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Nuclear Reactor

By Bhavana Sivakumar

Currently, we the people of Tamil Nadu are facing many problems. It is an obvious fact that destiny surrounds us in many ways. Methane, hydrocarbon, 8-lane road, neutrino, Gail pipeline damage, new education policy, imposition of Hindi, Sanskrit, drinking water problem, Kudankulam nuclear reactor in proper unsafe condition are threatening us. In this case, what is currently attacking us is that the decision to keep the nuclear waste disposal center at the Kudankulam nuclear power plant is a very perverse one. Before that, let's have a brief look at the information about Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant.

The Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant is the result of a Russian-assisted project under the management of the Indian Atomic Power Corporation in Kudankulam, Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu. It was in 1988, the then Prime Minister Mr. Rajiv Gandhi and the then Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Karbasev signed the agreement. But, after that, while Russia was divided into several countries, the United States protested on the grounds that India had not obtained the approval of the Nuclear Suppliers Group. So the project was shelved for ten years. A nuclear reactor installed at Chernobyl in Ukraine, United Russia, has exploded, causing massive damage. Millions of people were affected. It is said to have an impact even today. As it has become an unfit place for people to live in, History has recorded before our eyes that people have migrated from there to other places. This nuclear explosion is said to be one of the reasons why Russia split into many countries. Then again a constructive agreement was signed in 2001. Also considering India's security, it was decided to establish a naval base and in 2004 a small port was established.

Parts for the nuclear power plant were brought through this port. Due to lack of transport facilities, the works were carried out with delay and finally in June 2012, the works were started. But the people of the area, from the beginning, were expressing their opposition through many protests. The people were well aware of the danger of nuclear reactors, so they showed strong resistance. However, two nuclear reactors of 1000 MW nuclear power capacity were commissioned despite popular opposition. Also, now that India has got approval from the Nuclear Suppliers Group, it has again signed an agreement with Russia in 2008 to install four more reactors of 1170 MW nuclear capacity. It is also said that these nuclear power plants will meet India's ever-increasing electricity demand. Currently, two nuclear power reactors are operational and work is underway for two more reactors. And contracts for two more reactors have been awarded. Accordingly, electricity generation started from 2013. For the first time, 160 MW of electricity has been generated and fed into the central grid. After that, in 2014, it was at full capacity, producing 1000 MW. It is said that the third and fourth nuclear reactors will be operational and will be completed in 2024. In this case, recently, due to the accident at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, countries like Germany have decided to close down nuclear reactors. Seeing this, the people of Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi and Kanyakumari intensified their protest.

This aside, the question of where to dump nuclear power plant waste has been around for the last few years. In 2013, the Supreme Court imposed 15 conditions in a case filed by Friends of the Earth in 2012, which demanded that these wastes be disposed of elsewhere, outside the nuclear reactor, and should be arranged within 5 years. The most important of which is the five-year period. As it ends today, 2018, it has asked for another 5 years. One of the most dangerous is the storage of nuclear waste in reactors. According to scientific researchers, the accumulation of nuclear waste inside reactors poses a risk of accidents.

The Friends of the Earth organization says that while India does not have the space and technology to set up a "Deep Geological Repository" (Deep Geological Repository), which is used globally to permanently store nuclear waste, relying on a temporary facility like AFR (Away from Reactor) and continuing to produce waste at Kudankulam is a huge threat. The nuclear reactor regulatory authority has said in a statement that the fuel storage at Kudankulam nuclear power plant has not yet reached its full capacity and if given another 5 years' time, the construction of the AFR facility will be completed. The judges agreed and ruled that the AFR should be completed by 2022. Following this, the Pollution Control Board has announced that a public consultation meeting will be held on July 10 at Radhapuram in Nellai district for the construction of the Away from Reactor facility within the Kudankulam complex. It's a very traumatic thing.

It is very painful that the state government is not aware of these issues

happening in Kudankulam. No country has been able to find the technology to safely dispose of nuclear waste around the world, and that remains a major challenge. In this case, Tamil Nadu government should not give permission to set up AFR in Kudankulam for this perverse thing of turning Tamil people into test rats. Friends of Earth has requested the Tamil Nadu government to stop power generation in the two reactors at Kudankulam and abandon the construction of four more reactors until the central government formulates a clear plan for setting up a permanent waste center.

Analysts say that the damage caused by its waste is much greater than the damage caused by the Fukushima nuclear reactor accident in Japan in 2011, and that it will take 20,000 years for the destruction of nuclear waste. While the central government has openly agreed last year that there is no technology to handle nuclear reactor waste, the central government and the Tamil Nadu government continue to It is the demand of all to abandon this unsafe and disastrous endeavor without delay.

Let's look at a message that is proof right before our eyes. In Jathugoda, a beautiful hilly village in the state of Jharkhand, where more than 35,000 tribal people were living primarily through agriculture, in 1951, uranium was discovered in the mountainous areas where these people lived, and after that, in 1967, uranium mining was carried out. The manufacturing plant, the first in India, was set up by a state-owned Uranium Corporation of India.

The agricultural lands of the local people were taken away to build uranium mines. Also, the company employed those innocent people who knew nothing but agriculture as daily wage laborers by telling them gibberish words like development and employment. The fact that people who knew nothing about this were used to handle the uranium material without any protective equipment was a very cruel thing.

Every year, 3,60,000 tons of uranium production waste from the uranium mill was dumped in man-made ponds without any protective measures. It is very reprehensible that the waste contained not only uranium but also radioactive elements that can cause serious damage like thorium 230, radium 226 and radon 222.

The water pipes that carry the nuclear waste have ruptured, and the radioactive water has mixed with the surrounding lakes and ponds. Uranium dumps have gradually contaminated the ground water and all water sources in the area.

Gamma radiation emitted by uranium nuclear waste; radioactive contamination of water used by people; The area around the village was besieged by terrible radiation as the radioactive fumes emitted by the uranium plant continued. The people of the area, who had no basic knowledge about the effects of radiation, were using the water bodies contaminated with radiation as usual. As a result, from children to the elderly, cancer, tuberculosis, respiratory disorders, skin degeneration, organ degeneration, infertility, and miscarriage took everyone to the gates of death. After that, due to awareness, the plant was banned and closed down in 2014 after continuous protests by the people. But, as a disaster for the people, the state government has allowed the plant to reopen in 2018.

If this is the case for Jathugoda, a sparsely populated hill station, it is terrifying to imagine what would happen if a nuclear waste storage facility were built in Tamil Nadu!

To prevent this now, we all must realize that there is a high chance of the Katakodi region of South Tamil Nadu becoming an uninhabitable land. The general public, all parties, environmental organizations and scientific researchers should unite and put pressure on the central and state governments to try to destroy this cruel arrangement of storing nuclear waste in nuclear reactors. Otherwise, Tamil Nadu is guaranteed to become a hotbed!

By Bhavana Sivakumar

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