Saturday, May 17, 2014

URGENT ALERT: Accident at Koodankulam Nuclear Reactor; at least 6 people injured

Nityanand Jayaraman
NEWS ALERT: Accident at Koodankulam Nuclear Reactor; At least 6 people injured
14 May, 2014. 2.00 p.m.
Shopkeepers from Anjugramam, a village about 15 km from Koodankulam nuclear complex, reported seeing at least 6 ambulances rushing by at around 1.15 p.m. today (14 May). Anjugramam lies near a fork in the road, where one fork leads to Kanyakumari town and the other to Nagercoil. Another Idinthakarai resident, Mildred, who was at Myladi (25 km from Koodankulam) reported seeing 3 ambulances rush by at around1.45 p.m. Myladi is en route Nagercoil. Nagercoil and Kanyakumari are two major towns within 30 km of the nuclear plant, with large hospitals. Predictably, the nuclear establishment denied the occurrence of any accident first. Later they admitted to a minor incident and are reported to have said that the injured were taken to the hospital in the NPCIL township, where they were well enough to walk on their own. Sources from inside the plant report that at least three of the injured were contract workers and the other three were NPCIL staff. Reports also suggest that the accident happened in or around the boiler section of Unit 1, which reportedly attained criticality mid-year last year.
After initially flashing news about the incident, the media is now reportedly playing NPCIL’s statements denying and downplaying the incident. If NPCIL’s past record is anything to go by, truth will be a while in coming. Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam was unavailable for comment.
Today’s accident comes less than a week after the Honourable Supreme Court ruled that it was satisfied with the safety features installed at the plant.
Kafila reports on the ongoing struggle of the local people against the establishment of the nuclear reactor in Koodankulan herehere and here.