consequences that result from our actions. Indeed, we plan to take action hoping to gain the rewards of the positive consequences from that intended course of action. But, Traditional Wisdom sounds the Bells of Caution. It asks us to take into account all the negative consequences of our intended action, and then it would be very easy to taste the fruits of positive consequences. India’s Epic Poem known as Bhagavata Purana narrates the Story about churning the mythical Milk Ocean to obtain the Nectar of Immortality popularly known as ‘AMRIT’. It was a herculean task. All people forgot their differences and rivalries and had joined hands in their effort to churn the Ocean described as ‘SAMUDRA MANTHAN’. They were shocked and were surprised when deadly, noxious, toxic fumes emerged threatening the existence of all living entities. Fortunately, they could seek protection of Lord Shiva who had mercifully agreed to hold and store this poison in His throat. While speaking about Radioactive Waste, we need to face it with a sense of Reality. We have no Lord Shiva who could step forward and safely store this  extremely hazardous Nuclear Waste for thousands of years. We need to have the ability to deal with this problem of a Toxic Waste which is highly persistent. We cannot afford to bury the High Level Radioactive Waste in the ground and forget about it. The storage of Nuclear Waste is an immense problem and we have not yet resolved the problems involved in storing the Radioactive Waste and monitor it for thousands of years. We need to understand the consequences from Natural Disasters like Floods and Earthquakes which could impact the Nuclear Waste Storage Sites.

SEEK FREEDOM TO LIVE IN A NUCLEAR FREE WORLD :

I am circulating a Petition that is sponsored by Greenpeace India, an Environmental Advocacy Organization. It is simply asking Shri. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India to hold further public consultations on this important issue of Liability for Nuclear Damage. This Bill when enacted into Law would impact the lives of our future generations. We need to defend the Rights of our children, and also the Rights of their children to live in a safe, and healthy environment. We cannot feed them from this Cup of Radioactive Poison that the Nuclear Industry would create by using Nuclear Fuel for Power generation.

http://www.greenpeace.org/india/stop-the-vote2

Kindly read the article written by Brahma Chellaney which was originally published in ‘The Hindu’ in its edition dated March 13, 2010.

Dr. R. Rudra Narasimham.
Kurnool Medical College, Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh, India,
M.B.B.S., Class of April, 1970.

India’s Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill – Brahma Chellaney

Brahma Chellaney | The Hindu | March 13, 2010

The government has finally released the text of its controversial nuclear-accident liability Bill. The text not only confirms the concerns expressed earlier over key elements of the proposed law, but also raises additional issues of worry. What stands out in the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill is the extent to which it goes to aid the business interests of the foreign reactor builders. In the process, the Bill seeks to financially burden the Indian taxpayer and encumber the rights of victims of any potential radioactive release from a foreign-built plant. A special Indian law limiting liability in amount and in time has been sought by Washington for its nuclear-exporting firms, with the largest two, Westinghouse and General Electric (GE), set to win multibillion-dollar contracts to build several commercial nuclear power reactors. To forestall lawsuits filed against American suppliers in US courts by victims of a nuclear catastrophe, Washington has also pressed for exclusive jurisdiction for Indian courts so that there will be no repeat of what happened after the Bhopal gas disaster. The Bill seeks to help out the US firms on these counts, going at times even beyond what American law provides.

Under the Bill, the foreign reactor builder — however culpable it is for a nuclear accident — will be completely immune from any victim-initiated civil suit or criminal proceedings in an Indian court or in a court in its home country. The Bill actually turns the legal liability of a foreign reactor supplier for an accident into mere financial compensation — that too, pegged at a pittance and routed through the Indian state operator of the plant. Foreign suppliers will have no*direct accident-related liability. The foreign builders will bask under legal immunity because the Bill channels all legal liability to the Central Government. Clause 7 states the “Central Government shall be liable for nuclear damage in respect of a nuclear incident” when such liability exceeds the Rs. 500- crore liability limit of the operator or where the accident occurs “in a nuclear installation owned by it [the Indian government].” The Union government will own all foreign-built

reactors. Indeed, the Bill creates a specious distinction between the operator and the government when both are fused in the Indian context. After all, it is the Indian state which will run all foreign-built plants through its operator, the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL). Yet, throughout the Bill, the pretence of a US-style separation between the operator and the government is maintained.

Under Clause 6, the maximum liability of the operator and the government combined has been set at “the rupee equivalent of 300 million special drawing rights (SDRs),” or Rs.2,087 crore ($458 million) — 23 times lower than what is provided under the equivalent US law, the controversial Price-Anderson Act (labelled “Half-Price Anderson” by critics). Of this, the total liability of the operator has been limited to Rs.500 crore ($109 million). The Central government will be liable for damages in excess of Rs.500 crore but only up to Rs.2,087 crore. In actual fact, all liability falls on the Indian taxpayer, whether it is the operator’s slice or the Central government’s portion. The state operator, the NPCIL, through a construction contract, can make the foreign builder legally responsible to pay compensation for an accident. But the amount payable by a foreign builder can only be up to the state operator’s own liability ceiling, which is a trifling Rs.500 crore ($109 million).

So, even if the accident were triggered by wilful negligence on the part of the foreign supplier and the consequences were catastrophic, all claims would have to be filed against the Indian state — with the NPCIL required to disburse the first Rs. 500 crore and the Central government the second portion up to Rs. 2,087 crore. The NPCIL could, in turn, try to recover its Rs. 500 crore from the foreign supplier. But for the Indian taxpayer, this is a lose-lose proposition.
That raises a fundamental question: What will it do to nuclear safety to grant foreign suppliers legal immunity upfront and to shift the liability to the Indian taxpayer? Another key issue relates to the rights of victims. The Bill ensures that victims of a disaster involving a foreign-built reactor will not be able to sue the builder in its home country. Worse still, the Bill blocks the victims from suing the foreign supplier even in Indian courts.

Only the “operator shall have a right of recourse,” according to Clause 17. The state operator can sue the foreign supplier where “such right is expressly provided for in a contract in writing” and “the nuclear incident has resulted from the wilful act or gross negligence on the part of the supplier of the material, equipment or services, or of his employee.” But such a right of recourse can only be to meet the operator’s own small liability of Rs. 500 crore. In fact, the Bill seriously shackles Indian courts. All nuclear-damage claims will be dealt with by a Claims Commissioner or a Nuclear Damage Claims Commission, and any award made “shall be final” and cannot be appealed in any court. “No civil court shall have jurisdiction to entertain any suit or proceedings in respect of any matter which the Claims Commissioner or the Commission, as the case may be, is empowered to adjudicate under this Act and no injunction shall be granted by any court or other authority in respect of any action taken or to be taken in pursuance of any power conferred by or under this Act,” according to Clause 35.

By contrast, the Price-Anderson Act permits economic (but not legal) channelling of liability, thereby allowing lawsuits and criminal proceedings against the reactor builder or any other party in US courts. That is a key reason why the US has not joined the Vienna or Paris convention — the two main international liability instruments. But the US has become party to another convention it helped draft under the auspices of the IAEA — the Convention on Supplementary Compensation (CSC), which is still not in force. The CSC, as the name suggests, is about compensation through an international fund, to be paid “supplementary” to the liability limit. The Bill also limits liability in time, with Clause 18 stating: “The right to claim compensation for any nuclear damage caused by a nuclear incident shall extinguish if such claim is not made within a period of 10 years from the date of incident…” That provision was retained despite the Environment Ministry’s note of caution — revealed by this newspaper — that the 10-year time limit was untenable because damage to human health from a serious radioactive release “involves changes in DNAs, resulting in mutagenic and teratogenic changes, which take a long time to manifest.”

And although the Finance Ministry, in its comments on the Bill, had warned the proposed law would “expose the government to substantial liabilities for the failings of the private sector,” the Bill essentially seeks to give foreign reactor builders a free ride at the Indian taxpayer’s expense. The Indian Bill, in effect, amounts to a huge hidden subsidy by protecting foreign reactor builders from the weight of the financial consequences of accidents. If the Bill is passed, the costs of doing business in India for foreign suppliers will be low but the assured profits will be high. To cover the maximum potential compensation payable for an accident, a foreign builder will need to take insurance for a mere Rs. 500 crore. What is more, the foreign builders are being freed from the task of producing electricity at marketable rates. The NPCIL will run the foreign-built reactors, with the state subsidising the high-priced electricity generated.

India is under no international obligation to pass such a law. In fact, efforts to create common international standards on liability and compensation since the Chernobyl disaster have made exceedingly slow progress. Yet the Bill’s accompanying “Statement of Objects and Reasons” creates the deceptive impression that the proposed law aims to bring India in line internationally. If anything, the Bill seeks to set a wrong international precedent by its mollycoddling of foreign suppliers. To be sure, technological improvements in reactor-safety systems have significantly lowered the risks of a major nuclear accident. Yet nuclear technology remains intrinsically dangerous, and a single catastrophe anywhere in the world will impose colossal, long-term costs and have a chilling effect on the global appeal of nuclear power. Given the nuclear safety and security issues that have been highlighted by recent incidents in India, accident liability is a matter demanding serious consideration. The government must answer the central question: In seeking to invite US reactor builders, should a poor country rush to pass a special law that skews the business terms in their favour, gratuitously burdens the Indian taxpayer and ignores the lessons of the Bhopal gas disaster.

INDIA’S NUCLEAR DAMAGE LIABILITY BILL 2010


India is planning to import Light Water Nuclear Reactors, Nuclear Fuel, and Nuclear Technology from the Private US Nuclear Companies. We should not forget the CHERNOBYL Disaster of April, 1986. US Nuclear Companies should be fully responsible and accountable for the Nuclear Fuel, the Nuclear Waste, and all Nuclear Related Damage.

 

INDIA’S NUCLEAR DAMAGE LIABILITY BILL 2010 : 

Greenpeace India had protested the Civil Liabilities for Nuclear Damage Bill of 2009. I would ask Greenpeace to protest India's Nuclear Damage Liability Bill 2010.

I had worked for GREENPEACE USA Inc for ten years ( 1986 to 1996 ) and as a former Voting Member of Greenpeace USA, I can rightly take credit for stopping US Nuclear Industry in its tracks. United States citizens are more aware of nuclear issues and the communities are very united in their resolve to defend their rights in the event of a nuclear accident. I wonder as to how we could stop this Bill from being enacted. We had failed in Bhopal and we are willing to fail again and again. This Nuclear Damage Liability Bill would protect US Nuclear Companies even when they are criminally negligent. The problem is India’s Democracy is not structured to serve its people. It only serves to install people into the seats of Power. Would it be possible to contact all the Members of Parliament through e-mail? People should have the courage to speak their mind and tell that this Bill is wrong. This Bill is a farce. It does not protect People. It does not protect the Environment. The potential victims of Nuclear Accidents must fully understand the terms and limits imposed upon Compensation in the eventuality of Nuclear Damage. Inida must not join ‘The Convention on Supplementary Compensation’ without fully informing public about their Rights in case of Nuclear Damage. The Prime Minister and the President should be told that they cannot make these decisions without input from Public. They should hold Public hearings on this issue and seek comments from all communities where they are planning to have nuclear installations supplied by US Nuclear Companies. 

Dr. R. Rudra Narasimham, 

Kurnool Medical College, Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh, India, 

M.B.B.S., Class of April 1970. 

RADIATION HAZARDS HAVE TO BE CLEARLY UNDERSTOOD AND PEOPLE HAVE A RIGHT TO DEFEND THEMSELVES FROM NUCLEAR DAMAGE.

Kindly review this important article by Dr.A.Gopalakrishnan, former Chairman of the
Atomic Safety Regulatory Board of India. From: Rediff News (Aug. 13, 2010) 

http://news.rediff.com/column/2010/aug/13/nuclear-liability-bill-pms-gift-to-the-us.htm 

Nuclear Liability Bill  

Prime Minister’s Gift to the U.S 

By 

Dr.A.Gopalakrishnan 

The Statement of Objects and Reasons accompanying the draft Nuclear Damage Liability Bill 2010 brings out two major reasons for introducing this Bill at this time . Firstly , it is said that “as a result of the steps taken particularly in the recent period” , nuclear industry in India is expected to form an important part of the energy mix of the country. These recent steps mentioned here appear to be a reference to the Indo-US Nuclear Deal which the Prime Minister had put in place during the UPA-1 government , in spite of wide-spread opposition . Secondly , the government argues that the geographic scope of damage caused by a nuclear accident may have trans-boundary effects in neighbouring countries , and it is desirable that protection is accorded to victims by a third party liability regime . On this basis , a case is made that such an appropriate international liability regime is the Convention on Supplementary Compensation (CSC) , to join which it is essential that our National Liability Legislation must be framed in line with the CSC Annex. 

The government has never established the case that import of about 40,000 MWe worth Light Water Reactors (LWRs) is essential to ensure the long-term energy security of India. At what enormous capital cost we plan to acquire these power sources , what will be the ultimate cost of electricity per unit when all elements of cost are factored in , at what substantially enhanced risks to the public’s life , health and the environment will these reactors be set up , etc. are just few of the questions for which no answers have been given by the Government in the last five years since the nuclear policy reversals were initiated . In short , the assertion of the government that importing 40,000 MWe of LWRs , in the 2015-2035 period , will be the only solution to ensure our long-term energy security is a theory which appears to have been advanced only to facilitate the government’s intent to provide a substantial market in India for the US nuclear industry , perhaps as a partial price for cementing the Indo-US strategic alliance , which appears to be the Prime Minister’s life’s ambition during his official tenure. 

In pushing for India to accede to the CSC , the government’s overt implication is that a good portion of the liability for trans-boundary effects in neighbouring countries , arising from an Indian nuclear accident , will be met from part of the collective contributions from the CSC members. What the government is hiding from the Parliament and the public is the fact that our joining the CSC will not bring in any additional international financial assistance in such an instance as long as our neighbours , namely , Pakistan , Bhutan , Bangaladesh , and Sri Lanka do not also become members of the CSC. These countries are the ones who are most likely to suffer from trans-boundary impacts due to an Indian nuclear accident . But they are not members of the CSC today , and have indicated no interest at all in acceding to the CSC in the future . 

Furthermore , the government has conveniently hidden from the Parliament and the public that only non-military , IAEA-safeguarded nuclear facilities will be eligible for listing under the CSC and for deriving any benefits from it . By 2014 , India will have twenty-one operating nuclear power reactors , of which only fourteen are planned to be put under IAEA safeguards . Thus , the entire set of remaining nuclear power & military reactors , including the CIRUS & Dhruva reactors in BARC , and the potentially much more hazardous weapons facilities and laboratories , the plutonium reprocessing plants , radioactive waste storage & processing facilities , the high-risk submarine test reactor , and the even higher risk reactor operated in our nuclear submarine etc. will NOT be eligible for any share of the CSC collective compensation , in case of an accident , since they do not qualify as safeguarded “peaceful” nuclear installations. 

The compulsion that the Nuclear Liability Bill should be consistent with the CSC Annex has also distorted what normally one would expect to be covered in a national nuclear liability legislation . A case in point is the omission of hazardous incidents which could arise from the misuse of radioactive sources , like the incident which happened in the recent past in Delhi. Since the CSC Annex disallows any “nuclear damage” arising from mishandling of fabricated radioactive sources or devices used in industry, medicine, agriculture, commerce or scientific research from being eligible for compensation , the government has also decided to discard the legal compensation rights of Indian victims who might suffer damages from radioactive sources from the purview of the national nuclear liability bill. 

So , why is the UPA government putting forth this false pretext and urgency to introduce the Liability Bill , ostensibly to take care of trans-boundary effects and the envisaged acceleration of the nuclear power program ? The true reason for the urgency for getting the Liability Bill passed is to meet the written commitment given by the Prime Minister and the UPA-1 government , way back in September 2008 , that India shall purchase a minimum of 10,000 MWe of US reactors , and that we shall take all steps necessary to adhere to the Convention on Supplementary Compensation (CSC) .These two promises from the Government of India are explicitly stated in the letter dated September 10 , 2008 from our Foreign Secretary to the US Undersecretary of State , sent out under the instructions of the Prime Minister . He made this commitment on his own , without even informing the Parliament or the public at any time. This sell-out to the Americans has also been kept hidden from the Parliament in all the deliberations on the liability bill , while the desirability of joining the CSC is being argued on the basis of other false and baseless pretexts. 

To understand the US tactics to put pressure on our Prime Minister , to which he succumbed rather readily , see the dateline of four crucial events given below: 

  1. The third and final draft of the NSG document giving non-proliferation clearance to the Indian civilian nuclear program was discussed at the NSG forum and concurred with on September 4-5 , 2008 . The US government took the lead in piloting the draft through the NSG .
  2. Foreign Secretary Menon is directed by the PM to write an official letter to the US Undersecretary of State , promising India’s willingness to place orders on US nuclear companies for a minimum of 10,000 MWe of LWRs ; and that India shall take all steps necessary to adhere to the Convention on Supplementary Compensation (CSC) . He wrote this letter on September 10, 2008.
  3. The US State Department introduced the 123 Agreement Bill in the US Congress on September 23-24 , 2008.
  4. US President signed the India-US 123 Agreement into law on October 8, 2008.

It is obvious what was happening here . At the instance of the US & Indian Business lobbies , the US State Dept. held up the forward movement of the 123 Agreement onto the US Congress until the written promise of India was conveyed from Delhi on India’s agreement to join the CSC and our willingness to purchase at least 10,000 MWe of US reactors . The US , in turn , delivered their part of the bargain of obtaining the NSG clearance , before such a letter of promise from India was to be delivered , but waited for India’s letter to arrive before they took the next step . It is obvious that the sequence of events which unfolded was agreed before-hand between the UPA government and the US administration . By sending out that letter , the PM had written off much of the crucial legal cover for potential nuclear accident victims in the future . 

The Prime Minister’s unilateral promise to the US government on the CSC was given in his anxiety to further the Indo-US strategic alliance , for which the Americans demanded this as part of the price. This unwarranted written assurance given by the PM in 2008 , to help obtain the NSG clearance and the passage of the 123 Agreement through the US Congress , has now come to haunt the government in the context of the Liability Bill . 

Why are the Americans insisting that India must join the CSC ? Because , they do not want any US nuclear supplier to face the kind of trauma and legal problems experienced by Warren Anderson and the Union Carbide Company in the past , following the Bhopal incident. The US government and the business entities in both countries know that to be accepted as a member country of the CSC , India’s own Nuclear Liability Law has to be first enacted , and it is mandatory that this Law is fully consistent with all the stipulations of the Annexure of the CSC. This condition will be imposed because India is not a member of the Vienna Convention on Nuclear Liability . Among other things , what the CSC Annex insists on is that the National Law should legally channel the liability for all nuclear accidents in India solely and absolutely to the “operator” of the facility , absolving all others including the suppliers of the equipment & systems from any criminal or civil liability . Further , the CSC Annex wants the quantum and period for such compensation to be limited , the jurisdiction of all cases arising from claims to be settled only with Indian courts , etc. This would mean the National Law cannot have unlimited cap for compensation , and victims of accidents can neither sue the foreign reactor suppliers nor can they approach the US courts in appeal . Thus , the Americans thought of this strategy in 2008 and ensured that India commits then itself to joining the CSC in due course , before they went ahead with the nuclear deal . Other than this well-targeted and consistent American pressure , there is no logical reason why India needs to join any international nuclear liability regime – neither the Vienna Convention nor the CSC. Suppressing this real background , the government has now presented the Liability Bill to the Parliament , citing some baseless and false premises of an entirely different nature . 

As per the current Atomic Energy Act of India, nuclear reactors can be set up either directly by government , or a public sector undertaking like NPCIL , or by a “Government Company” , in which upto 49 % of the share capital can be held by a private company . If all expenses for setting up and operating nuclear plants come from the tax-payer eventually , as is the case if the operator is the government or a public sector company , then there is no need for an artificial split of the total compensation into two parts , a smaller part to be borne by the operator and the larger share by the government , since both these amounts will be coming from public funds . But, when a “Government Company” is the operator , upto 49 % of the share capital could be from a Private Sector Energy company and the private company will also take upto 49% of the profit . But , the private party will have to also bear upto 49% of the compensation payment . To help out these business entities , under pressure from their federations , the government has split the compensation into two parts in the Bill , and now the private party has to pay only upto 49% of the smaller part of the compensation ear-marked for the “operator”. 

Furthermore , the government’s intention is to first get the Liability Bill passed , and then to amend the Atomic Energy Act to allow 100 % private ownership and profit-taking by private energy companies. Then , the current wording of the Bill will allow these private entities to get away by paying a small share of the total compensation burden , leaving the government (tax-payer) to shoulder the bulk of the liability . This is the Manmohan Singh doctrine of encouraging the private sector at the expense of the law-abiding tax-payers ! When it is the reaping of profits from the nuclear sector , it will go to the private companies , and when it comes to the large liabilities arising out of their negligence , bulk of it will be borne by the ordinary citizens of this country. 

Therefore , the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill 2010 currently before the Parliament is a US-centric Bill , drafted primarily to satisfy the US demands and Business interests , ditching the rights of Indian victims wherever this was necessary to make the Bill conform to the CSC Annex . The Parliament must , therefore , reject the Nuclear Liability Bill as it now stands and ask the government to redraft it as an India-centric legislation and resubmit it for consideration. 

[ Dr.Gopalakrishnan was the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board of the Government from 1993-1996. He can be reached at : agk37@hotmail.com ] 

SEEK FREEDOM TO LIVE IN A NUCLEAR FREE WORLD.