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From Koodankulam to Kolar: Nuclear killing fields of India keep on expanding

 

Monday June 09, 2014

India, Koodankulam, Kolar, Nuclear Plant, Nuclear Waste  
 

"It’s for the safety and interests of the common people that the Indian government should not go against the anti-nuclear trend of the world to promote the interests of the United States, Russia and France while exposing the people of our country to the nuclear hazards in Koodankulam, or Kolar or anywhere else."

 

HNF Correspondent

 
 

The nuclear plant of Koodankulam is not only going to snatch away the sources of life of lakhs of people, but its waste management design is further going to badly affect the life of about one crore population living in Tamil nadu, karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Condemning such plans without any consultation with and approval of people, Koodankulam People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) has expressed its concern over such plans by the Indian government and Department of Atomic Energy (DAE).

As it is known from the reply made by India’s Solicitor General to a Supreme Court Judges’ query about where the Koodankulam spent fuels would be transported to, the wastes are to be deported to the deep mining places in Kolar, Karnataka. Rohit Nariman admitted in the open court that Kolar had been identified as the final long-term geological repository for long-life nuclear wastes.

 

In the Affidavit about long-term Deep Geological Repository (DGR), filed on 7 November, 2012, Ashok Chauhan, Executive Director of NPCIL stated, “It is submitted that in India, the need of DGR will arise only after a few decades from now. However, research and development work is in progress for over three decades in the field of in-situ experiments, natural barrier characterisation, numerical modelling, conceptual design and natural analogue of waste forms and repository processes. Keeping in line with the international developments, the initial focus of work in eighties mainly centred on setting up generic Underground Research Laboratories (URL) in one of the abandoned mines in India and resulted in the development of an underground chamber in Kolar gold mine located in South India. Current efforts within the Indian geological repository programme are directed towards granite based URL. In India, we have granite rock formation spread all over the country. As such setting up of a deep geological repository is not much of a technological challenge, but as is the case internationally everywhere, it is more of a socio-political issue."

It is a fact that the Underground Research Laboratory (URL) in Kolar was opened in 1964 mainly as a neutrino laboratory. According to DAE's own documents, the lab was shut down in 1992 following closure of the mines. The department must share the waste depository studies and analyses with the local public and the State Government of Karnataka.

However, S. K. Malhotra, the spokesperson for the DAE has claimed that the department has no plans to dump any nuclear waste either from Kudankulam or any other nuclear plant anywhere near Kolar. If Kolar was never in the reckoning, then where did Mr. Nariman get this idea from? Who is speaking the truth and who is not? All we can deduce from this culture of nuclear deception is that Kolar Gold Fields (KGF) is going to be the nuclear killing fields of India.

KGF is about 30 kilometers from Kolar and 100 kilometers from Bengaluru (Bangalore) city. It is right in the heart of southern India where three big states, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, intersect. This is a highly populated area. The populations figures, as per 2011 estimate, of the three adjacent districts like Kolar (Karnataka), Chitoor (Andhra Pradesh) and Krishnagiri (Tamil Nadu) is 1540231, 4170468 and 1883731 respectively.

Such a dense population, however, does not deter the Indian government or the DAE from setting up the dump site at Kolar for they attach more value to the interests of their own and that of the United States, Russia and France than the lives and interests of the common Indians.

The elevation of Kolar is 3,981 m (13,061 ft) where as it is 631 m in case of Krishnagiri, 224 for Velore, 468 for Dharmapuri and 168 in case of Thiruvannamalai, all lying just south of the Kolar area. One can easily imagine the impact of this dangerous and deadly nuclear waste that will be lying there on the ground water of the low-lying Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.

The DAE, as usually, has not shared any basic information on the Kolar plan with the local people, or people’s representatives or the press regarding the plan and its possible impacts.

When all the national roads transport the deadly nuclear cargo to Kolar, millions and millions of our people in Karnataka, Andhra and Tamil Nadu will be exposed to all kinds of threats and dangers. It’s to be noted that nuclear waste management is much more expensive and dangerous than nuclear power plants and even the most developed countries such as the United States and Germany are not able to handle the waste effectively.

It’s for the safety and interests of the common people that the Indian government should not go against the anti-nuclear trend of the world to promote the interests of the United States, Russia and France while exposing the people of our country to the nuclear hazards in Koodankulam, or Kolar or anywhere else, appealed the Struggle Committee of Koodankulam People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy.

 
 

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