Revelations of two major radioactive leaks endangering workers at an Indian nuclear power station strengthens the case against selling uranium to India, the Australian Greens said today.
Indian press outlets are reporting that an IAEA team has arrived in India to assess the scale of the leaks at the Rawatbhata nuclear complex in Rajasthan. Greens nuclear policy spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam said the mass radiation exposures of plant workers showed the human side of the Indian Auditor General's damning assessment of the state of the industry.
"Last month, Auditor General Vinod Rai's report on nuclear regulation in India highlighted a series of grave organisational and operational flaws, and raised serious concerns about the lack of independence of the Regulation Board.
"The IAEA inspection comes more than three months after managers at the plant reported that more than 40 workers had been exposed to tritium radiation in two separate leaks over the summer.
"A team from the UN nuclear watchdog - the IAEA - is now inspecting Rajasthan Atomic Power Station to, in their words, ‘review the programmes and activities essential to plant operation based on the IAEA safety standards and on proven good practices'. This is the first time New Delhi has asked the International Atomic Energy Agency to inspect an Indian plant. Based on the Auditor General's report - every nuclear plant in India needs an IAEA inspection.
"It is no shock there is a mass movement against nuclear power in India. At the site of a nuclear reactor in Koodankulam police have used brutal tactics against tens of thousands of peaceful protestors. There were more than 2000 arrests overnight near the Tamil Nadu Assembly in Chennai.
"In the meantime, the suggestion that Australia should sell uranium to fuel these plants is beyond comprehension."