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mock emergency exercise near the N-plant - Kalpakkam

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It was around 6.25 am on Wednesday when tragedy struck at the Madras Atomic Power Station in Kalpakkam. A major accident had occurred in the reactor and scientists, fearing radiation leak, alerted the station director. Immediately, the Kalpakkam Emergency Committee consisting of Department of Atomic Energy officials and the Kancheepuram district collector, who is also offsite emergency director, held a meeting. The wind direction was gauged and the possibility of radiation spread to nearby localities analysed.

At 7.30 am, a Grade I alert was sounded by the collector after scientists found the radiation levels to be below 10 millirem (mrem). People in Manamai and Echur villages, which come under Sector-D within the Emergency Planning Zone of 16 km from Kalpakkam DAE Centre, were advised to stay indoors with doors and windows closed. They were also advised to avoid food and water from open sources as Kalpakkam scientists believed they could have been contaminated.

At 10.01 am, a Grade II alert was sounded as the radiation levels had crossed 10 mrem. The villagers were administered Iodate tablets to guard against the possible uptake of radioactive Iodine, which could get released during such an event.

And at 11.13 am, the third alert was sounded. All living being in the villages had to be evacuated. After the villagers were herded into buses, they were taken to a decontamination zone 16 km away from the contaminated area. Firefighters as well as medical authorities were present at the scene. The villagers given a shower and radiation levels were monitored by officials through digital contamination monitor and scintillator. The villagers were then housed in Blessing Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Keerapakkam in Thirukazhukundram.

All this was part of a mock drill at Kalpakkam. “This is part of our bi-annual offsite emergency exercise-2009 to check the preparedness of the district administration and the plan management in meeting any remote emergency situation,” district collector Satosh K Mishra later told newspersons.

The exercise simulates a postulated accident scenario and the police and district officials perform warning and advisory functions in the ‘affected’ villages and symbolically evacuate a small number of villagers and cattle as part of the public awareness and emergency preparedness programme, he said.

Madras Atomic Power Station director K Ramamurthy stressed that there were adequate safety and security mechanisms in and around nuclear installations and this was part of a mock drill to highlight that DAE was taking all precautions to combat any catastrophe arising out such a scenario.

The last such exercise was conducted on August 24, 2007.
Source: Express Buzz

Two scientists face charge of attempting human sacrifice

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A case has been slapped against two senior scientists of the Defence Research and Development Establishment (DRDE), Gwalior, who were accused of attempting to use their junior colleague as a human sacrifice, police said Sunday. Shradha Sharma, wife of Sushil Kumar, a junior scientist at the DRDE, in her complaint to the police Saturday night accused two senior scientists at the DRDE of being involved in witchcraft and attempting to make a human sacrifice of her husband.

However, the police have filed a case against the two senior scientists for causing hurt, criminal intimidation and wrongful confinement.

“The accused have been charged under sections 506 (criminal intimidation), 342 (wrongful confinement) and 323 (causing hurt) of IPC,” Gwalior’s Additional Superintendent of Police Manohar Verma told IANS.

According to the complaint, one of the scientists invited Sushil Kumar - who had not been well for some time - to his residence in the DRDE campus Oct 6 night to “cure” him. When Sushil reached there, the scientist who was performing some worship in his mother tongue in the presence of the other senior scientist, asked him (Sushil Kumar) to sleep.

“As he went to sleep, the scientist sprinkled water on him and took out a sharp edged weapon but Sushil suddenly woke up and escaped,” his wife told the police.

President of India to inaugurate 4th Annual Convention on RTI tomorrow

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The fourth Annual Convention on RTI gets underway tomorrow. Organised by the Central Information Commission, it will be inaugurated by the President of India Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil. Lord Meghnad Desai will deliver the keynote address. Chief Information Commissioner, Sh. Wajahat Habibullah, central information commissioners, policy makers, social activists, academicians and NGOs, among others, will take part in the deliberations over two days. Delegates from some of the SAARC countries will also be participating in the Convention as delegates.

The Convention will assess the implementation of Right to Information (RTI) Act in the country. One session is assigned for Proactive Disclosures under RTI and problems and perspectives related thereto. RTI in the developing world and propagation of RTI culture in a society will also be under focus. The role of media and other means of furthering the cause of RTI will be examined during the Convention. The other issues on the agenda are, Role of Political Leadership in RTI and RTI & other laws in India.

Valedictory address will be delivered by the Vice President of India, Sh. Hamid Ansari.

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