Friday, March 18, 2011

AERB finally wakes up to Japan nuclear disaster to say Indian cities are safe

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, March 18: The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, which is supposedly a regulating body of nuclear energy in the country, wakes up a week after the Fukushima nuclear mishap to say there's no radiological impact in India from the Japan incident.

Faced with strong criticism for not doing its best to serve as a nuclear watchdog, the AERB on Friday conducted radiation studies at 28 places across the country, including Hyderabad, where the Nuclear Fuel Complex is located. The NFC purifies natural uranium ore and makes it nuclear grade for use in power plants.

The Indian Environmental Radiation Monitoring Network set up by Bhabha Atomic Research Centre studied the radiation levels in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Manavalakurichi, Mumbai, Nagpur, New Delhi, Shillong and Visakhapatnam among others. The measurements were taken on Friday afternoon.

The data obtained on Friday was compared with the one observed during February 2011, before the Fukushima incident. The AERB claims that "there's no adverse impact to India from the radiation leak at Fukushima".

Considering the geographical location of India with respect to Fukushima, current status of releases and the prevailing wind direction towards the east (Pacific Ocean), no radiological impact from the radioactivity released in Japan is expected in India.

The average natural background radiation in Hyderabad during February 2011 was 147 nGy/hr (nanoGray per hour) as against 147 nGy/hr recorded on March 18. For Bengaluru the figure is 88 for both the months. In case of Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu, the figures are 114 and 107 respectively.

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