Pakistan opposes French plan to install nuclear power plants in India – Kashmir Media Service

Objection not meaningless given frequent incidents of uranium theft in India: experts

New Delhi, May 30 (KMS): Pakistan has reiterated its objections to a French plan to install a nuclear power plant in India following reports of progress on the deal.
Pakistan criticized the French agreement to install six nuclear power reactors on the Konkan coast, as it would create mistrust and security problems in South Asia.

The Pakistani reaction came after French officials began talking about the mothballed project. Last month, French energy giant EDF made a final bid to build six nuclear reactors in Maharashtra.

Experts say Pakistan’s objection is not insignificant, especially given the
frequent thefts of uranium and other fissile materials in India, which pose threats of nuclear terrorism. More than 200 kilograms of nuclear materials have been stolen over the past two decades in India, while 2.5 kilograms of unprocessed uranium were captured from two Indian nationals in Nepal just a month or two ago.

Experts have urged the International Atomic Energy Agency to put in place a strict monitoring system for radioactive materials in India and to ban all countries from entering into a nuclear deal with India.

At least 20 incidents of theft and loss of nuclear material have been reported in India from 1994 to 2021, while in Pakistan no such incident has taken place. This indicates that India has become a potential hotspot in the illegal trade of N-technology and materials, the experts said and warned France of possible such incidents in India if it pursues the agreement with New Delhi. .

Here is a brief timeline of nuclear material theft incidents in India:

* In November 1994, Meghalaya police seized 2.5 kg of uranium from a gang of four smugglers in the Domiasiat area.
* In June 1998, police in the Indian state of West Bengal arrested an opposition politician who they believe was carrying more than 100 kilograms of uranium.
* In July 1998, the CBI uncovered a major uranium theft racket in Tamil Nadu, with the seizure of over eight kg of nuclear material. In August 2001, police in the Indian state of West Bengal arrested two men with more than 200 grams of semi-processed uranium.
* In 2003, Indian security forces caught a group in a village on the Bangladesh border with 225 grams of crushed uranium.
* In December 2006, a container full of radioactive materials was stolen from a fortified research facility in eastern India.
* In 2008, another criminal gang was caught trying to smuggle low-grade uranium, suitable for use in a primitive radiation dispersal device, from one of the state-owned mines Indian across the border with Nepal.
* In the same year, another group was caught moving an illicit stockpile of uranium across the border into Bangladesh, with the gang aided by
* In 2009, an employee at a nuclear reactor in southwestern India deliberately poisoned dozens of his colleagues with a radioactive isotope, taking advantage of numerous security loopholes at the plant, according to an internal report from the government consulted by the Centre.
* In 2013, left-wing guerrillas in northeast India illegally obtained uranium ore from a government-run processing complex in northeast India and tied it to high explosives to make a crude bomb before being arrested by police, according to an inspector involved in the case.
* In December 2015, the Center for Public Integrity reported an incident at the residential complex adjacent to the Madras nuclear power plant, to draw global attention to security risks and breaches around India’s nuclear facilities; the incident involved Chief Constable Vijay Singh who used official weapons to kill three fellow officers.
* In December 2016, around 9kg of radioactive uranium was seized from two people in Thane
* As recently as early 2018, a uranium smuggling racket was busted by Kolkata police with one kilogram of radioactive material. The smugglers reportedly attempted to sell uranium worth approximately $440,000.
* On June 3, 2021, police arrested seven people and seized 6.4 kilograms of uranium in their possession in the eastern state of Jharkhand, Bokaro district.

On February 15, 2022, two Indians were among eight people arrested in Kathmandu for possession of uranium-like substances, which were brought from India to be sold illegally in Nepal.

Also, many other incidents of uranium theft have been reported in India, but the international community keeps silent about such dangerous incidents.

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