My previous post on Kudankulam got some online and offline feedback. I partly invited criticism with my screwup in claiming that the reports of ZiO-Podolsk corruption were from a single source, a Norwegian NGO (who quoted a Russian agency report that I couldn’t find). I was quickly alerted to the Russian original, which is more credible than a Norwegian NGO. But it is still a single source, which is mystifying to me. A report that is not followed up is like an experiment that is not repeated. Initial media reports are often erroneous and a full picture appears only later. What is the full picture here and why has nobody reported on it? It is mystifying to me, but I don’t buy the conspiracy theory that there is a deliberate international media blackout on this.
Be that as it may, the anti-nuclear activists are trying to link that story to reports that four valves in Kudankulam were found to be defective. The facts that these are part of additional safety features requested by the Indian side, that they were detected in time, that AERB clearance will only be given after full testing, are all unimportant, it seems.
It is good to see the minute concern exhibited over four defective valves in an installation the size of Kudankulam. Can we have the same concern for non-nuclear installations all over the country? Just in the past one month we have seen a fertilizer factory explosion in Texas and a garment factory collapse in Bangladesh, both with heavy loss of life. Here in India we have seen numerous disasters over the years, from Bhopal to the Uphaar cinema fire to the Kumbakonam school tragedy to the Mantralaya fire to numerous firework accidents in Sivakasi, and that doesn’t include buses plunging into ravines, trains ramming vehicles at unmanned crossings, brake failures in poorly maintained public buses, and so on. If an iota of the concern for detail exhibited in Kudankulam (both by the NPCIL and by the protestors) were applied elsewhere, we could save thousands of lives a year.