Alleged export of sands containing thorium from the richest nuclear material coastline of the world
Chennai, 31 August 2007 To: Secretary, DAE, Govt. of India, New Delhi Dr. Anil Kakodkar Fax. 02222028476Cc: Prime Minister of India, Hon’ble Dr. Manmohan Singh 01123019545 Fax. 01123016857cc: Principal Scientific Adviser, 01123022113 Re: Alleged export of sands containing thorium from the richest nuclear material coastline of the world The coastline between Rama Setu (Rameshwaram) and Cochin constitutes the richest nuclear material coastline of the world yielding thorium (nuclear mineral) and titanium (space age mineral). Both these are strategic for the nation’s development and to achieve India Vision 2020 with energy independence (avoidance of dependence upon imported uranium by developing thorium-based breeder reactors) and autonomous space development programmes. In India, both Kakrapar-1 and -2 units are loaded with 500 kg of thorium fuel in order to improve their operation when newly-started. Thorium occurs in several minerals, the most common being the rare earth-thorium-phosphate mineral, monazite, which contains up to about 12% thorium oxide, but average 6-7%…There are also reports of loss of thorium from Indian Rare Earths Limited stocks. Destruction of Rama Setu will severely impact the accumulation of such placer deposits of rare earths and next tsunami through the mid-ocean channel will devastate the placer deposits and move them, almost irretrievably, into the depths of the ocean. I am bringing this to the notice of Govt. of India under Section 26 of the Atomic Energy Act 1962 and other sections detailed below, a cognizable offence related to stockpiling/trading in nuclear minerals containing monazite and ilmenite/rutile/garnet placer deposits along Tamilnadu and Kerala coast (Manavalakurichi, Aluva, Chavara and other places such as Sattankulam where titanium dioxide plant is sought to be set up using sands which also contain thorium 233/urainin 233).Uranium-233 is a fissile artificial isotope of uranium, which is proposed as a nuclear fuel. It has a half-life of 160,000 years. Uranium-233 is produced by the neutron irradiation of thorium-232. When thorium-232 absorbs a neutron, it becomes thorium-233, which has a half-life of only 22 minutes. Thorium-233 decays into protactinium-233 through beta decay. Protactinium-233 has a half life of 27 days and beta decays into uranium-233. Hence, thorium in monazite, ilmenite and other coastal placer deposits is a mineral as defined in the Atomic Energy Act, 1962. Since thorium is vital for the nation’s atomic energy program and for achieving energy independence, Govt. of India should advice on the steps proposed to be taken to conserve and protect these stockpiles of nuclear deposits.Yours sincerely, S. Kalyanaraman, Ph.D., Former Sr. Exec., Asian Development Bank,Director, Sarasvati Research Centre,Chennai 600015 firstname.lastname@example.org 31 August 2007 August 28, 2007 http://justsamachar.com/local/7/vaikundarajan-gets-preventive-bail/ Brief summary in English of Tamil news report: Vaikundarajan, owner of VV Minerals gets and his two brothers Jegadeesan and Chandresan, were granted anticipatory bail by Madurai Bench of Madras HC (Justice Rajasuria). He is exporting, without Govrnment permission, nuclear deposits in coastal sands of Tuticorin, Kanyakkumari coasts. வைகுண்டராஜன், தம்பிகளுக்கு முன் ஜாமீன்!! ஆகஸ்ட் 28, 2007 http://thatstamil.oneindia.in/Pictures/images_02/vaikundarajasn.jpg மதுரை: ஜெயா டிவியின் பங்குதாரர் வைகுண்டராஜன் உள்ளிட்ட 3 பேர் மீது அணு சக்தி சட்டத்தின் கீழ் தொடரப்பட்ட வழக்கில் முன் ஜாமீன் வழங்கப்பட்டுள்ளது. தூத்துக்குடி மாவட்டம், கீரைக்காரன்தட்டையைச் சேர்ந்த வி.வி.மினரல்ஸின் உரிமையாளர் வைகுண்டராஜன். இவர் நெல்லை, தூத்துக்குடி, கன்னியாகுமரி மாவட்டக் கடற்கரையில் அனுமதியில்லாமல் மணலை அள்ளி அதிலிருந்து அணு சக்திக்கான தாதுவைப் பிரித்து வெளிநாடுகளுக்கு ஏற்றுமதி செய்து வந்தார்.
இதில் அரசிடம் கணக்கில் காட்டாமல் முறைகேடாக அள்ளிய மணலும் அடக்கம். கடந்த அதிமுக ஆட்சியில் செல்வாக்கோடு இந்த தொழிலை செய்து வந்த வைகுண்டராஜனுக்கு, திமுக ஆட்சி வந்தவுடன் கடும் சோதனை ஏற்பட்டது.இவர் மீது, நெல்லை, தூத்துக்குடி, கன்னியாகுமரி மாவட்டக் கடற்கரையில் அரசின் அனுமதியில்லாமல் தாது மணலை எடுத்து பிரித்து விற்றதாக மாநில கனிம வளத்துறை துணை இயக்குநர் குமரி மாவட்ட மத்திய குற்றப் பிரிவு போலீஸில் புகார் கொடுத்தார்.
அதன் பேரில் அணு சக்தி சட்டத்தின் கீழ் வைகுண்டராஜன், அவரது சகோதரர்கள் ஜெகதீசன் மற்றும் சந்திரேசன் ஆகியோர் மீது வழக்குப் பதிவு செய்யப்பட்டது.அவரது நிறுவனங்களில் சோதனை நடத்தியதுடன், அவரை பிடித்து விசாரிக்கவும் முடிவு செய்தது.
இதையடுத்து தனது 2 தம்பிகளுடன் தலைமறைவானார் வைகுண்டம்.முன் ஜாமீன் கோரி இவர்கள் மதுரை உயர்நீதிமன்றக் கிளையில் மனு தாக்கல் செய்தனர்.
இந்த மனுவை விசாரித்த உயர்நீதிமன்றக் கிளை நீதிபதி ராஜசூர்யா, 3 பேருக்கும் முன்ஜாமீன் அளித்து உத்தரவிட்டார்.மேலும் தன் மீது தொடரப்பட்ட வழக்கை தள்ளுபடி செய்ய வேண்டும் என்று வைகுண்டராஜன் ஏற்கனவே மனு தாக்கல் செய்திருந்தார். அந்த மனுவையும் விசாரித்த நீதிபதி ராஜசூர்யா, அதை நான்கு வாரங்களுக்குத் தள்ளி வைத்து உத்தரவிட்டார்.http://justsamachar.com/local/7/vaikundarajan-gets-preventive-bail/
News report in the New Indian Express of August 11, 2007 Vaikundarajan directed to surrender in court
Friday August 10 2007 09:18 IST MADURAI: Vaikundarajan, owner of V V Minerals and a shareholder of Jaya TV, was on Thursday, directed by the Madurai Bench of the High Court to surrender at Eraniel court. The bench also allowed the police to question him for two days.Vaikundarajan had filed 20 petitions seeking anticipatory bail. The petitions came up for hearing before Justice G Rajasuria.
The judge observed that the police had doubts as to where the sand was sent as it contained nuclear deposits.
Vaikundarajan has claimed that he was not aware of the fact that the sand he mined contained nuclear particles. The judge said that the case was significant because of the nuclear content in the sand.http://tinyurl.com/33nc8t Vaikundarajan’s office premises raided Staff Reporter (The Hindu, August 20, 2007)
He is facing the charge of having quarried thorium-rich sand
— Photo: A. Shaikmohideen http://www.thehindu.com/2007/08/20/images/2007082057461001.jpgC. Sridar, Superintendent of Police, Tirunelveli (left) and Additional Superintendent Muthusamy conducting a raid in the office of V.V. Minerals at Keeraikkaranthattu in Tirunelveli district on Sunday. TIRUNELVELI: The police raided the factory and office premises of Subbiah Vaikundarajan at Keeraikaaranthattu near Thisaiyanvilai on Sunday in a case of alleged export of sand rich in thorium, a radioactive material, to foreign countries.Revenue Department officials of Kanyakumari district seized six sand-laden lorries at Meignanapuram. After analyzing the sample, they found that the sand contained “considerable quantity” of thorium, which cannot be exported by individuals to foreign countries. As export of thorium in any form is punishable under the Atomic Energy Commission Act, Deputy Director (Mines) Manimaran registered a case against Mr. Vaikundarajan, a leading garnet exporter.When the officials filed case against Mr. Vaikundarajan for allegedly quarrying the thorium-rich sand, he challenged it in the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court, contending that the Tamil Nadu police could not register a case relating to supposed violation of the Atomic Energy Commission Act.Dismissing his plea on August 9, the court told Mr. Vaikundarajan to surrender before a court and that the police would be free to take him into custody for interrogation. However, there was no progress in the case, as the garnet exporter failed to surrender before any court, and the police has spread a dragnet for him. The team, led C. Sridar, Superintendent of Police, Tirunelveli, and Additional Superintendent of Police Muthusamy, sifted through documents and other files in the office of V.V. Minerals at Keeraikaaranthattu, and seized some files and computers. When the police came out of the office premises, factory workers tried to block their vehicles. Some workers pelted the vehicles with stones. P. Kannappan, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Tirunelveli Range, came to Thisaiyanvilai shortly before 3.30 p.m. and held discussions with the officials who conducted the raid, examined the documents seized and the data stored in the computers.http://www.thehindu.com/2007/08/20/stories/2007082057461000.htm I am not an enemy of DMK: Vaikundarajan (The Hindu, August 23, 2007)CHENNAI: S. Vaikundarajan of V.V. Minerals, facing charges in several cases, on Wednesday said he was neither against the ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam party nor an “enemy” of Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi. He was well aware that as a businessman it would be difficult to work against the Government and appealed to his well wishers not to politicise the case against him. Mr. Vaikundarajan is a shareholder of Jaya TV. — Special Correspondent http://www.hindu.com/2007/08/23/stories/2007082353620400.htm Police raid Jaya TV partner’s office Madurai, August 20: Police have carried out raids at the factory and office premises of V V Minerals, owned by Jaya TV shareholder R Vaikundarajan, facing charges of illegal mining of thorium, in Tirunelveli district, about 200 km from here.Police today said they had seized several documents and computer hard discs during the raid at Keeraikaranthattu yesterday, but declined to give more details, adding the materials needed to be analysed.An official of the V V Minerals claimed that the police had seized only some of the award certificates won by the company and described the raid as an abuse of power.The police team faced some resistance from employees of the company when they came out of the office after the raid.A police vehicle was pelted with stones and slogans were raised against police for filing “false case against Vaikundarajan”. They also heckled police for “trying to trace proof after filing the case”.A case was registered in June last under the Atomic Energy Act against Vaikundarajan and his company after Kanyakumari district revenue officials found that sand transported by the company contained thorium and monosite.On August 9 last, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court, directing Vaikundarajan to surrender in the case while dismissing his plea to quash the FIR, had posed a series of questions about the nature of exports done by V V Minerals and whether they were actually usable in atomic energy production. The court also asked whether the police had any proof that the company exported sand to an atomic firm and whether the sand actually contained thorium.It had said police could take Vaikundarajan into custody for further investigations.However, Vaikundarajan has so far not surrendered before any court and the police had spread a dragnet for him.V V Minerals had contended they exported only sand for extraction of garnet and they were innocent. They alleged that police were harassing them because Vaikundarajan was a Jaya TV partner. (Agencies) Published: Monday, August 20, 2007 http://tinyurl.com/2uxng7 ATOMIC ENERGY ACT 1962 NO. 33 OF 1962 26. Cognizance of offences (1) All offences under this Act shall be cognizable under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898, but no action shall be taken in respect of any person for any offence under this Act except on the basis of a written complaint made – (a) in respect of contravention of section 8, 14 or 17 or any rule or order made thereunder, by the person authorised to exercise powers of entry and inspection; (b) in respect of any other contravention, by a person duly authorised to make such complaints by the Central Government. 2. Definition and Interpretation (1) In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,- (a) “atomic energy” means energy released from atomic nuclei as a result of any process, including the fission and fusion processes; (b) “fissile material” means uranium 233, uranium 235, plutonium or any material containing these substances or any other material that may be declared as such by notification by the Central Government; (c) “minerals” include all substances obtained or obtaining from the soil (including alluvium or rocks) by underground or surface working…8. Power of entry and inspection (1) Any person authorised by the Central Government may, on producing, if so required, a duly authenticated document showing his authority, enter any mine, premises or land – (a) where he has reason to believe that work is being carried out for the purpose of or in connection with production and processing of any prescribed substances or substances from which a prescribed substance can be obtained or production, development or use of atomic energy or research into matters connected therewith, or (b) where any such plant as is mentioned in clause (b) of section 7 is situated, and may inspect the mine, premises or land and any articles contained therein. (2) The person carrying out the inspection may make copies of or extracts from any drawing, plan or other document found in the mine, premises or land and for the purpose of making such copies or extracts, may remove any such drawing, plan or other document after giving a duly signed receipt for the same and retain possession thereof for a period not exceeding seven days…10. Compulsory aquisition of rights to work minerals (1) Where it appears to the Central Government that any minerals from which in its opinion any of the prescribed substances can be obtained are present inor any land, either in a natural state or in a deposit of waste material obtained from any underground or surface working, it may be order provide for compulsorily vesting in the Central Government the exclusive right, so long as the order remains in force, to work those minerals and any other minerals which it appears to the Central Government to be necessary to work with those minerals, and may also provide, by that order or a subsequent order, for compulsorily vesting in the Central Government any other ancillary rights which appear to the Central Government to be necessary for the purpose of working the minerals aforesaid including (without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing provisions)- (a) rights to withdraw support; (b) rights necessary for the purpose of access to or conveyance of the minerals aforesaid or the ventilation or drainage of the working; (c) rights to use and occupy the surface of any land for the purpose of erecting any necessary buildings and installing any necessary plant in connection with the working of the minerals aforesaid; (d) rights to use and occupy for the purpose of working the minerals aforesaid any land forming part of or used in connection with an existing mine or quarry, and to use or acquire any plant used in connection with any such mine or quarry, and (e) rights to obtain a supply of water for any of the pur-poses connected with the working of the minerals aforesaid, or to dispose of water or other liquid matter obtained in consequence of working such minerals. (2) Notice of any order proposed to be made under this section shall be served by the Central Government – (a) on all persons who, but for the order, would be entitled to work the minerals affected; and (b) on every owner, lessee and occupier (except tenants for a month or for less than a month) of any land in respect of which rights are proposed to be acquired under the order…14. Control over production and use of atomic energy (1) The Central Government may, subject to such rules as may be made in this behalf, by order prohibit except under a license granted by it – (i) the working of any mine or minerals specified in the order, being a mine or minerals from which in the opinion of the Central Government any of the prescribed substances can be obtained; (ii) the acquisition, production, possession, use disposal, export or import- (a) of any of the prescribed substances; or (b) of any minerals or other substances specified in the rules, from which in the opinion of the Central Government any of the prescribed substances can be obtained; or (c) of any plant designed or adopted or manufactured for the production, development and use of atomic energy or for research into matters connected therewith; or (d) of any prescribed equipment.
Dinamalar, Tamil daily (Aug. 31, 2007) Vaikundarajan presents himself in Nellai court about export of thorium sands. Case lodged by Mineral Development department. கனிம வளத்துறை தொடர்ந்த வழக்கு: நெல்லை கோர்ட்டில் வைகுண்டராஜன் ஆஜர்நெல்லை: பூமியிலிருந்து கிடைக்கும் அணுசக்தி தயாரிக்கப் பயன்படும் தோரியம் உள்ளிட்ட தாதுப் பொருட்களைக் கடத்தியதாகக் கனிம வளத்துறை தொடர்ந்த வழக்கில் நெல்லை கோர்ட்டில் வைகுண்டராஜன் இன்று காலை ஆஜரானார்.
ஜெயா டிவியின் முக்கியப் பங்குதாரர்களில் ஒருவர் வைகுண்டராஜன். வி.வி. மினரல் வாட்டர் என்ற நிறுவனத்தை நடத்தி வருகிறார். மேலும் நெல்லை, தூத்துக்குடி பகுதிகளில் மணல் வியாபாரம் செய்து வருகிறார். இவர் சட்டத்திற்கு விரோதமாக மணல் அள்ளுவது போல் பூமியில் இருந்து கிடைக்கும் அணுசக்தி தயாரிக்கப் பயன்படும் கனிம வளத் தாதுக்களைக் கடத்துவதாகக் கனிம வளத்துறை இவர் மீது வழக்குத் தொடர்ந்தது. இவ்வழக்கில் வைகுண்டராஜன் நெல்லை கோர்ட்டில் இன்று காலை ஆஜரானார்.