Technical experts have raised apprehensions over the safety of the Rare Materials Plant (RMP) on the outskirts of the city, following the recent nuclear accident at the Fukushima plant in Japan.
The RMP at Rattehalli on the Mysore-Hunsur highway is an uranium enrichment plant directly under the control of the Department of Atomic Energy.
Major General Sudhir G. Vombatkere (retd.) of the National Alliance of People's Movement and an activist of the Mysore Grahakara Parishat, and N.S. Chakravarthy, a technical expert who has been associated with various Government of India projects, in a press release, underlined the dangers arising out of RMP, which they said was an ancillary nuclear installation.
Maj. Gen. Vombatkere who has a Ph.D. from the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai, and Mr. Chakravarthy who has a Master's degree from Canada, pointed out that at present only nuclear power plants had come under the public scanner. However, issues of safety at “ancillary nuclear installations” were no less important.
“Even though there are no nuclear reactors and no fission processes in ancillary installations, each of them conduct complex technological processes, and risk of accident and contamination exist,” they said.
“The public does not expect information that may compromise national security or economic interests. But it has a right to know what wastes RMP is producing, the quantity, where and how it is stored or disposed of, and the safety aspects of conveyance of nuclear material into and out of RMP,” they said.
Maj. Gen. Vombatkere and Mr. Chakravarthy pointed out that the RMP was located on high ground overlooking Krishnaraja Sagar (KRS). Rainfall run-off and also groundwater from the Ratnahalli area eventually reached KRS, from which Mysore received drinking water.
They demanded that periodic inspection of the RMP, monitoring reports of the storage facilities, and the nature and quantity of contents in storage be made public periodically.
Maj. Gen. Vombatkere and Mr. Chakravarthy urged the RMP authorities to hold public hearings in this regard.