Prof. T. Shivaji Rao

Prof.T.Shivaji Rao is the Director of Center for Environmental Studies,GITAM University, Visakhapatnam (India)

Here is a related article by Prof. Rao:

 

In India the term expert is defined in Section 45 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872. The Act deals with what kind of Evidence must be given which may have to be proved before the court and the public. It also specifies which persons and by what manner the evidence must be given by which any fact is to be proved.

According to Sec 45 of the Evidence Act an expert is defined as a person who is specially skilled. An expert to be a competent witness need not acquire special knowledge or skill professionally. It is sufficient if he has made a special study of the subject or acquired special experience therein. Sometimes opinions of experts on a topic also differ. For instance when positive assertion is made by one expert that the signature on the will is that of the testator and a second expert casts certain doubts but no positive interference is provided by the second expert that the signature is not genuine the court has no option except to accept the opinion of the first expert.

However the competency of the expert must be shown perhaps by the nature of his studies that he was possessed of necessary qualification or that he has acquired relevant skills therein by experience. Expert should be subjected to cross examination on an issue of contention because an expert like any other witness is fallible and the real value of his opinion consists in the rightful inferences which he draws from what he has himself observed and not from what he merely surmises.

The expert’s evidence is only a piece of evidence and the weight to be given to it has to be judged along with other evidence as it is there to corroborate with the other relevant evidence. Hence if we have to arrive at consensus or a common agreed opinion on crucial issues Scientific and technical, one must know that experts like other persons can be influenced by their interests, background levels of knowledge and beliefs in a special subject under consideration. When the background of a scientist or expert is known the reason for his taking a particular view on a crucial problem of public importance can be explained.

While honest differences exist in the interpretation of data among some experts, sufficient data may not be available in some cases to draw any scientific conclusions. If experts differ in the risks involved in making a choice between two alternate courses of action for achieving the same goals of economic development, a decision has to be taken on the basis of what enlightened American experts call as “the doctrine of comparative consequences”. If we assume that expert “X” is right and we follow the policy and the choice he supports what will be the consequences if this expert turns out to be wrong in the long run? If we assume that expert “Y” is right and we follow his policy and the choice he supports what will be the consequences if this second expert turns out to be wrong in the long run? Hence on the basis of least costs of damage the final choice has to be made on the course of action to be followed in going ahead with any economic development programme in the fields of irrigation, water, power and industrial growth.

According to Section 51 whenever the opinion of any person is to be treated as relevant the ground on such opinion is based must also be relevant. An expert may give account of the experiments he performed and investigative work done by him by study, field work or literature survey for the purposes of forming his opinion on the given subject. If the opinion of the expert is to be accepted the reasons upon which such opinion is based must also be inquired into. Opinion of an expert is no evidence without his assigning any reasons for such opinion. The correctness of the opinion can be estimated only when the reasons upon which it is based are fully explained. If the reasons are frivolous or inconclusive the opinion of the expert becomes worth nothing. Hence the value to be given to the opinion of an expert depends not only on the cogency of reasons on which it is based but also on the competence of the expert to form such a reliable opinion.

In European countries like France and Germany several training courses on nuclear safety are offered to several batches of competent persons from the nuclear industry focused on pressurized water reactors, Boiled Water Reactors and VVER reactors. After attending these courses on nuclear safety the candidates must be able to attain sufficient skills

The Experts:

See Biodata of experts, pages73-77

Training course,France

Training course on nuclear safety, Germany

Tamil nadu Government’s Expert Committee on the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant:

1. M.R. Srinivasan, former Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission: a Mechanical Engineer

2. S. Iniyan, Director of Centre for Energy Studies, Anna University,

Professor, Director center for Energy Studies,. Department of Mechanical Engineering, Anna University, Chennai- 600 025,

3. D. Arivuoli, Professor, Department of Physics, Anna University

Professor, Department of Physics, Anna University – Chennai, INDIA and Editorial Board Member, International Journal of Bio Sciences and Technology . Dr. D. Arivuoli, Professor of Physics, Anna University did his MSc Materials science and PhD (crystal growth) at Anna University Chennai, INDIA.

4. L.N. Vijayaraghavan , former IAS office are the other members on the committee.

B.Com(Hons),M.Com, I.A.S(72:TN) Principal Commissioner& Commissioner of Civil Supplies, Plot 986, TVS Colony, Anna Nagar Western Extension, Chennai-600101, Tamil Nadu 26547170 ® [email protected]

1) To grasp the fundamental safety related characteristics of nuclear reactors and the high inventory of radioactive substances

2) To master the concept of defence in depth at different levels of defence like successive physical barriers, highly reliable protective safety systems, small, medium and large reactor accidents and the methods of their management.

3) to identify the clear-cut responsibilities of the nuclear plant operator and the supervisory regulatory board with emphasis on the need for constructive interaction between the independent operating and regulating agencies.

4) to identify the crucial aspects of safety culture in all the major responsible organizations of the nuclear plant in which every safety related issue is to be duly attended to according to its importance.

5) to continue monitoring the human performance in operation and maintenance of the reactors as determined by a well designed man-machine interface and to evolve clear operating procedures and highly focused training programmes to ensure highest level of safety.

6) to chalkout clear-cut principles and procedures for deterministic and probabilistic safety analysis.

7) to evolve the basic principles of quality assurance and quality control in the design, construction, operation and maintenance of a nuclear reactor

8 ) to conduct investigations on meteorological parameters, seismic parameters and the possibilities for cloud bursts, intense cyclones and tsunamis and socio-economic data for identifying suitable sites for the reactors.

9) To conduct investigations on background radiation levels routine discharge of air, water and soil pollutants from the reactors and identify their impacts on plant, animal and human life in different ecological systems.

10) To prepare Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) reports including the risk analysis, accident scenarios chalkout to identify the path of dispersal of radioactive emissions due to possible explosions of the reactors, emergency response systems, disaster management

11) To prepare the environmental impacts of decommissioning of the reactors radioactive waste treatment systems and disposal methods.

12) To prepare cost benefit analysis reports of the nuclear plant and alternate sources of energy that may be more safer, less costly and socially acceptable.

In one of the training programmes on nuclear safety in Europe the following topics are included under the training programme on Nuclear Safety

1) Design of Nuclear Power plant

2) Basic principles of nuclear safety

3) Radiation protection in nuclear facilities

4) Safety classification of structures, systems and components

5) Internal and external hazards

6) Deterministic accident analysis

7) Probabilistic safety analysis

8 ) Human performance

9) Operational safety

10) Surveillance programs – Maintenance

11) Severe accidents

12) Plant renewals, modifications and upgrades

13) Regulatory control

14) Emergency preparedness and response

15) Safety culture

In addition to the above courses a nuclear safety expert must also receive instruction and field training in

1)radiological impact assessments on plant, animal and human life on the basis of the background level radiation and the man made radiation and their impacts on the DNA in the cells including the possibility of repair mechanisms, mutations and cell death.

2)surveillance of routine radioactive isotope releases into the air, water and soil environments and food materials for radioactive pollutants like tritium, Iodine, Cesium, Strontium, Plutonium

3) radiological impact assessment of accident releases on the basis of the nature of accidents in the reactor and their core content in terms of radioactivity, source terms and their dispersal under fluctuating meteorological conditions to different distances upto 100km and above

4)emergency preparedness, disaster management on the basis of such reports prepared by the United Kingdom in case of Sizewell reactor of 110MW capacity as presented in several websites including the case study on Kudankulam nuclear plant

5) the methods for involving the people in the nuclear plant management by inviting the people to get awareness about the full working of the nuclear plant reactors at Kudankulam and also to convince the people that the Environmental impact assessment reports pertaining to site selection based on potential earthquakes, hidden faults likely to be activated and potential adverse meteorological conditions like cloud bursts, major cyclones and tsunamis. For convincing the local population that the plant authorities have taken all the measures to ensure that the plant cannot fail even if all the sources of power fail simultaneously and to ensure that even if the water is not available for cooling alternate steps have been taken by using alternate methods of cooling as provided for the saving of the Reactors No.5 and 6 at Fukushima in Japan.

A nuclear safety expert must be treated as a person who has studied for his academic degree/ diploma courses in most of the above subjects or has gained experience by research or field training and thereby mastered the key subjects and gained sufficient command over the main subjects and other collateral subjects dealing with nuclear plants and their impact on environmental safety to make sure that the reactors do not become counterproductive to public health, natural resources and national economy and prosperity in the long run.

In the light of the above qualifications of a nuclear safety expert almost all the members of the expert committees constituted by the Union Government and the Tamilnadu state Governments to assess the nuclear safety of Kudankulam reactors do not get qualified as experts as per the Act and they should come before the public to answer all their questions on nuclear safety. Since the experts failed to convince the people on Nuclear safety their reports must be rejected by the people and the Governments as well.

Otherwise the inaction by Tamilnadu and Union Governments becomes tantamount to a direct declaration of nuclear war against the millions of people of southern districts of Tamilnadu. Just as patriots like Mahatma Gandhi , Pandit Nehru and Kamaraj Nadar continuously fought against the foreign rule of Britishers to secure freedom for India for developing a social welfare state the people of Tamilnadu must take up this Kudankulam issue as a second war of independence by agitating for their right to life, livelihood and the Environment as envisaged by the late Prime Minister Mrs.Indira Gandhi under article 51 A(g) of the constitution of India. For qualifications of the Expert members on Kudankulam see the following websites and decide on the quality of their expertise knowledge on Nuclear safety.