People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE)
Idinthakarai 627 104
Tirunelveli District For immediate release
August 15, 2013

The INS Sindhurakshak Catastrophe and the Koodankulam Prayers

SindhurakshakThe People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) would like to express our heartfelt condolences to the families of the 18 crew members who have died in the submarine INS Sindhurakshak catastrophe. There were series of deafening explosions in the submarine and no one knows what triggered those explosions. The submarine was engulfed in a huge fire and nobody knows why the manual and automatic alarm systems did not work during the emergency. The Russian company Zvyozdochka, that specializes in repairs and recycling of nuclear submarines, has just completed modernizing and upgrading the vessel at an whopping amount of some Rs. 450 crores over the past three years.

Obviously several questions arise out of this tragedy.

[1] The Sindhurakshak was built by the Admiralteiskiye Verfi shipyard in St Petersburg in 1995. Why did we have to modernize and upgrade it in just 15 years? What caused the fire in 2010?

[2] Why did it take three long years for Zvyozdochka to do their work and what exactly did they do in the submarine for the past three long years at an exorbitant cost?

[3] Why did it cost Rs. 450 crores of poor Indian people’s tax money to refurbish the submarine? The submarine’s original cost price was only Rs. 400 crores. Does anyone in India do any accounting and auditing of all these military procurements and upgradation projects?

[4] The seven Russian specialists who had serviced the submarine were in a hotel when the accident occurred and they remained safe and sound. While we are happy that these men are safe and sound, we wonder why Indian lives were left unprotected and unsafe?

Naturally, our attention turns to the Koodankulam nuclear power project (KKNPP).

[1] The project was proposed and planned in the mid-1980s and modified by several follow-up agreements. As per the revelations of Dr. M. R. Srinivasan, a former Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) chief, the Indian nuclear authorities fiddled with the original design of the reactor pressure vessel (RPV) and did an unauthorized refit. Why did the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) have to modernize and upgrade the Koodankulam reactors it in just a few years? What do the Site Evaluation Report (SER) and the Safety Analysis Report (SAR) of Units 1&2 say about the Koodankulam reactors? Why does the NPCIL refuse to share these reports with the public even after the Central Information Commission (CIC) has ordered to share? Why does the NPCIL obtain a stay at Delhi High Court against the CIC order? Nobody knows!

[2] The KKNPP Unit-1 was supposed to have been commissioned in 2007. Now it is 2013. Why did it take six long years for the Russian Rosatom to complete the project? The Unit-1 has not produced electricity to burn even a zero-watt bulb yet. Why? Nobody knows!

[3] The original cost estimate of the KKNPP project was some 13,000 crores. Now the NPCIL says that they have overspent some 4,000 crores due to “Interest During Construction” (IDC) and the final estimate of the project is almost 18,000 crores. Does anyone in India do any accounting and auditing of all these unexplained cost overrun? Nobody knows!

[4] Scores of Indians have lost their lives in the KKNPP projects but there has never been any Russian casualty so far. We do not wish anything bad for our Russian friends; in fact, we wish them well. But we do wonder if Indian life is not as valuable as Russian or American or French lives? Why do Indians get killed everywhere? The governments of India and Russia signed a secretive Inter-governmental Agreement (IGA) in 2008 about the Koodankulam project’s liability. This report has not been revealed to the public. Is it because Indian life is worthless? Nobody knows!

And finally, why does the Indian government keep losing our Indian citizens’ hard-earned tax money on subsidizing the Russian economy by buying all the brittle and fragile Russian fighter planes, ships, submarines and nuclear power plants that suffer time overrun and cost overrun? Nobody knows!
The Mumbai tragedy makes the people of Tamil Nadu and Kerala to sit up and look up to the sky. What is in store for us? Nobody knows!

The Struggle Committee