ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Health Hazards at Indian Rare Earths Plant

Health Hazards at Indian Rare Earths Plant R K Garg THE so-called 'study' entitled The Number Game' authored by V T Padmanabhan, which appeared in the Economic and Political Weekly, March 8-15, 1986 is totally unscientific and factually incorrect. From what follows it will be obvious that the author has drawn the conclusion first and then tried to manipulate all his data and interpretation to suit that conclusion. The object of the publication is clearly to create a scare about radiation and to turn public opinion in India against the nuclear power programme which is poised for a substantial expansion upto the year 2000. Towards this objective he has selected the Rare Earths Plant at Udyogamandal near Cochin as his target. This plant is run by the Indian Rare Earths Ltd (IRE), a company under the Department of Atomic Energy, Since our intention is not to indulge in a long unfruitful debate, we are briefly describing the radiation safety measures adopted in the plant and the various flaws and inaccuracies in Padmanabhan's article, (I) the author's lack of knowledge about the plant can be seen from his reference to the production of zirconium (used for cladding of Uranium fuel) in this plant. It should be clarified that no zirconium has ever been processed in this plant or is being processed presently.

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