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When I get time, I read or listen to music. If any is left, I blog!

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Under A Tower, Near A Reactor!

I am searching for a place to stay. Do you find that funny? Well, you won't, when I add I am looking for a safe place to stay. I do not want a cellphone tower atop my building. I also wish to be at least 100 km away from a nuclear reactor? Life is precious, if not to the authorities, at least to me.

There are currently around 500,000 cell towers supporting the mobile phone networks in India. Those in the know say, radiation within 300 meters of such a tower raises your body temperature by 1 degree centigrade in 10 minutes. This could cause headaches, nausea, sleeplessness, dry eyes and so on. Prolonged exposure may lead to miscarriages in pregnant women, and sometimes even cancer.

At the other extreme is the nuclear reactor. Lke the proverbial iceberg, the scientific community sees only its 'tip'! Even catastrophes like the one that hit Fukushima in Japan, fail to lift the cloak off this much touted 'invincibility'.

Recently a section of the media reported, “nine people including three employees working at the Kalpakkam atomic reactor, about 70km from Chennai, died of multiple myeloma and bone cancer between 1995 and 2011.” The report added, “as many as 244 employees in Kalpakkam and their dependants were detected with various types of cancer between 1999 and 2009.”

Initially, the authorities tried to play the usual game of sweeping facts under a carpet of conjectures (Click here for a typical reaction on Jaitapur). They said, “the average rate of incidence of cancer among NPCIL employees was 54.05 per lakh while the national rate was 98.5 per per lakh of population. The average death rate due to cancer among NPCIL employees was 29.05 per lakh while that of the general public was 68 per lakh of population.” Another statement added that the incidence of cancer in North Eastern India where there were no nuclear plants was higher than in the areas where there were atomic reactors.

Amazing! What are they trying to tell - that the safest hide-out from Cancer lies in the vicinity of a nuclear reactor? 

Jacques Cousteau, scientist and inventor once said:  
A common denominator in every single nuclear accident is that the specialists rush to the media saying, 'There's no danger to the public.' They do this before they themselves know what has happened because they are terrified that the public might react...
"The power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking. We thus drift toward unparalleled catastrophe."
- Albert Einstein