Outsiders – 23rd October, 2009


TN Ayush Dept to launch two medicines to contain swine flu
Chennai, October 22, 2009:

The Directorate of Indian System of Medicine in Tamil Nadu will launch two medicines to contain the spread of swine flu on October 23, as part of a seminar being organized by the Department of Ayush. Out of the two medicines, one medicine is from the Siddha branch of ISM and another is from Homoeopathy branch. The seminar was meant to emphasise the need to integrate the modern Allopathic system with the traditional Indian System of Medicine (Ayush), so as to combat successfully the newly arrived health hazards like chikkungunya, swine flu and dengue fever. This is in line with National Health Policy of 1983 and the National Policy on Indian System of Medicine and Homoeopathy-2002 which envisaged integration of Ayush with the modern systems of medicines. The aim of integration of Ayush in the healthcare infrastructure is to bring about an architectural correction and re-inforce the existing Public Health Care Delivery systems to facilitate the use of natural, safe and friendly remedies which are time tested, accessible and affordable. Also, under the NRHM scheme all the PHCs and CHCs in the state will provide Ayush facilities and the patients come in the hospital can opt for any system of treatment that he likes.

How safe is Madras Atomic Power Station?

The releases from the Madras Atomic Power Station (MAPS) have not exceeded the limits prescribed by the regulatory agency. The data collected from 1982 to date by the Environmental Survey Laboratory (ESL) at MAPS do not indicate high increases in radiation levels. Nuclear Power Corporation Limited should invite students and public to the ESL to reassure them. BARC scientists have measured outdoor natural gamma radiation levels at 214 locations in different parts of India continuously over a year by using special dosimeters and got an average annual value of 775 microgray.

They got the highest value of 26730 microgray at Chavara, Kerala. (Gray is a unit of radiation dose).

What is the extra contribution, if any, to radiation dose made by a nuclear power station at its fence post?
Data from 1982 to 2007 indicate that for the MAPS, the lowest extra dose was 7.2 microsievert per year and the highest 86.3 microsievert per year. (Sievert — Sv — is another unit. For all practical purposes, background radiation expressed in sievert or gray may be considered numerically equal). These are much less than the AERB limit of 1,000 microsievert.

The status is similar in other power stations.

Activity can escape only if several barriers (ceramic fuel, its cladding, coolant, coolant tube etc) are broken. These are of proven quality. Fail safe devices including redundant and diverse safety systems ensure that such uncontrolled releases do not happen.

In April 1994, an “environmentalist” measured high radiation levels at the MLAs’ hostel and other locations in Lucknow. “Radiation levels at some points are higher than those at Chernobyl,” he claimed. Many newspapers published the story.

A team of scientists sent by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) found that his Geiger-Mueller counter —based instrument was defective. It was light sensitive. When the detector was made light-proof, the radiation levels recorded normal!

In 2005, South Asians Against Nukes (SAAN) claimed that while monitoring radiation levels around the Madras Atomic Power Station in places such as Coimbatore, Chenglepet, Mahabalipuram and Kalpakkam they came across several spots with gamma radiation levels as high as a few millisievert to above ten millisieverts per year. The highest level measured was 54.5 millisieverts.

It is speculated that the wide variations between the readings taken from the same spot indicated that the source of radiation is not on the ground but are “picoparticles” from uranium fission floating and flying in air! There are simpler explanations.

If they were using a defect-free instrument, they were recording radiation from thorium rich soil in the region. This is nothing unusual.

Since over 70 per cent of their readings were above 2mSv, one might believe that they were experiencing the problem faced by the “environmentalist” in Lucknow!

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *