Nuclear deal, Nuclear Plant and now the consequences

Some Questions Raised by the Contamination Incident at Kaiga By Surendra Gadekar

The contamination of at least 55 workers at the Kaiga nuclear power plant is a personal tragedy for them and their families. Everyone of us who have been opposing this dangerous and unforgiving technology, are sympathetic to their plight and wish them a speedy recovery and no long term health costs due to this incident/accident.

The incident does raise some serious questions regarding safety practices at nuclear installations in the country. The explanations offered by various functionaries in the nuclear establishment have been rather inadequate and sometimes fanciful.

It needs to be noted that nuclear power plants have been under a state of “high alert” ever since the arrest of Mr David Coleman Headley and Mr Tahawwur Rana on suspicions of terrorist activity. Newspaper reports have spoken of nuclear power plants being mentioned in the papers found during interrogation of these two. Supposedly, security has been “beefed up.” So it is all the more surprising that anyone can “cause mischief” by adulterating drinking water at a cooler with tritium.

The official explanation of a “disgruntled” employee causing “mischief” raises more questions than it answers.

Firstly, if some “insiders” are so callous as to indulge in an attempt to cause serious bodily harm to random fellow workers, does it not say something on the process of recruitment itself and also on the level of employee job satisfaction within the nuclear power corporation? What is to prevent more “disgruntled” elements from sabotaging vital reactor safety systems and putting the public and surrounding countryside at grave risk? If the heightened security system is so lax as to allow such shenanigans, how can the public have trust in their abilities to provide vital fool-proof security. An “accident” whether caused by a natural calamity, or by operator error, or by instrument or design failure or through a deliberate act of sabotage can cause serious damage whose effects would last a long, long time to come.

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