With serious allegations of leaky nuclear reactors and poor security levelled against India’s nuclear programme, Atomic Energy Commission chief Sekhar Basu brushes aside these charges saying this is a “well designed agenda” to “stall or delay” the country’s development. Journalist Adrian Levy, working for the Centre for Public Integrity in Washington, has levelled serious charges in a four-part investigative report against India’s nuclear establishment. New chief of India’s nuclear programme Sekhar Basu, also director of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, counters the allegations.
Excerpts from an interview: Q) How much of truth is there in the charges levelled by Adrian Levy against the nuclear establishment? A) I do not consider these as charges; he has written a paper based on something somebody else has said elsewhere, which he has put into his account. It is not a scientific document, it is not a document based on facts, and it is based on comments of some people. I do not consider these as charges.
It looks to us as a very well designed agenda for them whoever is funding him, to stall or delay the development of our country. Q) So, who do you think is motivating Levy or trying to stall the Indian nuclear programme? A) Ok. Definitely, Indians will not stall the Indian programme, that I am confident.
It will be somebody from a foreign country who thinks that India should remain poor and that India should remain poverty ridden, and that India should remain in darkness, so they are the people who are doing it. Q) Levy says that in Jadugoda where India has its uranium mines, they leak, and that there is a lot of radioactivity that comes out, and people are suffering because of that, you probably must have visited that area several times, what is your experience? A) Whatever he has said is based on certain facts that earlier somebody has published. He must know that there was a suo moto case that was taken up by the judge and to that, we have given a reply.
The details are available he can see the reply to see that if there is anything to be talked about. In summary, the judge had told us to form a committee, we had formed a committee and based on that committees conclusions it is very well established that nothing new has happened, there is no extra burden of diseases or no new types of diseases have come up or even that the number has not increased, nothing of that has happened. If you go there, I would request all other communities to go there and have a look if this is true or not.
There children are moving around happily in their college and schools. This is an area where there is poverty, it is because of that, malnutrition or those type of problems that are there.