An Embedded Journalist’s Koodankulam Diary

Manish Banerji

Scratch the surface & you would find all Indian journalists are sarkari. This chap Joshi – never heard of him – is no exception. Specially when they report on matters technical, all they do is reproduce the offcial hand out . They would not do their home work & bring back information which is not already in public domain.

koondankulam_diaryAdd to that those the ill- tempered old tribe who are in India called ‘nuclear scientists’; I mean those Radhakrishnans , Ramakrishnanas , Gopalakrishnans , Balakrishnans, .. Krishnans of every description. As if these Krishnans are not enough , the second tier is Radhikans, Ramans, Gopalans, Balans & so on.

Possiblet these chaps did read a little bit of science; some may have picked up a doctorate along the way. But that was long back. If you are a Krishnan you are a government servant first, a government servant second & a government servant last. Pay scale , pay commissions , pay fixation, promotion , posting , retirement posting are subjects which they study with great interest & expert in . As for nuclear science they vaguely remember if the structures of certains atoms are broken , tremendous energy will be released . In short they stopped taking interest in modern day development in nuclear science, & thinks there is no necessity learn more on the subject after what Niels Bohr discovered. They do not believe that science of nuclear power is now common knowldge & you can read up most of it in a 12th. standard physics text book.

So our Mr. Joshi went to Kudamkulam ( he has been careful to not say that whether he went there as guest of KKNPL. ). Those hot tempered old ….Krishnans must have treated him like another nuisance ( this fellow do not write their service books).

So our Mr. Joshi comes back with such jems of information like ‘Unit One is inching towards ‘criticality’, which, in nuke lingo, means ready to launch.’ So lo & behold you ignoramous , a nuclear reaction ‘inches’ towards criticality & goes critical when ‘ready to launch.’

The dome is “six feet super concrete’, wall .Whatever the term ‘superconcrete’ ( American Society of Civil Engineers please note. ) may mean , the belief that thicker the wall , sronger it becomes is pathetic. ( btw all Indian nuclear reactors are housed in thick concrete domes ).

‘ flood-proof doors and a stainless-steel double containment casket which is there to protect the reactor from any calamity, minor or major.’

‘Flood-proof doors’ ? ‘Stainless steel bouble containment caskets’ ? protects from any calamity, major or minor. Any calamity ? Beats me !

The KKNL is located 1500 KM from a ‘Tsunami Fault’. What is a Tsunami fault ? Old …Krisnan has outfoxed young Joshi ( ?) He just said tsunami fault instead known underwater volcanic fautls causing tsunami .And our Joshi was duely impressed.

The above critique of n-reactor is common knowledge. I take it that the reactor will continue to generate power 2000 years from now. But what is important is it may go bust tomorrow.

And those 200 Russians. From personal experience can I tell you that they are a positive menace to the safety of the plant. The Russians send hordes of low level takhniks- mechanics really with plane loads of faded ammonia prints ( yes believe you me – they still are in age of ammania prints; reading them is a great headache. ) One hopes that at Kudamkulams thoseI takhniks are modern engineers of the computer age. ( The problem may be the …Krishnans – to them any thing white is snow white.)

Pollution etc has not been touched upon here, no point raking up an old wound.

I hope the plant will be put on grid with a due Puja & handed cover to Lord Viswakarama, to be taken care of.



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