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

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THE ECONOMY-Dismal Legacy

aspects. This is applicable to all industrial concerns except the atomic energy establishment which comes under the purview of the Atomic Energy Act, 1972 which imposes archaic secrecy conditions. The legislation needs a thorough and urgent review. While there may be valid reasons for a degree of secrecy in matters concerning national security, it is possible and necessary to establish clear requirements for dissemination of safety data. For instance, the publication of the AERB report on the collapse of the Kaiga dome can hardly compromise national security. For that matter, even the report of the full investigation of the storage tanks at Tarapur should be made available, to the concerned local population especially. Gopalakrishnan has also mentioned several safety lapses which may ultimately affect populations around the BARC in Mumbai. These too need to be brought into the open - the research centre has a highly sensitive location, with the mainland across the strip of Arabian Sea not many miles away and a densely populated residential area and concentration of high risk industries on the other. Imaginary and assumed concern for national security cannot be an excuse to put thousands of lives at constant risk. Whether or not nuclear power is a realistic or relevant option for India, existing and planned installations must at least be made safe. For that, in accordance with international guidelines, the AERB has to be made independent and must begin to function as such. The next, and more complex, initiative has to be a review of the Atomic Energy Act from the public safety perspective.

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