Battlefield uranium weapons should be illegal under various conventions of war. Uranium is not localized and the uranium aerosols are long lived in the environment and are able to travel thousands of miles. It was detected in Reading in UK and the DU was used in Baghdad a distance of 2500 miles. This was a lesson learnt during the atmospheric nuclear tests of the 1960s and the subsequent Strontium-90 in milk, and during the Chernobyl accident. The use of battlefield uranium weapons, like the new bunker busting bombs which have more than 1 ton of uranium in the warhead and can result in significant exposure to the public in many countries. Uranium is a powerful genotoxic stressor. The ceramic sub micron Uranium oxide particle can cause heritable genetic effects in areas where uranium has been used and these particles generated.
Since 1945, the University of California and the U.S. Nuclear Weapons Labs together with other nuclear states have blanketed Planet Earth and the global atmosphere with accumulating uranium and fission products with an unknown biological outcome. Low level uranium contamination, even below EPA drinking water standards, is an estrogen or hormone disruptor at a minimum, which means it will have a global affect, and not just on females of many species. Infertility will increase in each future generation because of chronic low-Ievel ionizing radiation exposure, cancers of reproductive organs in females will increase, and the viability of future generations will decline. The link between diabetes and uranium exposure is also significant to the reproductive system, since pregnant women who have diabetes and little health care produce unhealthy babies. The impact of uranium on the pancreas and production and function of insulin, another hormone, is very significant damage to another system.
Uranium is an endocrine-disrupting chemical. It is like the herbicide atrazine, pesticide DDT, plastics-bisphenol A compound found in Nalgene that was banned from baby bottles. Populations exposed to environmental uranium will have increased risk of fertility problems and reproductive cancers. Exposure to uranium and its daughter elements has been linked to lung cancer, kidney damage and bone disease and other medical conditions, from degenerative nerve disease and birth defects to a variety of other cancers. Tailings piles contribute to U contamination in water sources. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency limit for drinking water standard for uranium is 30 micrograms per liter and the Canadian standard is 20 micrograms. These carcinogens cause a cell’s DNA to mutate, eventually leading to cancer. Radiation causes the fragile chains of DNA to break, also leading to errors and mutations.
After a series of Bomb blasts since 1993, to 26/11 it is clear that the problem of Mumbai is not to go away. The muslim terrorists will now concentrate on our nuclear installations in Mumbai. It will take only one suicide bomber to lay waste Mumbai if the terrorists are concentrating their attention on our plutonium plant or one of the many nuclear reactors in Trombay. Already LeT operatives are in place in our Air Force and the regular crash of MIG21 could be one of the end results of that. Our nuclear secrets are in the hands of Pakistan as many of the muslim staff who worked in DAE and went to Gulf nations was debriefed by Pak delegations to which I am a witness. So it is only a matter of time that our Trombay will become another Chernobyl and I advise all Mumbaikers to plan for relocation as our IB or Govt. is unable to protect these installations. Remember that Sonia and Manmohan were working for ISI and even removed the ban on SIMI and Sonia even went to the extent of defending SIMI in parliament.
As per US Nuclear Regulatory Commission rules a nuclear plant builder should have a damage insurance guaranteed by the U.S. government. In our case GOI have to give a similar guarantee if the plant were to be built in India so that if a Chernobyl happens, the US industry or the Indian company that built it will not be liable for any damages. This make the tariff from a nuclear power plant built by a U.S. company in India costlier besides subsidizing the U.S. firm’s investment in India. Because of this provision, no new nuclear plant has come up in USA for the last 30 years after the Three Mile Island accident. Bush violated the 123 agreement which said other countries would be called into play if fuel supply to India was disrupted. Bush now says no legal binding on fuel. With terrorism in India by christian Maoists and Muslim terrorists, a Chernobyl is waiting to happen any time now. If two suicide bombers attack nuclear installation, places like Mumbai will become another Chernobyl.
NPCIL is the only government unit that can install nuclear power plant in India. Uranium is not the only issue, but the component suppliers including the reactor vessel worldwide is very acute. Japan Steel Works is the only supplier of reactor pressure vessels except Russia and its capacity is just five vessels per year and it cannot meet India’s demand. JSW order book is full till 2016 and buyers have to pay a premium of $100 million for booking a new vessel. There are only 80 nuke plant component suppliers and 200 certifications companies whereas thirty years back these figures were 400 and 900 respectively. The annual nuke plant constructions in the world is less than 4. Indian demand cannot spur production, as US or Europe are not going for nuke power plants anymore. Plant construction around the world is less than four a year. Indian firms cannot invest the huge sums for nuclear component fabrication as certification to IAEA standards have become mandatory with the nuke agreement.
Nuclear power in France works, was a documentary that went missing after a month. The reason was that there were accidents at two French nuclear installations, injuring seven workers. A third of the French public now oppose nuclear power. Nuclear safety is not there for any nuclear power plant as was seen in Indian incidents. More than 250 secret nuclear reactor accident reports were kept secret. Some of the underreported incidents:
February 1983 — Bulgaria’s Kozluduj nuclear power plant lost pressure in the primary cooling system;
June 1983 — three of four pumps fail in Argentina’s Embalse nuclear plant;
August 1984 — the primary cooling system in West Germany’s Bruno Leuschner plant in Greifswald burst;
January 1985 — at Pakistan’s Kanupp reactor, radioactive heavy water leaks while being transferred through a rubber hose;
April 1985 — radioactive water and sludge swamp two rooms of an auxiliary building at Belgium’s Tihange reactor.
In several of these previously unreported nuclear slipups, a meltdown was a real possibility. A survey of official records since the Three Mile Island reactor meltdown in 1979 shows there have been more that 23,000 accidents at U.S. nuclear reactors and the number is increasing. In 1986, there were more than 3,000 reported accidents, up 24 percent since 1984. India is sitting on a powder keg nuclear disaster as a result of reliance on the peaceful use of the atom and we may not require muslim terrorists of India and the Paki muslim terrorists to do the damage.
The Guardian reported on 14 November 2006 that Al-Qaeda is plotting nuclear attack on UK. more nuclear power stations means grater risk of terrorist attack. New generation of nuclear power stations proposed for the UK is more susceptible to terrorist attack. US nuclear power plants are also vulnerable to attack by muslim terrorists. Nuclear waste storage facilities in 103 US reactors esp the cooling ponds in which spent radioactive fuel is kept could be severely damaged by aircraft, high-powered weapons or explosives. If the water drained from the cooling ponds, the zirconium alloy fuel cladding would overheat and burst into flames and could release large quantities of radioactive material into the environment. A large cloud of lethal radioactive fallout could be released by a terrorist attack on the nuclear waste. Such an attack on a cooling pond could release more radioactivity than the Chernobyl reactor accident in Ukraine in 1986. Such a release would cause thousands of deaths from cancer.
Some 130 crore people have died since nuke tech has been in vogue. By suitably defining the effect of radiation this figure is reduced to zero. Radioactive fish from the sea is being caught off the Mumbai seashore, since the BARC was started as most of the liquid radio active waste is simply dumped in to the sea. Same is true for all other nuclear plants including nuke power stations. With no independent monitoring, that was facilitated by the Chidambaram, as AEC chairman people are being irradiated from radiation in DAE facilities. Even without a terrorist attack the poor present leadership of AEC, has made the safety of Indians a big question mark. If there is a terrorist attack, with a dirty bomb, the only option for the public is to leave the place.
In the seventies, one professor sent a neutron source back to BARC by post without any shielding and it came to the table of a scientist in Hot laboratory. Seeing the condition of the old capsule he thought of checking for radiation, and found to his horror that it was a highly radioactive capsule. In the seventies, radioactive aluminum scrap tubes stored in the BARC compound were found to have been stolen and later it was found that they were used as construction material for the Janata colony that is adjacent to the BARC colony in Anushakti Nagar. Lakhs of radioactive devices are in use in hospitals, for which there is no long-term disposal plan. These are tiny capsules of radioactive cesium isotopes; cobalt-60 pellets. Radio active Americium241 is present in smoke detectors and they have to be disposed of as radioactive waste. Yet India has no practical plants that works at the ground level. On 21.07.06 and on 29.01.07 India lost Industrial Gamma Radiography exposure device containing Ir-192 source. On 26-8-2009 a radiography device, weighing around 28 kg, fell off the vehicle near Ambedkar Chowk in Pimpri, on the outskirts of Pune while being transported from Mumbai. It was picked up a group of street boys and taken to a nearby village. This could be collected back as the loss was detected after few hours. Hundreds of such cases happen but are never reported as the AERB that is responsible for monitoring it is under DAE and they always try to hush up the incidents. Last year radioactive stainless steel buttons cast in Vipras foundry in Pune, reached France after machining and transportation through many firms exposing everyone along the way. French workers were exposed and it became an international news. Yet the case was never followed up in India. Thus buying and steel or stainless steel product is a dangerous thing in India. In AP, a hospital cobalt source went missing and health minister said that it was washed away by rain. Government hospitals radioactive waste is ending up in scrap and it end up radio active steel in many Indian homes as furniture. Nuclear power is a one way street that can contaminate every thing. In Mexico a hospital radiotherapy machine with cobalt 60 was sold as scrap for $10 and tons of radioactive steel entered USA. . In USA some 4363 radioactive sources have been lost, stolen or abandoned, over the past 10 years and in India in this regard no information is available. These lost materials are dangerous and can kill public. In India there is not even a record of how many radioactive sources exist nationwide. If the radioactive material falls into terrorists’ hands could end up in a dirty bomb, or one that uses conventional explosives to scatter radiation. Oncology doctors or X ray technicians or those living near nuclear plants or daily wage workers working in radiation environment will have a shortened lifespan. DAE had failed in this mission to monitor and regulate the radiation equipments. Staff and visitors are routinely exposed to radiation in diagnostic clinics using the X ray units all over India as proper shielding for walls are not provided and radiation badges are not given to these staff to limit their exposure to the permissible limit.
There were many instances of radiation spreading from our nuclear plants. Once a staff from the Plutonium plant had stolen radioactive gold seal of a pump from the plant in BARC. Once a dog that ingested radioactive water when it fell in a pool in the plutonium plant escaped from BARC to outside carrying Pu burden in its body.
Various ancient sites in Indian continent, could be highly radioactive. While we were developing India’s nuclear bomb at BARC, we were trying to find ancient hints about its construction in our Hindu Vedas. Mohenjo Daro and Harappa ancient Indian cities were destroyed in a nuclear blast some 6000 years back . In Mohenjo Daro, in an epicenter 150 feet wide, everything was fused, melted, crystallized; 180 feet from the center the bricks are melted on one side, and human skeletons are highly radioactive even today like that was observed in Nagasaki and Hiroshima.
US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) reported that it is notified of about 200 lost or stolen radioactive sources each year and that since 1983 20 sources had been accidentally melted at steel works and other foundries. IAEA says it is aware of 49 meltings world-wide at 1998 and the situation is aggravated by increasing amounts of scrap originating from decommissioning of nuclear reactors, weapons and submarines. As per general information 65 meltings of radioactive steel have occurred world-wide. As a result, radioactive materials are entering the public domain in an uncontrolled manner are creating a serious risk of radiation exposure for workers and the public. US Nuclear Regulatory Commission says that over 2300 reports of radioactive materials found in recycled metal scrap.
On 21 December 1994 a load of mixed alloy scrap described as titanium turnings but was radioactive due to depleted uranium swarf, was delivered to ELG Haniel Ltd in Sheffield in UK. In March 2000 it was discovered that a waste tip manager from Suffolk had been carrying a radioactive 12 kg lump of depleted uranium in the back of his van for about 6 months because he thought the metal might have some value. In 1996 Georgian soldiers receive severe exposures from sources left by departing Russian troops. In January 1999 two Turkish scrap dealers were exposed to a Cobalt 60 radiation source on the outskirts of Istanbul and were hospitalized. They were trying to break up a 2-ton block of iron and lead they had bought weeks before. In March 1999 an Amsterdam hospital gave a medical instrument containing 114 kilos of depleted uranium to a scrap dealer.
In February 2000 three scrap yard workers in Thailand died after breaking open an abandoned radiotherapy device and receiving fatal radiation doses from a Cobalt 60 source. In April 2000 Uzbek State customs committee reports the interception of radioactive scrap traveling to Pakistan from Kazakhstan. In April the Science and Technology Agency, Japan, investigated a case of contaminated waste stainless steel imported from the Philippines and detected at the gates of Sumitomo Metal Industries in Wakayama City, near Osaka. Another incident occurred in May at the Kobe Steel plant, Kakogawa City 23. There have been evidence from contamination in consumer products and there are plenty of unreported radiation exposure incidents.
Italy is a key route for transport of radioactive scrap involving Italian organized crime. The report says that between January 1997 and October 1999 113 incidents were recorded. An estimated 5,000 tonnes of radioactively contaminated metals are entering Italy each year. Interpol alerted in February 1998 that Britain was being targeted by Russian criminals trading scrap metal contaminated with radioactivity. Scrap metal contaminated with radioactivity is smuggled into the UK. In May 2000 the Avesta Steel plant in Sheffield melted a small plutonium 238 source that is most likely to have been an abandoned cardiac pacemaker which itself an unregulated radioactive source.
The melting a cardiac pacemaker resulted in about 16 tonnes of metal and slag being contaminated with radioactive plutonium 238 that has a half life 86 years and had to be disposed of as radioactive waste 27. Once melted, contaminated metals find their way into new products. In Spain in May 1998 a Cesium 137 source entered the smelting process in the Acerinox plant in Algeciras, near Cadiz 28 releasing a plume of contaminated off gases which triggered detection monitoring equipment between 25 May and 2 June in France, Italy, Switzerland, Germany and Austria and resulted in some temporary detection measurements up to 1,000 times higher than background radiation levels. Some detection points were 2,500 km from Algeciras.
Skoda engine parts mainly cylinder heads have been cast from contaminated radioactive metal. About 100 cylinder heads were produced of which 60 were traced and 40 were never located. Whole railway wagons were produced with radioactive steel in Slovakia and it was detected only when wagons went to Autria where they triggered radiation monitors at the crossing point. In Taiwan radioactively contaminated steel in pipes and fittings were identified in buildings containing 1,600 apartments constructed between 1982-83. In mid-1998 around 6400 people had been identified as living in this radioactive environment for up to 16 years. People still occupy these apartments as they have no option, and have cancers and congenital disorders and unusual chromosomal and genetic damages.
Cobalt 60 pellets from discarded radiotherapy equipment in Mexico in 1983, were melted in foundries in the United States and the reinforcing bars for concrete and table legs were manufactured out of it. This was discovered on 16 January 1984 when a lorry carrying rebars passed close to the Los Alamos laboratory, USA, and set off the radiation alarms designed to warn of radioactive material leaving the site. In the intervening period significant volumes of potentially contaminated metal had been produced and distributed by several foundries. In Mexico, surveys were made of 17,600 houses which could have incorporated contaminated rebars and as a result 814 houses were demolished. In the USA, a search for the table legs, which covered 1400 customers, revealed 2500 contaminated items which were returned to Mexico for disposal. Some 4000 people were exposed.
Radioactivity was detected in the well water in Chember area in the seventies, but were not told to the public and they are still using it in many places. Radon makes the Banjara Hill area in Hyderabad not a good place to live as the rocks contains 28ppm or Uranium. Contaminated scrap arising from decommissioning nuclear reactors in USA, Europe is set to flood Indian market as more and more nuclear plants are decommissioned. In Taiwan radioactive steel used in 1,600 apartments exposed 6400 people for 16 years. 65 meltings of radioactive steel have occurred world-wide and radio active railway wagons in Slovakia, radioactive Skoda engine cylinder heads, contaminated rebars produced in USA resulted in the pulling down of 814 houses in Mexico, contaminated 2500 steel table legs exposed some 4000 Americans etc are just tip of the iceberg.
There is no regulatory controls or clearance required for lightly radioactively contaminated metals for reuse in consumer goods or for engineering or industrial purposes. Consequences are very severe additional small radiation doses which people could receive from lightly contaminated consumer products will result in damaged future generations. Contaminated scrap arising from decommissioning nuclear reactors in USA is set to flood Indian market. The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission permitted BNFL to recycle contaminated scrap recovered during its $200 million decommissioning work at the Oak Ridge nuclear weapons plant, Tennessee, despite the absence of nationally agreed clearance levels. Oak Ridge is estimated to hold 100,000 tonnes of assorted contaminated scrap metal including 6,000 tonnes of contaminated nickel estimated to be worth $41 million but presently further free release has been refused by the US Energy Secretary.
In 2008 radioactive stainless steel buttons cast in Vipras foundry in Pune reached France and installed in 600 Otis lifts. News came on Oct 22, 2008 that France’s Mafelec firm delivered thousands of lift buttons to Otis lifts that were sent from India and 20 workers were exposed to excessive radiation. Radioactive Cobalt-60 laden stainless steel were sent to Mafelec by two Indian firms, Bunts and Laxmi Electronics, and they in turn purchased the inputs from SKM Steels which in turn sourced its materials from a foundry called Vipras Casting in Pune. Dutch customs discovered that an Indian shipment of industrial flanges delivered to three companies at four sites in western, southern and central Sweden were radioactive. In India this was never followed up and never tracked the persons who were exposed to excessive radiation. Thus buying and steel or stainless steel product has become a dangerous thing in India as these could be the furniture and utensils.
In 2007 there were big Pakistan government advertisement in major Urdu newspapers asking the members of the public to inform officials, if they found any lost or stolen radioactive material. In AP, a hospital cobalt source went missing and health minister said that it was washed away by rain. Government hospitals radioactive waste is ending up in scrap and it end up radio active steel in many Indian homes as furniture. Nuclear power is a one way street that can contaminate every thing. In Mexico a hospital radiotherapy machine with cobalt 60 was sold as scrap for $10 and tons of radioactive steel entered USA. In USA some 4363 radioactive sources have been lost, stolen or abandoned, over the past 10 years and medical facilities have lost track of nearly 1,500 pieces equipment with radioactive parts since 1996. In India in this type of information is not published. These lost materials are dangerous and can kill public.
In USA about 1.6 million tons of radioactive scrap consisting of gold, silver, carbon steel, stainless steel, aluminum, nickel, and copper that came from decommissioned nuclear reactors and nuclear weapons and the oil and gas industries are waiting for lowering of per year exposure for radiation to the public, so that these can be recycled. But the fact is that the long term exposure to low levels of radiation can be more hazardous than short term exposure to high levels, resulting in a six to eight times greater cancer risk. The nuclear installation decommissions produce large quantities of radioactive metals and it is melted for re use for making containers of nuclear industry and for producing steel granules for heavy concrete shielding. Italian police have seized 30 tons of radioactive steel exported from China sent from in May 2007 that had arrived in the northern port town of La Spezia in Italy.
Oncology doctors, X ray technicians, those living near nuclear plants, daily wage workers working in radiation environment will have a shortened lifespan. DAE had failed in this mission to monitor and regulate the radiation equipments and exposure of radiation workers. In India almost all hospitals, clinics, diagnostic centers, are not constructed as per the HTM standards or its equivalents. Walls and doors require mandatory lead sheet lining but not seen even in corporate hospitals. Its own staff, visitors, pedestrians, even the consultants, parking area below are regularly exposed to radiation. The doctors, staff dealing in X ray units or radiopharmaceuticals are never seen wearing the mandatory TLD badges, with which the personal exposure can be monitored so that they are never over exposed. Shoddy and shortcut way things are done in India, which is shameful in a country like ours where as these things are enforced even in African nations and India needs to enforce this with an independent authority.