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Anumukti_VOL-10_NO-1

VIEWS: 6 PAGES: 17

  • pg 1
									                                              ANUMUKTI
              A Journal Devoted to Non-Nuclear India
Anumukti: Volume 10. Number 1                                                                        August / September 1996



                      Koodankulam Reactors :
                                                                    - A Bad Bargain !
    Megaprojects never die. Neither do        people of Koodankulam and the rest        caily have run at 41 per cent of their
they, like old soldiers, just fade away But   of India would have been spared           rated capacity, are never going to be
sometimes like an incurable cancer, they      this assault for some more time           net producers of energy Thus under-
have periods of remission. With luck,         Now. there is no alternative but          taking to build a nuclear power plant
these periods of remission can last for       struggle.                                 is the surest way of deepening a power
years. But then the inevitable follows and       Regular readers of Anumukti are        shortage into an immediate crisis
the prognosis is not good                     well aware that no kind of nuclear            Secondly, these proposed reactors
    Nuclear reactors at Koodankulam are       power plant is safe enough or clean       arc the wrong size. A study done in
a case in point. They have been in the        enough or cheap enough for any            the US regarding the optimum size of
news for donkey s years. Even during          society in the world. However, in         a power station with respect to the grid
Breznev's time there was talk galore. A       the following, for the sake of dis-       size showed that for a 57.000 Mega-
memorandum of understanding was               cussion, let us grant that India is in    watt grid, the best size of the plant was
signed and the site surveyed for transport    such a dire need of electric power        100 to 150 Megawatts Having a huge
of heavy equipment as early as 1988           (a very dubious thesis in the first       sized plant in a midget sized grid is
That was the time when the people had a       place) that there is no alternatives      the surest way of ensuring that the sup-
lucky break. Soviet Union, which was to       but to have nuclear reactors at           ply is going to be even more unreli-
supply the two thousand Megawatt reac-        Koodankulam. Even granting these          able than at present. The unreliability
tors, collapsed due to its own internal       absurd propositions, these reactors       of the present supply, means an addi-
contradictions of being a closed and au-      are a bad bargain by any reckoning.       tional 15 percent loss of electricity as
tocratic system. The nuclear disaster in a       First of all for the next twenty       people ( who can pay for it) try to en-
newly built Soviet reactor at Chernobyl       years at least they will intensify the    sure reliability through use of invert-
in 1986 and attempt by the Soviet lead-       power crisis. Studies have conclu-        ers and batteries And industry and
ership to suppress information about the      sively shown that nuclear power           small businesses try to exploit the
catastrophe, also contributed. However,       plants, if run very efficiently are net   kerosene—diesel subsidy by going in
this time people have not been so lucky.      producers of energy only in the last      for diesel based generating sets
If only the cardiac arrest of Deve Gouda      few years of their existence. Indian          Thirdly, Koodankulam is a bad site
government had come a few weeks early,        nuclear power plants, which histori-      It is located in the extreme south of
                               A Fate Worse than Chemobyl?
     The diktat of the producers over the consumers was later identified by glasnost as the main weakness of the Soviet
  economy Lest we forget in Koodankulam, we are the consumers.
     Soviet industry was incapable of building large pressure vessels required for the VVER (the type proposed for
   Koodankulam). That is why priority was given to the RBMK (the Chernobyl type) design. To provide an industrial
 'base for VVER systems, Atommash was established to manufacture pressure vessels and other components.
     Atommash was a key project in the Soviet energy programme. Due to political considerations (the region's party
  secretary was a close friend of Breznev), it was decided to locate the plant in Rostov region. Planners and builders
  were in such a hurry to build that they had omitted to make a proper geological survey of the site. It turned out to be
  unsuitable for the plant and the new town of Volgodonsk. They were built below a hydroelectric dam across the river
  Don. The chernozen soil was a poor protection against the pressure of the water mass above the level of the site. The
  area around the town gradually became a swamp. This was a fairly common problem with Soviet hydroelectric
  projects. (Tawa dam engineers- you arc not alone!) By the time the project was nearing completion, Volgodonsk
  was already a town of 100,000 people. So the problem was simply covered up.
     In 1983. sinking foundations caused one of the plants huge walls to collapse suddenly.
                                                                    From Zhores Medvedev's The Legacy of Chernobyl
     It is on the assumed competence of people with such an outstanding past record that we are willing to put not
  only ourselves but more so, our neighbours in Sri Lanka in jeopardy. - Editor.

 the country in a drought prone region.       that the Chernobyl design was in fact      operating nuclear plant and dash for gas
 Water used for cooling the reactors          safer and better than the presently        and cogeneration. It is only in coun-
 (and huge amounts arc required) is to        proposed VVER kind. ( See                  tries where bureaucrats and politicians
 be taken from a dam which was meant          Box) These have a narrow pressure          have an incurable habit of squandering
 for irrigation in this water scarce area.    vessel, with the result that the fuel      public money, that nuclear power gets
 The farmers of the region were already       elements lie much closer to the sur-       considered.
 up in arms against this hijacking in         face of the vessel. Constant imping-
 1988.                                        ing of high speed neutrons causes the          If India wants to play Santa Clause
                                              vessel to become brittle with time and     to our poor cousins the Russians, let us
    Nuclear power plants by their very                                                   by all means gift them two billion dol-
 nature need large steady customers for       this could lead to catastrophic failure.
                                                                                         lars. But why should we saddle our-
 their power. There are none such any            Having a large number of differ-        selves with a non performing and dan-
 where in the vicinity, thus the power        ent reactor systems in India is in it-     gerous poison producing plant in ex-
 produced here would need transporta-         self a safety hazard. Personnel have       change?
 tion over large distances to consum-         to be trained in handling these differ-
 ing centres thus contributing to the         ent systems and they are then of not                              Surendra Gadekar
 already huge transmission and distri-        much use in handling problems in
 bution losses.                               other reactors. For a small nuclear
                                              programme like in India this diversi-
                                                                                           Anumukti Family News:
    There are also international ramifi-                                                     By this time you may have re-
cations of siting the reactors at             fication introduces additional unnec-
                                              essary vulnerabilities.                     ceived the Chernobyl Special Issue.
Koodankulam The Sri Lanka coast is                                                        As promised, the Aug./Sept 1996 is-
just 20 kilometres away, and the deci-           But all these points arc mere aca-       sue is in your hands. We have not
sion is bound to create an additional        demic quibbling. In reality, nuclear         heard from most of you for over an
source of friction in a relationship         power plants are a dead technology.          year. The postcard price is still 15
which shows signs of some improve-           And costly to boot! In countries             paise, so do drop us a line confirm-
ment after being many years in the           which allow the markets to decide the        ing your correct address and com-
doldrums                                     choice of technology, nuclear power          municate to us your interests and
    Fourthly, the reactors arc the wrong     is well on the way to joining the dodo.      comments.
design and have many safety associ-          In USA, many even very efficiently
                                                                                             We are in the process of upgrad-
ated problems Indian nucleocrats will        run plants arc finding it increasingly
                                                                                          ing our address lists and we find that
no doubt point to the fact that they are     difficult to survive in an open and
                                                                                          many of you arc yet to renew your
not the Chernobyl kind. But it is a fact     deregulated market. Every month
                                                                                          subcriptions.
that before the disaster at Chernobyl.       brings news of some group of utility
                                             executives deciding to shut down an                                Anumukti Team
Soviet nuclcocrats were convinced                                                                                        30/47/97


Anumukti    Vol. 10   No. 1                                      2                                       AUGUST / September 1996
                                    The Selge of Gorleben

  T     he facts and figures arc self-
        evident and telling. It took the
        largest security operation in
  postwar German history—-the mobili-
                                              WHAT PRICE
                                              THE
                                                                                             A mite down the road, there arc
                                                                                         more barricades, made up of downed
                                                                                         trees, dirt, concrete, and whatever lo-
                                                                                         cal people could find Underneath the
  zation of 30,000 police—to move six                                                    barricades, the road has been com-
  radioactive waste transport canisters a
  few hundred miles from southern Ger-
                                              ATOMIC STATE?                              pletely dug out—just a few inches of
                                                                                         road and then holes several feet deep
  many to the northern farm town of                                                      If the 100-ton CASTOR casks in to
  Gorleben.                                                                              move down this road, it will collapse
     There, the casks are placed in "in-                  SIX CASKS                      No. the CASTOR casks will not be us-
  terim storage, inside a building that                                                  ing this road today, indeed, no one will
  from the outside looks like nothing so                                                 be using this road for weeks, perhaps
  much as a soft drink bottling ware-                   173 INJURED                      months to come
  house.
                                                                                             Above us. police helicopters circle
     Along the way to the small city of                                                  constantly, the noise of their blades is
  Dannenberg, the casks faced rail sabo-              300 ARRESTED                       so common by now that it is just back-
  teurs, people blockades, and two peo-                                                  ground Over a public address system
  ple who cemented themselves to the                                                     set up in a car parked in a farmer's
  tracks (the police couldn't remove             20,000 PROTESTORS                       front yard, there is an announcement
  them. and eventually removed and re-                                                   Mona translates for me the helicop-
  placed the tracks instead).                                                            ters may be landing, don't panic
                                                      30,000 POLICE
      At Dannenberg. the casks were                                                         But a few farmers do panic, and
  lifted by a huge crane from the rail cars                                              suddenly tractors arc moving every-
  to trucks, in preparation for the final                                                where. There is far more danger from
  14 miles of road transit into Gorkeben
                                              ONE HUNDRED MILLION
                                                                                         the chaotic tractor movements than
  When the casks finally reached their              DOLLARS                              from, anything else we have so far
  destination 36 hours later, the costs                                                  seen
  were just beginning to be tallied
                                                 The facts and figures are easy: it is      The helicopters land, and 40-50
     More than 150 demonstrators and          the atmosphere, the sounds, the feel-      not-equipped German police jump out
  20 police were injured Some 500 peo-        ings, the experience, that is much         and run toward the tractor barricade
  ple were arrested. At least 20.000          harder to describe...                      Before anyone can react, they begin
  protestors were involved in the final                                                  slashing the tires and trashing the lead
  stages, although the number across the      Wednesday, March 5. morning                tractors—the lifeblood of these farm-
  country was probably far higher. The        No Roads, No Waste                         ers
  transport cost Germany, according to        Mona. a German student and activist,
  newspaper accounts, $100 million, not                                                     The townspeople quickly regroup
                                              and I walk to a small farming village
  to mention the support of the police                                                   and charge the police, who retreat
                                              about 2 miles from Dannenberg The
  union, which has called for no more                                                    running, perhaps embarrasedly. down
                                              CASTOR (Cask for Storage and Trans-        a country lane The helicopters land
  waste shipments.
                                              port of Radioactive Material) casks        again in a nearby field, and to taunts
    And northern Germany, in an area          have not yet begun moving, but they        and angry gestures, the police climb
  known as Wendland, had become a             will soon—but not on this, the pre-        back in the helicopters and fly away
  war zone.                                   ferred road.
                                                 In the center of the village, about         The US couldn't have done it bet-
                                              80 tractors are parked together—some       ter in Vietnam And the police have
      ANUMUKTI SALUTES                        arc chained together—in a barricade        made enemies for life of the people
                                              passable only by brute force.              who grow their food And the casks
      THE PEOPLE OF
                                                                                         arc not even going to move through
      WENDLAND                                                                           here, the road is completely impass-



Anumukti Vol.10 No.1                                              3                                    August / September 1994
   able and has been for days. It is         what happens this week. The crowd           Tuesday, March 4
   harrassment and destruction by the        needs no German translation, it roars       Every House Says NO!
   police, pure and simple Someone           its approval                                We have become an official "ob-
   yells out in black humor: call the po-                                                server" team, which mostly means
   lice, someone is damaging our tractors.      On the way to the rally, I did a lit-    that we can get through police lines.
   But. here, a few miles from Gorleben,     tic quick math. The CASTOR                  And there are plenty of police lines
   in the midst of an undeclared war zone,   protestors are trying to stop the ship-
                                                                                         to get through. Roads are blocked off
   the atomic stale has revealed its true    ment of specuclear waste casks. I point
                                                                                         for miles leading to the Dannenberg/
   colors it is a police state,              out that in the U.S., we are facing the
                                                                                         Gorleben area. But the police, mostly
                                             possibility of the transport of six casks
                                                                                         from out-of-the-area. don't know the
                                             through Las Vegas every day for 30
   Lueneburg. Saturday, March I                                                          region, and every direction sign has
                                             years. The crowd boos and yells. And
   International Problems                                                                been blacked out by protestors. A few
                                             I conclude by saying that this is an in-
   Demand International Actions                                                          roads, mostly one-lane farm roads, re-
                                             ternational problem and demands in-
                                                                                         main passable
   Lueneburg is a beautiful, peaceful city   ternational action. The crowd agrees.
   of 60,000. Untouched by Allied bomb-                                                      Traveling through the area, one
                                             A few years ago, I didn't think that.
   ing, many of its buildings date to the                                                fact quickly becomes clear: the oppo-
                                             Now, it is very clear: our concerns are
                                                                                         sition to the waste transport, and to
   14th and 15th centuries, and have been    the same, the companies involved are
                                                                                         nuclear power generally, is virtually
   lovingly restored There is a univer-      the same, the solutions arc the same.
                                                                                         unanimous The battle has been go-
   sity, and an activist student union       We must knit into a solid international
                                                                                         ing on here for 20 years, since the
   which a couple of years ago decided       movement if we are to beat the nuclear
                                                                                         government first announced it would
   there needed to be better international   industry at its own game.
   contacts among grassroots anti-nu-                                                    build a reprocessing center at
   clear activists.                                                                      Gorleben. as well as interim and per-
      The first conference, held in March                                                manent waste dumps, and perhaps a
                                                                                         reactor to power it all.
   1996. was not well-funded, but none-
   theless brought together activists from                                                  The area was considered to be con-
   about a dozen countries. It was con-                                                  servative and not nearly as likely to
   sidered a success, and this year, with                                                block the government's plans as the
   a little more funding in hand, the con-                                               more activist-oriented South. But pro-
   ference titled simply the 2nd inter-                                                  posed nuclear projects have a way of
   national anti-nuclear conference"                                                     turning conservatives into activists.
   brings together about 60-70 activists                                                 The reprocessing center has long been
   from 28 countries.                                                                    cancelled, and the resistance to the
      The conference was p l a n n e d                                                   waste dumps is massive
  months ago. it wasn't until the last                                                       The symbol of the movement is an
  couple of weeks that organizers                                                        X. Every farmhouse, every
  learned the CASTOR casks would be                                                      townhouse. every household displays
  moving to Gorleben, just 40 miles              Gorleben Will Live                      an X. Some are quite elaborate, many
  away, around the same time The con-                                                    arc yellow, made of wood. Some arc
  ference goes on. but with a bit of an         At the same time as the rally in
                                                                                         glass, some arc metal. Almost every
  edge to it.                                Lueneburg, 10,000 more protest in
                                                                                         house also has anti-CASTOR posters
                                             Dannenburg Meanwhile, in
     On the first day of the conference,                                                 in its windows; many have anti-nu-
                                             Dannenburg. the police attempt to req-
  there is a large rally in Lueneburg.                                                   clear banners as well.
                                             uisition a schoolhouse to serve as a
  15,000 people gather in a town square      temporary barracks. Too late: the              The War Zone demarcations be-
  to oppose the radioactive waste trans-     schoolchildren have barricaded them-        come clear: police convoys barrel
  port Myself and Mario Wan/a from           selves inside the building and refuse       down two-lane farming roads while
  the South African Mineworkers Un-          to allow the police in. But the police      the residents promote active resist-
  ion, were asked to speak.                  move in force, and throw the children       ance.
                                             out of their school. The Dannenberg
     The day before, the Bonn govern-
                                             officials arc unhappy with the police.          Near the town of Guzborn. we have
  ment had warned protestors not to dis-
                                             They refuse to provide them with wa-        to stop. A mud and tree barricade
  rupt the CASTOR shipments. 1 tell the
                                             ter or electricity.                         straddles the entire road. Behind it. in
  crowd that we in the U.S.. and indeed,
                                                                                         the center of the road, is a 15-foot tall
  the whole world, will be watching


A n u m u k t i Vol. 10 No. 1                                 4                                        August / Sepetember 1996
X. made of steel girders, welded and       levels around 4.000 counts per              Wednesday, March 5
cemented into the road. This baby          minute—even above the levels near           Water Canons and Harking
animating.                                 Chernobyl.                                  Dogs
                                              The thing is, in Germany houses are      By 9 AM the removal of the people
    100 yards further on begin the seri-
                                           built right on the street, with just a      in the road is well underway Were
ous barricades, one after another,
about 20 in all. In between them, the      narrow sidewalk in between These            quickly updated about I am. the po-
road has been hollowed out from un-        giant casks, tomorrow, was travel on        lice began moving and arresting peo-
derneath. There is nothing but air. In     narrow roads within just a few feet of      ple After three hours. they had only
some places, the protestors have put       bedroom windows and children's              cleared 150 feet of people, so they
in logs to hold up the road so they        playgrounds.                                turned ou their water cannons
won't cave in on the people digging                                                        These water cannons are mounted
(hem out. A 100-ton nuclear waste             But tonight the air is almost festive:   on giant armored. Star Trek-looking
cask cannot possibly go over these         one can almost forget about the sounds      green tanks The cannons are operated
roads in the near future; indeed, no       of the helicopters circling overhead        by remote control from inside the bul-
vehicle can. The CASTOR will have          We walk from the crane to the largest       let-proof protected cabs Their power
to go on the less-preferred. twisting      camp—there arc many camps spread            is quite strong, but the protestors have
route through several towns, or it can-                                                come prepared, and are covered with
not go at all.                                                                         plastic As long as the) don t receive
                                                                                       a direct hit. it doesn't hurt too much
    Through side roads and police                                                      and they don't even get too wet
checkpoints, we everntually make our
way to Dannenberg. where the casks                                                        The police train the cannons on a
sit on trucks awaiting movement. It is                                                 small group, to break down then u-
about 6 pm. the casks cannot move at                                                   sistanee then momve in to move
night, so they won't move soon.                                                        and/or
                                                                                       arrest the in one-by-one. But there are
   On the lane leading to the road from                                                9.000 people in the way now so ar-
the crane, hundreds of people are ly-                                                  rests become impossible
ing in two-foot tall mounds of straw.
They are the front lines: to reach the                                                    Susan Lee. camera in hand, gets
road, the police must move them first.                                                 picked up by her hair and thrown
                                                                                       across the road Krista. an activist now
    But for now. all is peaceful. Music                                                working in the Czech Republic against
is in the air. drummers play, people                                                   the Temclia r e a c t o r s pets
                                           out across the 14-mile route Each           clubbed Others get off casier Still
cheer. The police throw candy to the
                                           camp plans something different for the      tension is building
people in the straw
                                           final transport
    The casks arc remarkly unpro-                                                         During the n i g h t , a group of
                                               Along the road, people walk up and      Autonomen — radicals perhaps not or-
tected. Only a few police nervously
                                           down, mi l l in g around There are          ganized enough to be anarchists en-
walk op and down a very small fenced-
                                           bratwurst. soda and t-shirt vendors, it     gage in serious streeifighting near the
off area I walk to within about 12-15
                                           has the aura, if not the music, of in im-   town of Quickbon along the only road
feet of the six casks, radiation detec-
                                           promptu Woodstock But as the night          the CASTOR can now t r a v e l That
tor in hand. Within a minute, the de-
                                           wears on. temperatures drop precipi-        road has not been lorn up. and the radi-
tector has risen to more than 600
                                           tously. Thousands of people arc now         cals want time to set up barricades and
counts per minute, then more than
                                           in the straw area between the crane and     dig under the road
700—about 50 times background ra-
                                           the road, thousands more block the
diation levels. The radiation levels
                                           only road left. We have to leave, and          The police arc not inclined to pro-
decline rapidly with distance though,
                                           after an hour's drive and an endless        vide that tunc Rocks and slingshots
at 50 yards, it is only five times above
                                           meeting, agree to be back to the area       are used, and molotov cocktails Ac-
background, at 100 yards, there is no
                                           in six hours Time for just a little sleep   cording to one report, a woman is criti-
discernible radiation increase. Later.
I learn that a Greenpeace scientist got                                                cally injured Many arc hurt and/or
a bit closer to the casks, and measured                                                arrested The barricades and digging
                                                                                       don't take place The CASTORS even-
                                                                                       tually will move
A n u m u k t i Vol. 10 No. 1   5   August / Sepetember 1996
       Back in Dannenberg, we watch the      his tale of repression and death squads.       Where does it stop? At what point
   water cannons pelt the people in the      From the Phillipines, Korea, Turkey,        does the German government, or any
   street. The police arc clearing about     from across the world, activists tell       government, say 'this is it, we can't
   one yard of street per minute now.        their stories; they unload their fears      do it anymore.'
                                             and reveal their hopes. In front of these
      Above the road, four people have       young German activists, the emotions           In Germany, even the police are r
   tied themselves into the trees, with a    of the past few days pour out.              belling. At Lueneberg, and again at the
   giant banner. The police try to shoot                                                 gates of Dannenberg, the "Critical
   them down with water cannons, but it          The stories are similar: we truly arc   Police" appeared—police refusing to
   doesn't work. The CASTORS cannot          in the same movement, but it has taken      take part in the quashing of the dem-
   legally move underneath them, so a        us longer to understand that than it has    onstrations; refusing to walk for hours
   team of police goes up and tries to cut   Westinghouse, or GE. or ABB, or Sie-        next to the highly-radioactive CAS-
   them down. This takes at least a half-    mens or the other multinational nu-         TOR casks. Indeed, the police have
   hour, to the boos of thousands.           clear corporations which buy and sell       called for an end to the shipments.
                                             politicians like pork-belly commodi-
       The understanding was that the pro-   ties.                                           Without the police state on its side,
   test would be non-violent. People                                                     how can the nuclear industry expect
   would block the street, but once moved        We each have our local and national     to take its lethal garbage anywhere?
   would not try to reclaim it. They want    battles and concerns, but tonight we
   to show that the violence is caused by    truly have become an international             The CASTOR casks only traveled
   the police. The police use their water    movement, understanding each other,         about 300 miles. In the U.S., if radio-
   cannons, billy clubs and shields; here,   and united. It's a feeling unsaid, but      active waste transportation begins,
   the protestors simply join arms in re-    shared, and one we hope will stay with      many casks could travel nearly 3.000
   sistance until they are moved off the     us.                                         miles. Eventually, we all will have to
   road.                                                                                 make our stand, and it may be sooner
                                                                                         rather than later. Most politicians in
                                             Sunday, March 9, Washington DC
       Finally the road is cleared, and                                                  the US want radioactive waste trans-
                                             The Sunset of the Atomic State              portation to begin, because they are
   thousands of police stand shouldcr-to-
                                             Back in the USA, having dealt with
   shouldcr to protect the casks. As the                                                 beholden to the nuclear industry.
                                             lost passport and plane ticket—the less
   casks move out, we are cheered by re-
                                             said the better...                              The transportation of radioactive
   ports that there are 2.000 more people
                                                 Most countries, including the U.S.,     waste is not just a routine industrial
   sitting in the road at Quickborn, and
                                             arc not yet attempting to move radio-       maneuver. It is a defining moment It
   5.000 more chained across the road,
   at Gorleben                               active waste across their nations. Thus,    is our opportunity to expose the nu-
                                             the Siege of Gorleben is hardly an end.     clear age. and to assert its end.
      Nearby, there are various small        it is just a beginning. The first CAS-
   confrontations between protestors and     TOR shipment into Gorleben took                 No government can withstand the
   police, nervous, the police bring out     place less than 18 months ago; it           costs of Gorleben for long. No gov-
   dogs The barking reaches an car-split-    brought out about 2,000 protestors and      ernment can long withstand the divi-
   ting crescendo, but there is no serious   cost the German government about            sions among its people, the alienation
   trouble.                                  $ 15 million'The second shipment cost       of its farmers, the devastation of a War
                                             more than $40 million, with 9,000           Zone inside its borders.
  Thursday, March 5, Braunschweig            protestors and more than 15,000 po-
                                                                                            There is but one obvious path, one
  Chernobyl is Everywhere                    lice.
                                                                                         poorly-understood by the Govern-
  That night. Ilya Popov of the Socio-                                                   ments, but well and truly grasped by
                                                Crowd estimates arc notoriously
  Keological Union in Moscow and I                                                       the farmers of Gorleben: we must stop
                                             unreliable even in a small area, over a
  speak to a gathering of people from                                                    making lethal poisons simply in order
                                             14 mile road, they arc impossible. But
  the area, about our experiences in our     there were at least 20,000 protestors,      to generate electricity: our lives, our
  own countries. Then, one-by-one.           and admittedly 30.000 police to usher       nations, our futures are all too impor-
  other members of our international         the new casks into Gorleben                 tant for that.
  delegation speak.
     The First Nation Canadians speak           So it has cost Germany more than                             Michael Marriot
  in moving terms about what uranium         $150 million to move eight casks—                            The Nuclear Monitor
  mining has done to their communities.      and the original plans call for the ship-                         March 17.1997
  Ottis. in exile from Papua New Guinea      ment of 412 more casks to the
  for the past 20 years, brings tears with   Gorleben "interim" site.


A n u m u k t i Vol. 10 No. 1                                                                          August / Sepetember 1996
                                                               6
                                   Democracy Zindabad!


   s       weden gets around 43 per cent
           of its electricity from nuclear
           power. On March 19, 1980, the
  Swedes held a referendum on whether
  to continue down the nuclear path. The
                                              Social Democrats. Centre party and
                                              the Left wing party. The par-
                                              ties have a majority in the Swedish
                                              parliament. The agreement came after
                                              months of intrigue and is a major vic-
                                                                                          reactors—for whom accident risks are
                                                                                          presumably higher and thus force the
                                                                                          utilities themselves to decide to close
                                                                                          the units, rather than the government
                                                                                          specifying which unit should be shut
  result was a victory for a scenario for     tory for the antinuclear Centre Part        first
  a phase-out of nuclear energy by 2010.      The ruling Social Democrats were pre-
  The nuclear industry invested 20 mil-       pared to wait until early in 2000 to           Big business showed its contempt
  lion SwK (6 million 1980 USS) in the        begin decommissioning on 1998 as            for democratic values explicitly Beri-
  referendum but got only 18.7 percent        deadline This victory of the Centrists      Olof Svanholm. who is chairman of
  of the votes. The antinuclear line          is likely to change the face of Swed-       Volvo AB and head of the Federation
  (rapid phase-out) received 38.6 per-        ish politics since till now the Centrists   of Swedish Industries has said that
  cent, but the Social Democrat line          have usually been part of a block in        any decision to close Batseback will
  (long-term phase-out scenario) got          opposition to the governing Social          be fought, and we will never accept
  39.8 percent Long term phase-out            Democrats The news was a special            that the country unnecessarily throws
  meant that business could continue to       treat for the Danish population who         away SwK 20 to 30 billion (US$ 2 7 to
  proceed as usual and big businessmen        celebrated with relief They had been        4.05 billion) while we chop wood to
  and politicians felt that in time people    opposing the plant for well over            meet our energy needs
  would get "educated" on the benefits        twenty years
                                                                                          Meanwhile in Japan
  of this wonderful source of power.
                                                  However, the fight is by no means       Over half of all Japanese citizens have
     Unfortunately, for these power bro-      over as yet Sydkraft. owner of both         lost confidence in then governments
  kers, things haven't worked according       Barsebacck reactors, says it would          statements concerning the safety of
  to plan. The accident at Chernobyl in       seek compensation for loss of electric-     nuclear power, according to the latest
  1986. severely affected parts of Swe-       ity production According to VEBA.           survey conducted by the Research
  den's forest land and especially the        the German energy conglomerate              Council for Energy and Information
  reindeer herding Lapp community             which owns 27 percent share in              Technology in October last year The
  That put paid to any hopes that the ref-    Sydkraft via its 100-percent subsidi-       figures which showed that 57% of
  erendum result could be overturned in       ary Preussenelektra AG. is satisfied        people surveyed had little or no con-
  the future                                  that the whole affair is a bag of wind      fidence in government statements on
                                              —and are betting that despite the de-       nuclear energy, comprise the lowest
      But despite the people's verdict, not                                               vole of confidence since the surveys
                                              cision the reactors would not be pre-
  much action had taken till now as poli-                                                 began (The Aikket Weekly. 1 March
                                              maturely closed After the announce-
  ticians bickered amongst themselves                                                     1997
                                              ment of the decision. Sydkraft's shares
  and felt that there was no "viable" al-
                                              rose sharply as investors perceived             A petition to permanently close
  ternative to replacing half the coun-
                                              that it would not have to bear liability    down the Monju fast breeder reactor
  try's electricity supply.
                                              for the decommissiong of these old re-      which suffered a serious accident from
      However, with time running out,         actors.                                     a liquid sodium leak and resultant fire
  there has suddenly been some move-                                                      gathered over a million signatures On
                                                 The negotiating politicians agreed
  ment in the right direction. The nuclear                                                May 14. 1996 Science and Technol-
                                              that reactor owners should be liable for
  power plant at Barsebaeck. located in                                                   ogy White Paper a publication that
                                              all costs in the event of an accident,
  South Sweden and only 20 kilometres                                                     usually gives an overview of the gen-
                                              instead of the government stepping in
  away from the Danish capital Copen-                                                     eral research scene s pe ci fica ll y
                                              to cover costs above a certain low ceil-
  hagen, will be turned off The first of                                                  scolded Monjus owner, the Power
                                              ing. Currently, ractor owners arc li-
  its two 600MW reactors will be                                                          Reactor and Nuclear Fuel Develop-
                                              able for a maximum of 1,2 billion Kro-
  stopped before July 1998. the second                                                    ment Corporation for its inappropri-
                                              ner (US $ 17 million) in third party
  before July 2001. This decision was                                                     ate" post-accident behaviour
  arrived at a midnight meeting on Feb-       damages per accident The idea behind
  ruary 4. 1997 in Stockholm between          the proposed change is to make it eco-         Nucleomax Week May 16 1996,
                                              nomically infeasible to run the older


A n u m u k t i Vol. 10 No. 1                                   7                                      August / Sepetember 1996
                    Upsurge of Revisionism Regarding
                         French Nuclear Success
   France is the model nuclear "success " story. A country which following the Arab oil shock of J 973,
   decided to go in for nuclear and went with vengeance. The nuclear establishment was given a free
   hand and it "delivered". But hindsight as they say is 20-20. It does offer a better perspective.
   Energy experts, the courts and the research community are now finding that may be this headlong
   rush into nuclear wasn't such a bright idea after all.



   Et Tu IEA!                                 The team had members from Norway,           Come Hell or High
   It is time for reorientation of French     the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency,             Irregularities
   energy policy, the OECD Internationa)      and the IEA secretariat.                    As it is nuclear power is usually the
   Energy Agency (IEA) said in a new                                                      most expensive option. But fast breed-
   review.                                         In looking specifically at France's
                                              nuclear program, the IEA experts ob-        ers take the cake. The electricity they
       In the view of the experts who                                                     produce is more than twice as expen-
   authored 'Energy Policies of IEA           serve that "decision on its develop-
                                              ment have been taken centrally, with        sive as that produced by other (non-
   Countries: France, 1996 Review,                                                        breeding) nuclear plants. The French
   French energy policy "has reached a        little or no public participation or in-
                                              volvement of the parliament." They          for militaristic reasons went in with a
   watershed" and needs deep reform if                                                    great deal of nationalist fervour in
   the country is to meet IEA policy goals    say this situation probably cannot con-
                                              tinue if France is to renew its nuclear     launching Superphenix—the only
   associated with open markets, energy                                                   commercial sized breeder in the world.
   efficiency, and fair competition among     installation in the future, and recom-
                                              mend steps towards greater openness         Breeder reactors produce more plu-
   fuels. In essence, experts say. France's                                               tonium than they consume uranium
   emphasis on nuclear power has led to       and public participation in energy de-
                                              cision making.                              and thus can theoretically produce
   a lopsided, inflexible supply structure                                                large amounts of electricity from very
   in which electricity use is excessively       The review also warns that the "in-      limited supplies of raw material. How-
   promoted, creating severe interfile!       flexible and the rigid power produc-        ever, ever since its launch in 1986,
   price distortions.                         tion system'' resulting from nuclear        Superphenix has been plagued with
                                              plant overbuilding "may be exacer-          problems. It never even managed to
     Further, they say, the concentration
                                              bated by the addition of four reactors      run consecutively for six months to-
  of 90% of government research fund-
                                              currently under construction." The          gether. It spent most of its time in a
  ing. 80% of commissariat a I' Energie
                                              experts note that choice of future gen-     state so familiar to reactors in India—
  Atomique expenditures, and 50% of
                                              crating technology will "in principle       shutdown. French regulations require
  Electrieite de France's (EDF) research
                                              be decided by Market" and that nuclear      relicensing of power plants which have
  budget on nuclear has starved other
                                              will have to compete alongside non-         remained in a shutdown state for more
  sectors for research and development
                                              nuclear options "even for baseload          than two years. In 1994, the French
  funds and pulled qualified people
                                              capacity"                                   atomic energy establishment finally
  away from other areas of scientific re-
                                                                                          gave up the ghost of breeding. How-
  search, including energy conservation           The IEA team also recommends            ever, with billions already down the
  and renewables.                             that France "finally decided on the         drain, they were loath to take the sen-
     The IEA reviews on France, the           future role of Superphenix as an ex-        sible option and let it all go and
  second the agency has done since            perimental facility, taking into ac-        decommission the plant. Superphenix
  France joined in 1992. was led by           count the age and technical character-      was resurrected as a non-breeder for
  Hans Schimid. deputy director of            istics of the reactor and related invest-   research and demonstration purposes.
  Switzerland's Federal Energy Office.        ment and operating costs."                  Recently, France's supreme court has
  Susan Harrison, of the Electricity Di-                                                  annulled the operating licence for
                                                         Source: Nucleonics Week          Superphenix on the grounds that the
  vision of the UK's Department of
  Trade & Industry, was co-rapporteur.                                                    licensing decree issued in 1994 as-
                                                                                          signed the reactor with a 'new' pur-



A n u m u k t i Vol. 10 No. 1                                    8                                      August / Sepetember 1996
   pose - research and demonstration -
   not covered in the 1992 restart appli-
   cation and dossier submitted for pub-
   lic inquiry by operator NERSA. The              We De Have An Address!
   1240 MWe reactor is currently offline.
   The French government has re-empha-             In fact, we have two. A regular postal address and an email
   sised its commitment to keep the re-            address for the other set. Although the cost of writing even
   actor operating, and is considering ei-
   ther holding a new licensing process            a post card has gave up considerably, a letter does feel nice.
   to support the 1994 decree, or issuing          So do let us know if you like what is in your hands and
   a new decree more in line with the              even more if you don't like it. But most of all definitely let
   1992 documents, which emphasise the             us know in no uncertain terms if you don't receive your
   reactor's use for electricity generation        regular copy every two months. It is usually our fault.
   Sources: Nucleonics Week




            LEUKAEMIA AROUND IA HAGUE NUCLEAR FACILITY


  F      rench Environment minister
         Corinne Lepage and Secretary
         of State for Health Herve
  Gymard announced January 10. 1997
                                              mended that researchers look for new
                                              environmental radiation pathways,
                                              particularly in the marine ecosystems
                                                 They had originally set up their
                                                                                        which began receiving radioactive
                                                                                        waste (all except highly active waste)
                                                                                        in 1967 and was closed permanently
                                                                                        in 1994 Both sites have been long
  that they will commission a thorough                                                  under attack from environmentalist
  epidemiological study of cancers            study to investigate any association      who allege pollution of the environs
  around the La Hauge reprocessing            between La Hague and local cases of       The Andra site has been shown in an
  plant in Normandy. Their decision fol-      childhood leukaemia In a previous         Institute de Protection ct de Surete
  lowed publication in the latest issue of    study. Vicl had been unable to estab-     Nucleare (IPSN) study to have been
  the British Medical Journal(BMJ) of         lish any clear statistical link           leaking      radionuclides.     notably
  data claiming that children who played                                                tritium,
                                                 The scientists' methodology came
  on beaches near La Hague at least                                                     into two small rivers which cross it.
  once a month exhibited almost a three       under immediate criticism in the in-
                                                                                        one of which flows to sea
  fold increased risk of developing leu-      fluential newspaper, Le Monde, by
  kaemia.                                     Jacqueline Clavel. an epidemiologist          In addition, a nuclear power station
     Eating local fish and shellfish at       with France's National Institute for      is situated some 16 kilometres away,
  least once week was tied to a similar       Health & Medical Research (Inserm),       while the navy dockyards, where sub-
  increased risk, according to the study      which co-financed the Viel work.          marine nuclear fuel is handled, are 19
  by Jean-Francois Veil, a professor of                                                 km away Both these facilities arc well
                                                 Inserm s name has been linked by
  biostatistics and epidemiology, and                                                   within the 15-km radius of La Hague
                                              the French media to the newly an-
  Dominic Pobel, a research epidemiolo-                                                 set by the study
                                              nounced study, but neither Inserm nor
  gist, at Besancon University's Faculty      government ministries would confirm
  of Medicine. France.                                                                     Clavel faulted Viel's mode of re-
                                              that the organisation had been chosen     cruiting control group witness via
     The two French scientists claimed        to conduct the project. Details are ex-   medical general practitioners and
  'convincing evidence" of a causal role      pected to be announced in early Feb-      questioned the "quality" of this group
  played by exposure to environmental         ruary.                                    But 'the main question." she said, is
  radiation at the seaside, but found no          La Hague encompasses several fa-      that of the applicability of the case
  association with parental occupational                                                study group to the problem raised
                                              cilities. Adjacent to La Hague reproc-
  radiation exposure. They recom-                                                       whether the leukaemia cases were
                                              essing complex is a site now operated
                                                                                        linked to the radioactive discharges
                                              by national waste agency ANDRA, the
                                              centre de stockage de La Manche.


A n u m u k t i Vol. 10 No. 1                                  9                                     August / Sepetember 1996
       She said the study didn't say how         Matched residence meant that they       shown to be present near the Doun-
   Tar from the sea the ill children or the   were living within the same electoral      reay reprocessing plant in northern
   control group lived, and didn't name       ward, he said because of the criticism     Scotland, he said in a study by James
   the beaches. The doctors should have       by such experts as Clavel, he is pre-      Urquhart of the Scottish Health Serv-
   tried to estimate the doses that could     paring map markings of the individual      ice published in 1991.
   have led to the effects observed, she      dwellings to prove no geographic bias
   said.                                      exists, heard, "I'm totally sure that         Viel said criticism such as not nam-
                                              we won land anything of signifi-           ing beaches were obviously easily
      Catherine Hill, another Inserm re-      cance," he insisted, adding that he ex-    made by others after the study's com-
   searcher, suggested that the method        pects to present the results in a future   pletion, "I was absolutely not expect-
   used to recreate activities—interview-     issue of the BMJ.                          ing such a result regarding the use of
   ing parents of children with leukae-                                                  the beaches to be so significant.'* he
   mia—was "dangerous " because not               As for quality of controls, a glance   said. The researchers had therefore not
   every one can remember how often he        through the tables should be enough        complied a detailed breakdown of
   or she went to the beach 20 years ago.     to confirm very little difference be-      beaches visited by the children. ''On
   for example, nor know for sure the         tween both sets of parental social         the other hand, I have been criticised
   origin of shellfish eaten.                 classes, he said.                          because 1 have already used 173 dif-
                                                                                         ferent items. So there are two oppos-
      Viel told Nucleonics Week that it           Veil said the strong link between      ing criticisms I have to face."
   was "absolutely wrong" for outside         leukaemia occurrences and the sea had
   observers to suggest that the leukae-      taken the researchers by surprise. The        As for Hills concern about possi-
   mia subjects were living closer to the     more frequently a child visited the        ble bias in recalling past recreational
   sea than the controls, thereby being       beach or ate seafood, the higher the       activities. Veil said he thought it un-
   more prone to play on the beach and        risk the child faced of contracting leu-   likely to be a factor as both case and
   eat seafood more often.                    kaemia, he said. Such a dose/response      control mothers had not been aware of
                                              relationship could not be put down to      the significance of beach usage until
      The cases of leukaemia diagnosed        chance alone.                              after the data had been compiled and
   between 1978 and 1993 in people un-                                                   conclusions drawn.
   der 25 and the 192 controls were              His and Pobel's research also does
   matched for sex. age, place of birth,      not stand in isolation, he said. The                 Source: Nucleonics Week
   and residents at the time of diagnosis,    same marine phenomenon had been
   he said.




               Reclaiming Community Accountability

   A         s a result of an open-records
             program initiated by the
             United States Department of
  Energy (DOE) Secretary Hazel
                                                  A virtual,constellation of federal
                                              health agencies are now conducting
                                              "dose reconstruction" and parallel
                                              health effects studies at Hanford,
                                                                                         tances and a lack of understanding that
                                                                                         a national health research program has
                                                                                         grown up in their midst without any-
                                                                                         one realising it. Workers and citizens
  O'Leary. information is being made          Idaho Falls. Fernald, and Savannah         who encounter researchers from the
  available for the first time which is       River. Other sites will soon follow.       federal agencies have asked four com-
  useful in calculating the radiation and     The agencies include the Centre for        mon questions:
  hazardous chemical exposures of             Disease Control (CDC), National In-
  worker populations and ordinary' citi-      stitute for Occupation Safety and             1. Are we exposed?
  zens in communities which arc home          Health (N10SH). and the Agency for
  to nuclear weapons plants and related       Toxic Substances and Disease Regis-           2. Are we affected?
  facilities. Until now. few have recog-      try (ATSDR). While the Department
                                                                                            3. Did exposure contribute to or
  nised the national scope of health ef-      of Energy's open-records program has
                                                                                         cause disease?
  fects studies which arc likely to be-       made these studies possible, the work
  come more significant over time.            by federal health agencies has befud-        4. If we are not affected now. will
                                              dled citizens' groups now isolated         we suffer later?
                                              from each other by geographic dis-


A n u m u k t i Vol. 10 No. 1                                  10                                     August / Sepetember 1996
       It may be difficult for citizens to get       3. Pressure federal health agen-        ganisat ion rather than a physical one.
   answers. The scientific work being            cies which are not doing their job to       but each NGO must put its oars in the
   done by these agencies to document            get their act together.                     water. The clearinghouse must put up
   and calculate exposures to radiation                                                      an Internet presence via email. WEB
   and hazardous chemicals is fraught             What Should Be Done?                       site, etc . and also publish a hardcopy
   with uncertainty, politics, organisa-          1: Convene a national conference of        bulletin of news, resources, and ac-
   tional confusion, and doubt that any-          NGOs and citizens is to achieve            tion items for a national, co-ordinated
   thing more than "inconclusive" results         several objectives. These are:             response to federal health effects stud-
   wilt be the outcome of years of effort         (a) Understand the current and future      ies at nuclear weapons sites The
   The responses of federal health agen-          scope of federal health studies related    clearinghouse must function as an
   cies have been inconsistent, and in            to the legacy of the cold war.             "honest broker" despite the many pri-
   some cases, downright hostile, in                (b) Establish a national agenda in-      orities and agendas of NGOs and grass
   terms of answering the four questions.         volving performance and qualitative        roots groups.
                                                  standards for openness, public partici-
        Some of the reasons are lack of           pation, and accountability for health          V Engage federal health agencies
   funding, weak management, the arro-            effects                          studies   in a dialogue to change the behaviour
   gance of scientific researchers uncom-         (c) Mount a lobbying campaign with         of people as well as their respective
   fortable over answering fundamental            Congress to embed these requirements       organisations it makes no sense to
   questions from lay persons, and the            in enabling legislation for federal        address policies without the people
   bureaucratic agendas that distract the         health                         agencies    Hearts and minds of agency staffs, and
   focus of otherwise sympathetic agency          (d) Develop oversight mechanisms to        their contractors, inevitably follow the
   managers inward like the gravity field         ensure that federal health agencies arc    leadership of the agency organisations
   of a black hole.                               responsive to their congressional man-     The mindset and credibility of fed-
                                                  d a t                                      eral managers must be examined, and
        Perhaps most daunting is the fact                                                    changed for the better, if the result-
                                                   (e) Obtain resources for and roll out
   that there is no national independent                                                     ing health effects studies are to be suc-
                                                  a national communications strategy to
   clearinghouse that pulls together infor-                                                  cessful in achieving their goals Citi-
                                                  alert the news media about the national
   mation on progress being made or col-                                                     zens can call for "boycotts' of agen-
                                                  health effects study program Develop
   lects and distributes information on                                                      cies, such as a Virginia group did with
                                                  communications tools, such as the
   lessons learned on the most effective                                                     ATSDR. but there is no long-term fu-
                                                  Internet, to alert citizens' groups
   ways citizens can respond to the con-                                                     ture in death spirals of reciprocal alle-
                                                  about lessons learned and more effec-
   duct of health effects studies and fed-                                                   gations of deception and rancour
                                                  tive ways to interact with federal
   eral agencies. Several efforts which                                                      Everyone loses
                                                  health                         agencies
   deal broadly with environmental
                                                   (f) Develop mechanisms for recognis-
   health studies have been developed,                                                          4 Commit to the long haul Envi-
                                                 ing the contributions which can be
   such as the Science and Environmen-                                                       ronmcntal epidemiological studies arc
                                                 made by citizens interested in pursu-
   tal Health Network (SEHN). What has                                                       like rocket science Achieving shared
                                                 ing environmental science This
   not yet happened is for citizens to or-                                                   understanding of the scientific meth-
                                                 should include training and technical
   ganise a national response to a na-                                                       ods and citizens' concerns will take
                                                 assistance program for citizen activ-
   tional program of health effects stud-                                                    years After all, the horrors of the nu-
                                                 ists on how to collect, analyse and dis-
   ies being conducted at nuclear weap-                                                      clear weapons complex took more than
                                                 tribute scientific information. Most
   ons complex sites. This article sug-                                                      four decades to come to light. It may
                                                 importantly, citizens need help in rec-
   gests a next step for non-governmen-                                                      take a lifetime to recover
                                                 ognising the significance of scientific
   tal organisations.
                                                 findings, knowing what to look for.                    Source and Contact Dan
     Citizens with basic interests in the        and how to critically engage scientific
                                                                                                  Yurman, P.O Box 1569. Idaho
  outcome of the health effects studies          experts in dialogue which would pro-
                                                 duce shared understanding of the re-                      Falls. ID 83403, US
  face several essential challenges:                                                               e-mail yurman@igc. ape org
                                                 sults of health effects studies. Fund-
     1. Make sense of the scientific             ing will be needed to ensure grassroots          Dan Yurman is a member of a
  knowledge and methods being used by            participation in the conference and in              citizens advisory commutes
  federal health agencies.                       the implementation of an action                   which advises the C entre for
                                                 agenda, described below                           Disease Control. Atlanta US
     2. Focus on the four questions of                2: Develop a clearinghouse of
  concern which are being asked by               NGOs and citizens groups to carry out
  those still living in communities              these tasks. This can be a virtual or-
  around the site.


A n u m u k t i Vol. 10 No. 1                                      11                                      August / Sepetember 1996
   A millenia of genetic change compressed in a few years

                      Studies Find Gene Mutations Higher in Chernobyl Victims
   In our last issue (Special issue on Chernoby had an article by Dr. Rosalie Bertell on "Nuclear
   Thinking ". It argued that radiation injury issues are actually human rights issues and hence
   political issues. Solution to such problems can only come through political action. Specifically,
   radiation injury issues are not technical issues any longer. The following article taken from
   Nucleonics Week —a trade journal is a good example of Nuclear Thinking. The radiation
   community finds radiation related activities so profitable, that it refuses to accept studies which
   show the effects of radiation to be far more detrimental than postulated by these worthies.

                 Russian-Belarussian-British          In the same issue of Nature, a team   chance, said one French Scientist, add-
                research team has found twice     from Texas Tech University and the        ing, ''Nature played its cards right."
   A            as many genetic mutation in       Savannah River Ecology Laboratory,        Nothing was said about their work of
                the offspring of parents living   led by Robert Baker of Texas Tech,        the two research group in the major
   on con-                                        reported 'high levels of genetic          multi-agency conference on
   taminatcd territories around the               change" in rodents—two species of         "Chernobyl: One Decade Later." held
   Chernobyl plant site than in a control         vole—living next to the Chernobyl         in Vienna April 9-12. Working papers
   in the UK                                      plant, in comparison to a control group   from that conference did. however,
      The team, which includes Yuri               living in a relatively clean area about   highlight the genetic change observed
  Dubrova and Alec Jeffreys of the Uni-           32 kilometres Southeast of site.          in animals and plants close to the re-
  versity of Leicester, studied 79 fami-                                                    actor site—which were said not to
  lies inhabiting heavily polluted rural              The results had not been predicted    threaten the region's ecosystems—as
  areas'' of the Mogilev district of              by existing models of the effects of      well as the potential for genetic muta-
  Belarus, about 250 kilometres north of          radiation. In the case of voles, 'the     tions in humans, probably also not
  Chernobyl, among which all the chil-            estimated substitution(mutation) rales    posing a significant threat.
  dren were between February and Sep-             were at least two orders of magnitude
  tember 1994. and a control of 105               greater than any previously reported          Philip Vision, a geneticist at the
  families in the UK Using a technique            for mitochondria proticn-coding           French Institute for Nuclear Safety &
  developed by Jeffreys that measures             genes," said David Hills of the Depart-   Protection (IPSN), said that gene mini-
  the mutation rate of "mini-satel-               ment of Zoology at the University of      satellite were discovered in 1980 and
  lites"--specific genome site that fea-          Texas, Austin in accompanying Na-         five years later. Jeffreys pioneered
  tures an usually high number of rep-            ture commentary                           their using confirming parental rela-
  etition—the research team found a "                                                       tion between individuals by studying
  statistically significant twofold in-              But observes cautioned against         "genetic finger prints". The mini-sat-
  crease in mutation frequency in the             drawing firm conclusions about the        ellite vary greatly between unrelated
  offspring of irradiated parents, "they          eventual impact of the genetic changes    individuals, with very slim chances of
  wrote in April 25. 1996 issue of the            on the health or gene pool of cither      finding the same pattern, but they are
  British journal Nature The mutation             animals or humans in the area. Espe-      quite stable from parent to child. The
  was measured compared to the par-               cially in the case of the study of hu-    length of mini-satellites can be meas-
  ents genes,                                     man gene mutations, they said, it         ured by probe, establishing whether
                                                  would be necessary to follow up the       they contain the correct number of rep-
     The scientist said that the mutation         work by Dubrova et al. to confirm that    etitions or not: in the later case, the
  rate in the Mogilev families was cor-           the mutations indeed correlated with      researchers say a mutation has oc-
  related with the level of caesium-137           radiation dose and are not caused by      curred
  surface contamination, thus conclud-            other environmental aggressors which
  ing that the mutations have been in-            were not studied specifically.               In the study of Mogilev residents,
  duced by radiation. However, they                                                         Dubrova et al. found that length
  were not correlated with individual                The publication of these results on    changes in nuclear mini-satellite loci
  doses received by the population                the eve of Chernobyl accident's 10th      were about twice as common in the
                                                  anniversary was certainly not by-         Belarus children (compared to the par-


A n u m u k t i Vol. 10 No. I                                      12                                     August / Sepetember 1996
  ents; loci) than in their UK counter-       chemical. Because the role of chemi-       mentary. Hills argued that the fallout
  parts. They found good correlation          cal pollutants had not been taken ex-      from Chernobyl is so different in
  between the highest mutation rate and       plicitly into account in the study, he     both diversity and extent from the
  the areas in the highest median ground      said, the results "are to be considered    Japanese fallout that "predictions from
  contamination. The total mutation rate      with caution." even if the study repre-    one to the other arc not likely to be
  was 1.5 times higher in more-contami-       sents "an interesting, advance" in         very meaningful The studies of
  nated areas (over 6.8 curies per square     knowledge about the h effects of           Chernobyl." he went on, are therefore
  km) than in less-contaminated ones          radiation.                                 providing the first glimpses of genetic
  (under 6.8 Ci/km2), they said.                                                         effects of severe nuclear accidents' -
                                                  Scientists studying radiation health   effects he suggested bolt down, at least
      However, the research team mem-         effects have stressed that, although       in the case of the Chernobyl rodents,
  bers acknowledged they had not been         genetic mutation were observed in off-     to the "compression" of millennia of
  able to correlate their findings with       spring of survivors of the Hiroshima       genetic change into a few years
  individual doses received by the stud)      and Nagasaki atomic bombings, no
  group—those dose levels "are not            lasting hereditary were observed In            While scientists generally agree
  known," they wrote. Moreover, al-           the case of Chernobyl contamination,       that more research is needed on the
  though the correlation with surface         that may also prove to be the case, they   question, some wonder where the em-
  contamination is consistent" with the       say.                                       phasis should be placed Voisin said
  possibility of Chernobyl-caused mu-                                                    that, at the annual meeting of the In-
  tations, they added, "it is possible that       Indeed, few people realise the size    ternational Radiological Protection
  other non-radioactive contaminants          of the background rate of genetic mu-      Association immediately following the
  from Chernobyl, such as heavy met-          tations, said Fred Mettler of the radi-    Vienna Chernobyl-consequences con-
  als, could be responsible for the ob-       ology department at the University of      ference. Dan Benmson, former chair-
  served, apparently dose dependent in-       New Mexico. He told journalist at-         man of the International Radiological
  crease in mutation rate."                   tending the Vienna meeting that about      Protection Commission, publicly
                                              2% have a serious one. and 1%. a de-       raised the question of whether vast
      IPSN's Voisin said it was "a pity"      fect that can be fatal                     new studies of the effects of low-level
  that the scientists had not made a                                                     radiation are really worth the money
  greater effort to find a control group         More generally, there is growing        and effort that they will necessarlly
  within Belarus, rather than going to a      recognition in the scientific commu-       entail
  rural area in the UK that would not be      nity that the health-effects lessons of
  expected to have the same spectrum          the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings                         Ann Macliachlam.
  o: contaminants, cither radioactive or      may not be applicable to the other ra-          Nucleonics Week May 2 1996
                                              diation accidents. In his Nature coin-

          "Not Now Not Ever"

                                Thoughts From An Australian Abolitionist


   I    has been a very exciting year for
       abolitionists of nuclear weapons.
       We have seen in succession, the In-
  ternational Court of Justice decision
                                              impetus toward abolition has seemed
                                              to wane, at least at official governmen-
                                              tal and UN levels. The Malaysian
                                              resolution' welcoming the IC J deci-
                                                                                         scents to have stopped altogether, and
                                                                                         other measures toward abolition rec-
                                                                                         ommended by the Canberra Commis-
                                                                                         sion (taking weapons away from their
  on the illegality of nuclear weapons,       sion passed the UN General Assem-          delivery mechanisms, and taking no
  the passage of the CTBT. the report         bly with the expected comfortable ma-      clear forces off alert as well as further
  of the Canberra Commission, the             jority, but most of the western nations    deep reductions in US and Russian
  Malaysian resolution in the UN Gen-         (including my own. Australia) either       weapons levels do not seem to be
  era! Assembly, and statements by top        voted against it or abstained (India       taking place at any discernible speed
  military people in favour of abolition.     voted in favour.) On the other hand,
  All this has made it appear as if           preliminary negotiations to set up a            Meanwhile, a number of negatives
  progress toward the abolition of nu-        verification regime for the CTBT have         have appeared on the scene, of which
  clear weapons is no more than a mat-        ended in disagreement, progress to-           the greatest is probably US plans for
  ter of time. Yet recently, much of the      wards a fissile material production ban      subentical nuclear tests in India.


A n u m u k t i Vol. 10 No. I                                   13                                      August / Sepetember 1996
  there are rumblings to the effect that         However, the weapons powers, af-        machiavellian attempt by the weapons
  if the US indulges in subcriticals, In-    ter trying to prevent the resolution        powers to hang on to their existing
  dia may start testing. People I spoke      under which the question of the legal-      monopoly by preventing others from
  to in Delhi attested to this.              ity of the use or threat of use of nu-      testing.
                                             clear weapons was referred to the              India has refused to sign the CTBT
 The ICJ Decision                            court in 1995 from being passed, and        'not now and not ever', claiming quite
 The decision of the International Court     after alternat darguing before the          correctly that it allows the nuclear
 of Justice on the legality of the use or    court that the dart had no jurisdiction     powers to continue warhead develop-
 threat of nuclear weapons had in ef-        and that the use of nuclear weapons         ment. However, India's criticisms
 fect. three components: (l)The ICJ          was a legitimate use of the right of        cover a scarcely-veiled desire to test
 found no situation in which it could        self-defence under the UN charter,          itself, and my discussions with some
 conclude that the use of nuclear weap-      have done their best to ignore or evade     influential people in Delhi certainly
 ons in war. or the threat of their use,     the consequences of the ICJ decision.       made it plain that this desire is very
 was legal. (2) The ICJ concluded that       The US, UK, and France, have all ar-        real in at least some quarters. The
 the use or threat of nuclear weapons        gued that since their nuclear weapons       thinking there is that India, if it tested,
 in war is generally illegal because it      are all of a 'defensive' nature, and all    could well withstand the resulting
 violates internationally agreed laws of     make use of the doctrine of deterrence,     embargo, and that Pakistani capabili-
 war that have stood since the 1920s.        that the ICJ decision has no conse-         ties could safely be ignored. In addi-
 The only caveat that the ICJ made to        quences whatever for them. It is sig-       tion, a need to test if India is to
 this was that it was unable to agree that   nificant and disturbing, that General       weaponise the device it tested in 1974
 the use of nuclear weapons could be         Sundarji argues in the May 1996             is argued.
 legal in the most extreme circumstance      number of 'AGNI'. the journal of the
 of self-defence. (3)Thc ICJ concluded                                                      This may be dangerous nonsense,
                                             Forum for Strategic and Security Stud-
 unanimously that there exists a legal                                                  but some at least do believe it. The
                                             ies that 'The international Court of
 obligation on the part of the weapons                                                  Forum for Strategic and Security Stud-
                                             Justice has recently ruled that the pos-
 powers to negotiate in good faith and                                                  ies, a Delhi 'think-tank' argues that
                                             session of nuclear weapons is not ille-
 to conclude an agreement to eliminate                                                  had the 1996 session of UNGA failed
                                             gal'. True, the ICJ decision does not
 nuclear weapons. It was this that the                                                  to pass a resolution in favour of a nu-
                                             say that, but the ICJ opinion comes
 Malaysian resolution' tried to turn                                                    clear weapons convention. India
                                             very close to that in saying that use or
 into practical reality later in 1996.                                                  should look to its strategic interests'
                                             threat of use is illegal, except under
     The ICJ decision has potential im-                                                 -and test. Whether the Malaysian reso-
                                             very narrowly defined circumstances
 plications that are very far reaching                                                  lution, which advocated negotiations
                                             where the court can't make up its
 indeed, but they have yet to be tested                                                 toward a nuclear weapons convention,
                                             mind! What General Sundarji (like the
 in a court of law. For example, it has                                                 is deemed to be sufficient is a good
                                             major weapons powers) did not ac-
 been argued since the decision in the                                                  question. The series of subcritical tests
                                             knowledge is that the ICJ came up with
 UK. that the UK's nuclear missile sub-                                                 planned by the US might be the next
                                             an opinion in which no legal use of
 marine patrols arc illegal as they rep-                                                'trip-wire'.
                                             nuclear weapons is identified, and says
 resent a threat of use' of nuclear          so explicitly.                                  The CTBT is neither exactly salva-
 weapons. It is argued that NATO first                                                   tion nor damnation. Depending how-
 strike' doctrines arc illegal, and that         Only Canada So far has suggested        ever, on what happens after the CTBT.
 changes in US and NATO nuclear doc-         that it may have to 'review' its posi-      it may become a rather early milestone
 trine to no first use', argued for in the   tion under the US nuclear umbrella as       on the road toward salvation if indeed
 report of the Canberra Commission,          a result of the ICJ judgement. Time         we are headed in that direction at all.
 arc the only legally correct response       will tell however, whether the ICJ de-
 to the ICJ decision short of actual         cision will be tested in national courts      What the CTBT actually does is
 elimination of nuclear weapons. It has      of law, and whether in particular, doc-    simply to prevent explosive nuclear
 already been argued successfully by         trines of 'first strike' could be found    tests in which the quantity of fission
 'For Mother Earth' in a Belgian court       illegal.                                   energy released exceeds that of any
 in a case of trespass on a NATO weap-                                                  high-explosive charge used to implode
 ons bunker, that civil disobedience         The Comprehensive Test Ban                 the fissile material. In effect, this
 against nuclear installations is legal      Treaty.                                    works out at about 4Kg of TNT. This
 because the installations arc in fact il-   The CTBT has been hailed as the way        means that explosive above-ground or
 legal.                                      to universal salvation from nuclear        underground tests of the kind that re-
                                             damnation or at least as the first step    cently were undertaken by France at
                                             toward abolition, and damned as a          Muroroa atoll and very most recently
                                                                                        (on the very eve of the signature of the



Anumukti Vol. 10 No. 1                                         14                                      August / Sepetember 1996
  CTBT in fact) by China at Lop Nor,           UK and Russia, precisely in order to        I.ast and final call?
  are now illegal. Whatever the other          fatally weaken if not sabotage the
  flaws of the CTBT, this has to be a plus     treaty. There is thus a great deal of
  for abolition.                               truth in the arguments that the CTBT
                                               fails to deliver on a timed framework           Another All Fools Day and the re-
      The CTBT does not contain any
                                               for the elimination of nuclear weap-        actors at Tarapur (Rhymes with
  commitment to a timed framework'
                                               ons, and that it allows to of the           Bhago—Dur in Hindi) are a year older
  for abolition of nuclear weapons, or
                                               kind that the weapons power are best        They are already well past their 25
  for negotiations toward abolition. Nor
                                               equipped to do.                             years design lifetime, and Dr. Gopala-
  docs the CTBT place any restraint
  whatsoever on testing other than ex-            Other nations besides India, (nota-      krishnan had informed the nation more
  plosive and 'hydronuclear' testing           bly Bangladesh for financial reasons),      than a year ago. that they badly need
  (where it is ambiguous). The US, tech-       have indicated reservations about rati-     to be inspected Tor core shroud dam-
  nically, is thus quite within its rights     fying the treaty. Indeed, while it might    age and India docs not have the tech-
  to conduct a series of subcritical' tests    be possible to induce Bangladesh to         nology to do so However, our
  of zero or near-zero fission yield           ratify with some form of financial          nuclcocrats have blithely continued to
  (whatever that may mean) at the              'sweetener', big questions exist over       operate them while giving Dr
  LYNER facility in Nevada.                    whether in fact, the US congress, still     Gopalakrishnan the boot The follow-
                                               dominated by the republican right           ing story from Japan is another re-
      In fact, subcriticals are the least of                                               minder that old reactors don t just fade
                                               which has explicitly damned the CTBT
  what is allowed under the CTBT. A            as contrary to US National interest'        away
  whole range of multibillion dollar fa-       will allow ratification and of course           On 26 November 1996. during a
  cilities now exists in the US. under the     whether a paranoid and nationalist          regular inspection at Tokyo Electric s
  Science-Based Stockpile Mainte-              Russian Duma will do so                     Fukushima reactor (BWR. 460MW.
  nance' programme, including the                                                          1971). inspectors discovered cracks in
  Dual Axis Radiographic Hydrody-                  The fact that the CTBT will most        the pipe inside the reactor pressure
  namic test facility (DAHRT) which            likely never enter into force docs not      vessel. Having been in operation for
  takes high-speed 3-d x-ray photos of         wholly rob it of value. It still provides   years, the cracks are perhaps a mani-
  plutonium and uranium bomb compo-            a very strong political barrier to ac-      festation of the reactors age
  nents under explosive deformation, an        tual explosive testing and to some ex-
  essential component of weapons de-           tent even to subcritical testing Any           The cracks appeared near the welds
  sign and the high-powered laser fa-          nation that tested from now on would        in two neighbouring pipes that earn
  cilit\ nominally for use in fusion re-       be faced with international opposition      coolant from the pressure vessel jet
  search, which may also be of use in          and condemnation (and probably sanc-        pump, and it appears that the direct
  weapons design. France also has simi-        tions) that would make the storm over       cause was stress corrosion In all. five
  lar laser facilities. The lack of any        French testing look like one in a vers      cracks of lengths varying from 2 to 19
  restraints in the CTBT over testing of       small teacup. In other words, for all       cm were discovered in almost identi-
  this type, has resulted in accusations       its flaws, and there arc many, the          cal places on the pipes. very close to
  that the CTBT merely institutionalises       CTBT does provide a political and to        the inside wall of the pressure vessel
  the dominance of the existing weap-          some extent a legal, barrier against            TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power
  ons states.                                  testing. The real impact of the CTBTs       Company) has decided to deal with the
                                               failure to enter into force lies in the     cracks by simply clamping on steel
     Besides, the CTBT has an opt-out          fact that until it docs so, the CTBT        supports and bolts and not by replac-
  clause. This allows a state to test sim-     verification regime will function on a      ing the pipes. This is. however, obvi-
  ply because for whatever reason it           voluntary basis only.                       ously a stopgap measure providing no
  feels it no longer has confidence in                                                     long-term guarantee of safety The
  some component of its nuclear arse-                                      John Hallam
                                                                                           clamped pipes could rupture at any
  nal                                                                                      moment.
    Finally, there is the question of the                                                  Difficulty of Repairs
 Entry into Force' (EIF) of the CTBT,                                                      The pipes are located below the area
 which as so much vexed India. The                                                         between the nuclear fuel core and the
 current provision for entry-into-                                                         pressure vessel An area that is very
 foice(EIF). whereby 44 named coun-                                                        confined and highly radioactive There
 tries must ratify the treaty before it can                                                arc limits to the possibility of repair
 actually become fully legally binding                                                     work by remote controlled robots be-
 was included at the insistence of the                                                     cause of the difficulty of working in
                                                                                           such a tight space, and the difficulty


Anumukti Vol. 10 No. 1                                           15                                      August / Sepetember 1996
 of controlling robots in a high radio-          Replacing PWR steam generators is                          The problems occurring in aged nu-
 active environment. Thus, the replace-      also a major construction job that en-                     clear power plants are of kind that are
 ment of these pipes will pose not only      tails making a large opening in the re-                    hard to discover during regular inspec-
 technical difficulties, but will also en-   actor containment.                                         tions, or which such inspections are
 tail a lot of work involving heavy ra-          Replacing, a shroud would be an                        not even meant to find. To property
 diation exposure to labourers.              even big because it should be                              asses the degree of ageing, there
     If the in-core piping is replaced in    performered fight inside the pressure                      should be a requirement for an over-
 Fukushima 1-1, it will be the first time    vessel. This would require opening the                     haul-like inspection in which plant
 such work has been carried out. mean-       pressure vessel cover, taking out all                      after, for example, 10 or 20 years of
 ing the job have to be done without         components including the steam dryer,                      operation is shut down for two or three
 any technical corroboration whatso-         lattice, and fuel assembly, loosening                      years. It could perhaps be mandatory
 ever. Since these pipes were not de-        and extracting the shroud, then insert-                    at that point to declare the plant
 signed or installed under the assump-       ing the new shroud, and finally per-                       decommissioned if it cannot satisfy
 tion that they might one day be re-         forming the welding and other tasks                        certain criteria, the formulation of
 placed, the task is likely to be a very     inside the core. Although workers                          which would of course be another
 difficult one.                              would probably be shielded by lead                         problem.
    Naturally, other reactors with pip-      plates set up around the inside core
                                             wall, they would still be exposed to                                           Source: Nuke Info Tokyo
ing made of the same material should
be shut down and inspected, but new          extremely high ra-
problems could conceivably crop up,          diation levels.
even where corrosion-resistant mate-
rials have been used. Nucleocrats            Critically                 Subscription Information
must henceforth anticipate such age-         Ageing Reactors
                                                                        Rs.30 per year (6 issues within India)
related problems in all nuclear power        and Their                  US 115 per year or equivalent for overs eas .
stations.                                    Decommissioning            Rs.500 for life (only within Indi a )
Replacing entire BWR shroud                  There arc no distinct      Demand drafts should be drawn on the State Bank
    The Nuclear Power Engineering            criteria for the op-       of Indi a. Valod (Code: 0531) For cheques and
                                             eration of aged reac-      drafts of other b a n k s , add Rs 10
Corporation and Hitachi, Ltd. are de-
                                                                        S ubs c ri p t i o ns, donations and enquiries
veloping technologies to enable re-          tors or for making         regarding c i r c u l a t i o n should be addressed to;
placement of in-core structures in           decisions on when
boiling water reactors in order to keep      they should be             Editor Anumukti
ageing reactors on-line. This is part of     decommissioned.            Sampoorna Kranti Vidyalaya
the "Nuclear Power Plant Maintenance         We therefore have a        Vedcnni, 394 641 India
Technology Reliability Demonstration         strange situation in
Tests" commissioned by the Agency            which development          Tel: 02625-22074
of Natural Resource and Energy               of the technology          Email:
(ANRE). Currently they are running           proceeds without           Admin@Amimukti.ilbom.ernet.in _________
tests on replacing guide tubes for neu-      consideration of
tron flux measurement instrument.            how to handle old          Anumukti Team: Zahir, Su mesh,
They are planing subsequent tests for        facilities.
                                                 Assessing the          Sahadevan, Hansa, Santosh Peter,
replacement of core shrouds, control
guide tubes, and jet pump riser braces.      state of nuclear           Sanghamitra and Surendra
    In addition, we have received infor-     power plants should
                                                                        P u b l i s h e d by S. G o d e k a r for Saap o o r n a K r a n t i V i d y a t a y a
mation that Toshiba has placed an or-        at the very least be       a nd p r i r t e d by his at The Parijat P r i n t r y . A h a m d a b a d .
der with a British company for three         done in a disinter-        D a t e of P r i n t i n g . April 30. 1997
units of a large remote-controlled ma-       ested manner, in-
chine to be used in the replacement and      stead of according
the installation of shrouds. According       to arrangements |ke
to the information source, the replace-      the "regular safety
ment work may soon be carried out for        reviews'' that are in-
a number of older Japanese BWRs.             ternally managed by
                                             the utitities them-
    Replacing a whole shroud- a large        selves.
in- core cylindrical steel structure sur-
rounding the BWR fuel assemblies-
would no doubt be a job of consider-
able scale.

								
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