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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