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

Articles By M V Ramana

Impact of Natural Background Radiation on Health

High natural background radiation is a constant presence in the lives of those inhabiting some coastal regions of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. While there is agreement about the existence of radiation, some studies claim that it has no impact on the health of the population, while others disagree. There is a need to examine these findings critically, because of implications for public health, and to understand some of the technical reasons for why some papers appear to find no support for evidence (lack of statistical significance) of impact on health due to high levels of background radiation.

The Courage to Challenge the Nuclear World Order

In July 2017, 122 countries adopted the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. To mark this historic achievement, this year’s Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, in recognition of its work over the past decade to make this treaty possible. This article reflects on the nuclear disarmament activism that led up to the formation of ICAN and the new treaty, and the challenges this now poses to the nuclear weapon states.

Old Plans, Handouts, New Spin

In May 2017, the union cabinet approved the construction of 10 more 700 megawatt pressurised heavy water reactors. A careful reading of this largely public relations spin on existing plans suggests that it chiefly hopes to persuade the Nuclear Suppliers Group to accept India as a member and attract capital that aims to profit from supplying components for nuclear power plants. Given our track record, the prospects of it adding to the role of nuclear power in India appear bleak.

Old Plans, Ongoing Handouts, New Spin

In May 2017, the union cabinet approved the construction of 10 more 700 megawatt pressurised heavy water reactors. A careful reading of this largely public relations spin on existing plans suggests that it chiefly hopes to persuade the Nuclear Suppliers Group to accept India as a member and attract capital that aims to profit from supplying components for nuclear power plants. Given our track record, the prospects of it adding to the role of nuclear power in India appear bleak.

Nuclear Salesmen in Paris

Despite being strongly promoted by pro-nuclear lobbies, nuclear power was not adopted as a general policy to combat global warming in the 2015 Climate Change Conference in Paris. There are good reasons to expect that as a source of energy, it will only become less important—in particular the high costs of constructing and operating nuclear reactors and rapidly decreasing costs of renewable energy.

Flunking Atomic Audits

The recent Comptroller and Auditor General's report on the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board and, more broadly, on nuclear safety regulation has highlighted many serious organisational and operational flaws. The report follows on a series of earlier CAG reports that documented cost and time overruns and poor performance at a number of nuclear facilities in the country. On the whole, the CAG reports offer a powerful indictment of the department of atomic energy and its nuclear plans.