Skip to main content

Levels of radiation from Uranium Corporation of India operations are 60 times "safe levels" set in US

Subarnarekha river, "affected" by uranium waste
By Our Representative
As India seeks to go nuclear signing one pact after another with other countries, a US-based non-profit organization, Centre for Public Integrity (CPI), has come down heavily on the state-owned Uranium Corporation of India Ltd’s (UCIL’s) operations in Jadugoda, Jharkhand, for failing to protect “nuclear workers, village residents, and children living near mines and factories” from “persistent exposure to unsafe radiation.”
Situated 250 km west of Kolkata, UCIL, an investigative report by CPI says, is “sitting on a mountain of 174,000 tons of raw uranium”, which “is the sole source of India’s domestically-mined nuclear reactor fuel, a monopoly that has allowed it to be both combative and secretive.”
CPI claims, it has reached the conclusion after “close examination of hundreds of pages of personal testimony and clinical reports”, which suggest “how nuclear installations, fabrication plants and mines have repeatedly breached international safety standards for the past 20 years.”
A report based on its investigation says, “Doctors and health workers, as well as international radiation experts, say that nuclear chiefs have repeatedly suppressed or rebuffed their warnings.”
Quoting local residents, London-based investigative reporter and filmmaker, Adrian Levy, who is the chief investigator of the report, says, “The industry's aim, according to local residents, has been to minimize evidence of cancer clusters, burying statistics that show an alarming spate of deaths.”
"Impact" of contamination
In fact, the report says, case files, include epidemiological and medical surveys, talk of “a high incidence of infertility, birth defects, and congenital illnesses among women living in proximity to the industry’s facilities.” They also detail “levels of radiation that in some places were almost 60 times the safe levels set by organizations like the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission.”
Levy underlines, “Poor conditions for those who work or live near nuclear facilities have been largely unchanged for decades. When we drove into Jadugoda, we quickly spotted labourers, barefooted, and without protective clothing, riding trucks laden with uranium ore through villages, their tarpaulins gaping and dust spewing.”
“Ore was scattered everywhere: on the roads, over the fields and into the rivers and drains”, Levy says, adding, “Uranium tailing ponds that dribbled effluent into neighboring fields were readily accessible, and children played nearby as their parents gathered wood. Washed clothes hung from tailings pipes carrying irradiated slurry.”
Pointing out that about 35,000 people, who live in seven villages that lie within two-and-a-half kilometres of the three huge ponds, most of them tribals, are the worst affected because of the radiation, the report says, “During the monsoon season, the ponds regularly overflowed onto adjacent lands, with contaminants reaching streams and groundwater that eventually tainted the Subarnarekha river.”
It adds, “Pipes carrying radioactive slurry also frequently burst, leaching into rivers and across villages, according to photographs taken by residents. Lorries hired by the mines also dumped toxic effluent in local fields when the ponds were full.”
The report regrets, “No government institution acted until last year, when the Jharkhand High Court in Ranchi ordered an inquiry into congenital diseases, mainly among children near the mines, after reviewing local coverage on the issue. But Chief Justice R Banumathi said that ‘given the sensitivities surrounding the corporation, and the role it plays, that investigation is to be internal’.”
---
Read the full report HERE

Comments

TRENDING

India under Modi among top 10 autocratizing nations, on verge of 'losing' democracy status

By Rajiv Shah
A new report, prepared by a top Swedish institute studying liberal democracy, has observed that there has been a sharp “dive in press freedom along with increasing repression of civil society in India associated with the current Hindu-nationalist regime of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.” The report places India among the top 10 countries that “have autocratized the most”. Other countries that have been identified for rolling towards autocracy are -- Hungary, Turkey, Poland, Serbia, Brazil, Mali, Thailand, Nicaragua and Zambia.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam*
RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Gujarat link of controversial US doctor who 'forced' WHO quiz Trump's wonder drug

By Rajiv Shah
A top American doctor, Sapan Sharankishor Desai, born and raised in the “affluent” North Shore (Chicago) region of Illinois by Indian parents, at one point of time involved in NGO activity through  dedicated to “improving” the lives of the impoverished in Gujarat, is in the eyes of a major international storm following his paper (retracted) in a “Lancet” questioning Donald Trump-promoted drug hydroxychloroquine.

Border conflict? RBI nod India's 'brotherly' help to China internationalise its currency

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
In the middle of a global pandemic, China started an unprovoked border conflict with India. It unraveled trust deficit and ties between the two neighbours. As thousands of Chinese troops tried occupying Indian territory, the Narendra Modi-led BJP government directs the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to allow the Bank of China to start regular banking services in India. The Bank of China will now operate in India like any other commercial banks.

Dalits in India, Blacks in US suffer 'similar' humiliation: Macwan drafts letter to Trump

Counterview Desk
Well-known human rights activist Martin Macwan, recipient of the prestigious Robert F Kennedy Human Rights Award in 2000, has drafted an open letter to US President Donald Trump following the disturbing turn of events with the murder of George Floyd, leading to widespread protests in the US. He has sought signatures of concerned citizens before sending it to Trump.

RSS supremo Deoras 'supported' Emergency, but Indira, Sanjay Gandhi 'didn't respond'

By Shamsul Islam*
National Emergency was imposed on the country by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on June 25-26, 1975, and it lasted for 19 months. This period is considered as ''dark times' for Indian democratic polity. Indira Gandhi claimed that due to Jaiprakash Narayan's call to the armed forces to disobey the 'illegal' orders of Congress rulers had created a situation of anarchy and there was danger to the existence of Indian Republic so there was no alternative but to impose Emergency under article 352 of the Constitution.

Hurried nod to Western Ghat projects: 16 lakh Goans' water security 'jeopardised'

Counterview Desk
Taking strong exception to "virtual clearances" to eco-sensitive projects in the Western Ghats, the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) in a statement has said urged for a review of the four-lane highway, 400 KV transmission line and double tracking of the railway line through the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary and Mollem National Park in Goa.

Clean chit to British rulers, Muslim League? Karnataka to have Veer Savarkar flyovers

By Shamsul Islam*
The BJP government of Karnataka led by BS Yediyurappa is going to honour Hindutva icon VD Savarkar by naming two of the newly built major flyovers in Bangalore and Mangalore after him. There was a huge uproar against this decision of the RSS-BJP government as many pro-Kannada organisations with opposition parties and liberal-secular organizations questioned the logic to ignore so many freedom fighters, social reformers and others from within the state.

Disturbing signal? Reliance 'shifting focus' away from Indian petrochemical sector

By NS Venkataraman*
Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), a large Indian company, has expanded and grown in a spectacular manner during the last few decades, like of which no industrial group in India has performed before. RIL is now involved in multi various activities relating to petroleum refineries, petrochemicals, oil and gas exploration, coal bed methane, life sciences, retail business, communication network, (Jio platform) media/entertainment etc.