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Indian Power Workers Drink Radioactive Water

Posted by feww on November 29, 2009

Water Glows at Kaiga Nuke Plant, India

Tritium Leaked into Drinking Water at India’s 660 MW Kaiga Nuclear Plant

Indian authorities revealed that radioactive substance had leaked into drinking water at a nuclear power plant in southwest India.

Officials at the high-security nuclear power plant in Kaiga, near Bangalore, said the leak may have been deliberate. – Photo: AP. Image may be subject to copyright.

Radioactive tritium leaked into a water cooler at Kaiga nuclear power plant in Uttar Kannada district in Karnataka, exposing at least 55 workers who drank the contaminated water to high doses of radiation.

The authorities at the plant in Kaiga claimed that the leak in high-security plant may have been deliberate. Kaiga nuclear power plant  is located on the southwest coast of India about 450 km from Bangalore.

“Mischief is not ruled out. Investigations are on,” the director of the plant, J.P. Gupta, told Reuters.

The workers were reportedly back at the plant, Gupta said. “This incident has (in) no way affected (the) public, safety, health and environment.”

The dead fish may tell a different story, however.

Later, the Atomic Energy Commission chairman Anil Kakodkar, reportedly speaking on the national TV, called the incident “an act of sabotage” and blamed it on “an insider who has played mischief.”

Kaiga plant was closed in October for “routine maintenance,” but will  reopen soon, the authorities said.

Kaiga Nuclear Power Plant Location Map.

India’s Nuclear Power Industry:

Nuclear power is India’s fourth-largest source of electricity, preceded by thermal (fossil fuels), hydro and renewable sources. India’s existing 17 nuclear power plants generate about 4,120 MW of electricity with at least 6 other under construction with a projected capacity of about 3,160 MW.

India’s Electricity Generation Capacity (MW) by Type of Power Plants. Date: 31 December 2008. Source of Data:  India Ministry of Power – CEA. Chart by FEWW.

India’s Nuclear Power Plants

  • Tarapur Atomic Power Station, Tarapur, Maharashtra
  • Rajasthan Atomic Power Station, Rawatbhata, Rajasthan
  • Madras Atomic Power Station, Kalpakkam, Tamilnadu
  • Narora Atomic Power Station, Narora, Uttar Pradesh
  • Kakrapar Atomic Power Station, Kakrapar, Gujarat
  • Kaiga Atomic Power Station, Kaiga, Karnataka
  • Jaitapur nuclear power project — Maharashtra
  • Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant
  • Mumbai — Bhabha Atomic Research Centre

Related Links:

5 Responses to “Indian Power Workers Drink Radioactive Water”

  1. w said

  2. […] Indian Power Workers Drink Radioactive Water […]

  3. […] Indian Power Workers Drink Radioactive Water […]

  4. […] Indian Power Workers Drink Radioactive Water […]

  5. edro said

    Deliberate contamination at Kaiga
    01 December 2009

    Indian authorities have been shocked by the apparently deliberate radioactive contamination of drinking water by a disgruntled nuclear worker.

    An investigation was sparked after routine urine samples from a number of staff at Kaiga nuclear power plant were found to have elevated levels of radiation. It was found that a small amount of heavy water had been added to a water cooler.

    Heavy water itself is not radioactive, and is physically and chemically similar to regular water where it is present in tiny amounts. However, a body of heavy water often contains trace amounts of the hydrogen isotope tritium left over from manufacture and so can be mildly radioactive.

    “Prima-facie, it looks like an employee did it just to grab media attention and register a protest against the management,” said Indian minister for science and technology Prithviraj Singh Chavan.

    The incident is being taken very seriously, said Chavan. Potential outside influences on staff are being considered and plant owner Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd has launched its own internal enquiry. Police are not currently involved.

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