Dr Muhammad Khan
OWING to continuous leakage of information, incidents of stealing sensitive nuclear material, seizing of depleted Uranium and hundreds of cases of nuclear proliferation, the nuclear experts believe that Indian nuclear programme has become the most hazardous for the mankind or at least for the people of South Asia. According to credible sources, there have been over 150 cases of the uranium theft in various nuclear plants of India since 1984, which have even been registered by Indian police, besides many, which were not reported in press. The outcome of the investigations of all these thefts and proliferations is still unknown.
Very recently, there has been seizure of 8.861 Kilograms of Depleted Uranium by police in Indian Economic capital, Mumbai, which cost approximately 24 Crore rupees (Indian rupees). The Indian police arrested two people, namely; Kishore Prajapati and Saif Ullah Khan Residents of Mumbai, who possessed this Depleted Uranium. Prajapati has been named as director of an unlisted company that deals with manufacturing of metals, chemicals and related products. Mr Prajapati claimed that he got this radioactive material from the wings of a scrapped Air India aircraft that he had purchased 10-12 years ago through his contacts in industry. After confirming the nature of material from a laboratory in 2014, he decided to sell it in black market.
India otherwise has poor record of the chemical and nuclear safety. A lengthy study regarding the safety of Indian Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, revealed over 130 “extremely serious safety issues warranting urgent corrective measures in the nuclear installations like; Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research, Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited, Uranium Corporation of India Ltd: Indian Rare Earths Limited; Nuclear Fuel Complex, and the Heavy Water Board”. 40 MW Cirus, has also suffered the radiation leakage with Candu reactors suffering from massive leakage of heavy water and the “Fast Breeder Test Reactor” of 40 MW at Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research, Kalpakkam, built with French assistance, was rated `unsafe’, and discarded”.
The Rajasthan Atomic Power Plants has met severe design faults and had to shut down a number of times from 1980 to 1994 due to cracks. There broke out uncontrollable fire in the Narora Atomic Power Station, located near New Delhi in March 1993, which caused total melt-down. A high dosage of iodine was found in seawater around the famous Tarapur Atomic Power Plants (TAPP), Maharashtra and in 1995, the radioactive waste contaminated the water supply of nearly 3000 villagers all around causing various types of diseases to the living being of the area. Radiation leakages from the Kakrapar Atomic Power Plant (KAPP), Gujarat is a routine practice and concrete containment dome of KAPS collapsed in 1994. IAEA has shown total dissatisfaction over the KAPP and Russian VVER Light Water Reactors installed on various power plants in India.
The point to be noted that, Indian nuclear scientists have a significant role towards the nuclear leakages and proliferation. To quote a few, in October 2003, Sitaram Rai Mahadevan, an Indian nuclear scientist was arrested for sending blueprints of specialized valves, a critical part for nuclear plants to North Korea. Mr. Rabinder Singh, director RAW fled to US with sensitive nuclear documents in 2004. Three main scientists namely; Dr Y S R Parsad, Dr C Surrender and Dr Mahesh assisted Iran in the building of its nuclear power plants through transfer of uranium enrichment technology and later through transferring missile technology too. Mr. Akhtar Hussain Qutbuddin Ahmed, a former RAW agent and a businessman working in Dubai was deported on charges of selling nuclear secrets to many countries around the globe. In Nov 2006, Dr Anil, Director of Uttaranchal Space Application Centre was murdered by RAW for leaking Indian nuclear secrets to some other countries. Two Indians namely; Sudarshan and Gopal were arrested by FBI in 2007, for smuggling of US electronic components used in missile guidance system.
International community, the IAEA and UN must note that, Indian track record of nuclear proliferation is worst in the world. Its nuclear programme is highly unsafe and most dangerous in the world. There are reports that, some RSS extremists in collaboration with Indian nuclear scientists are involved in this proliferation of nuclear technology and nuclear material through underworld organizations to generate the funds for the completion of “Maha Baharat agenda”. Through its strategic partnership with US and strong diplomacy, India has been concealing all records of nuclear proliferation and theft of Uranium.
— The writer is International Relations analyst based in Islamabad.