At 11:28 AM 12/30/2004 +0700, Robin from Phuket, Thailand wrote:

Dear [Russell],

I live in Phuket and witnessed the destruction of my village. We have been hearing about a nuclear power plant that was very close to the epicenter, and it was safetly shut down and as yet we have hear no more. People believe that it could have been connected, do you know anything about this power plant and what has happened to it?

Kind Regards

Phuket, Thailand.
Tel:   +66(0)

Note:  Robin also sent me several pictures from Phuket.  I've posted a sample here:

December 29th, 2004

Dear Robin,

Thank you for your email (shown below).

Below are four reports and an email related to your question.  As far as I am aware at the moment, the facility was safely shut down.  There is little question in my mind, however, that they would probably say that even if there were a substantial release of radiation at the plant during the shutdown or because of the tsunami.  It evidently did not get hit as badly as it might have, but it did get hit.  My local paper is doing a large article about the issue, probably tomorrow, and they will probably have the latest, which I will forward to you as soon as I get it.

My heart goes out to all of you!


Russell Hoffman
Carlsbad, CA


[Radbull] December 28th Radiation Bulletin:

From: Roger Herried <>
Subject: [Radbull] December 28th Radiation Bulletin
12/28/04 **** RADIATION BULLETIN(RADBULL) **** VOL 12.308

13 Times of India: 'Kalpakkam nuclear plant is safe'-

13 Times of India: 'Kalpakkam nuclear plant is safe'-




NEW DELHI: Dr AR Gore, Senior Executive Director of Nuclear
Power Corporation India Limited (NPCIL), spoke on the
post-tsunami issues and the safety of the Kalpakkam nuclear
plant, excerpts:

What's the status of the Kalpakkam plant safety?

Kalpakkam plant is in safe shut down condition. Our focus now is
on restoring the normalcy in the township so that all employees
and their families (1000 plus) can return to their homes at the
earliest. Also we want to make sure that there is no epidemic.
Our medical teams are already at Kalpakkam with required
medicines such as chlorine tablets, anti-tetanus serums (ATSs)
and those to stop gastroenteritiss and dysentery etc. Though
there has not been any outbreak there of any epidemic or
diseases as yet, ours is only a precautionary step. Water
entered the Kalpakkam plant tower only, which is situated near
the coast and not in the plant. Water entered only the pump
house (PH) in the tower. As soon as water entered the PH the
condensers cooling the water pumps stopped and the operator
tripped the turbine as result of which the reactor was brought
into safe shut down condition (technical term). It's being
maintained so. (Not to be quoted: "It can be maintained like
that for indefinite period, if necessary.)

How many nuclear facilities at Kalpakkam might have been
affected by the tidal wave?

None. At Kalpakkam, there are a few major nuclear installations
such as Madras Atomic Power Station, a fast breeder test reactor
and numerous test labs of Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic
Research (IGCAR) Laboratories. These apart, a 500 megawatt fast
breeder nuclear facility is under construction. All away from
the coastline. So, there was no question of damage to any

What about casualties at your Kalpakkam plant site?

There is no casualty in the plant site. Most casualties are in
the township due to drowning in the floods. The victims got
trapped in water and were drowned. Total number of our
casualties is five employees and about 25 members of their
families. The balance out of total 60 casualties in Kalpakkam,
is from the adjacent villages. Soon after we felt the
aftershocks, all plant people were alerted. They saw the water
is not settling to a certain level, there was constant upheaval
and so we could take proper alarm. We constantly monitored the
seismic activities and followed United States Geological Survey
monitoring reports which said about 27 tremors recurring between
6 to 9 on the Richter and most at Sumatra and Nicobar Islands.

Is any aftermath hazard in the offing?

No hazards now we think. The water has gone down to normal
level. The drinking water has not yet contaminated by sea water
ingress. No house collapsed here, they were only flooded in
certain areas in the township. As for the plant premises, you
may recall the Bhuj earthquake. At Bhuj we have the Atomic Power
Station. The plant had remained intact, functional and was
operating even during the tremor, such was the quality design
and construction. The Kalpakkam plant also remained intact after
this tidal wave onslaught.

In India the sewer and drinking water pipelines generally go
side by side. Was there any report of breakage in the pipelines
and ingress or mix-up of the contents?

So far no. We are scrutinising everything. Such things will of
course not escape our notice.

Copyright © 2004 Times Internet Limited. All rights reserved. ||

14 Daily Times: Tidal waves hit India’s nuclear plant, airbase

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

By Iftikhar Gilani

NEW DELHI: Tidal waves that swept southern India on Sunday have
affected two important defence installations.

Though India on Tuesday dismissed reports of any threat of
radiation from the Kalpakam nuclear plant in the southern state
of Tamil Nadu, nearly 100 people have lost their lives there
including 16 employees of the nuclear plant. A Silvaraj, design
engineer of the plant has also been reported dead.

The joint services command at Andoman Nicobar overlooking seas of
Mayanmar, Bangladesh and an airbase have also been devastated.
The government has confirmed that 27 air force personnel had died
while some 80 were still missing. The authorities have given up
hopes for their survival. National Security Advisor (NSA) JN
Dixit said that no radiation occurred in the Kalpakam nuclear
plant and it was safe. He admitted that operations in the plant
have been put on halt as a precautionary measure but denied
deaths in the plant.

Anil Kakodkar, Department of Atomic Energy secretary, told
reporters that only part of the plant under construction had been
affected and that nobody suffered radiation as a result of the
incident. Group Captain Bandopadhyay, Andoman Nicobar airbase
commander, compared the tidal waves that lashed the island to a
wall of water, saying it was at least 10 to 15 metres high. Its
speed was estimated at between 500 and 800km per hour.

Air Chief Marshal S Krishnaswamy, who visited the island on
Monday along with Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Defence
Minister Pranab Mukherjee, was emotionally charged to see
Bandopadhyay who had no uniform, not even proper clothes to wear.
“In my 34 years of service, I have never seen an IAF base
commander receiving his chief in a vest, pyjamas and slippers. He
has nothing left,” he said. Home | National

Daily Times - All Rights Reserved
and hosted by WorldCALL Internet

15 SIFY: ‘No radiation from Kalpakkam plant due to Tsunami’

Tuesday, 28 December , 2004, 18:52

Kalpakkam: Dismissing reports of radiation threat from the
Kalpakkam nuclear power plant due to Sunday’s fury of tidal
waves, the government on Tuesday assured that no radiation had
taken place and it was safe.

Stating that no plant had been effected due to the tidal waves
nor was their any casualty in the plants, secretary in the
Department of Atomic Energy Anil Kakodkar told reporters that
only a construction site of the plant was affected.

"There is absolutely no issue related to radiation as a result of
this particular incident," he said. Unfortunately, some scare had
spread despite clarifying this aspect to the media on Monday, he

"There is no concern about radiation release from any vicinity at
Kalpakkam site. There was no casualties in the plant," he said.

© Copyright Sify Ltd, 1998-2004. All rights reserved.
Sify.comhosted at SifyHosting India's first Level 3 Internet

From RADBULL: 12/27/2004 -- 12 Daily Times: Tsunami may have damaged Indian nuclear plant:
12/27/04 **** RADIATION BULLETIN(RADBULL) **** VOL 12.307
Send News Stories to with title on subject
line and first line of body

12 Daily Times: Tsunami may have damaged Indian nuclear plant

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

NEW DELHI: Huge waves that battered the Indian coastline after an
earthquake in Indonesia may have damaged a nuclear power plant in
southern Tamil Nadu state, the government said on Monday. The
Press Trust of India news agency said Indian Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh had called a meeting on Tuesday to review any
damage to the plant. Authorities on Sunday shut down the Indira
Gandhi Atomic Energy Centre in Kalpakkam, 80 kilometres south of
Tamil Nadu capital Madras as a precaution.

Water seeped into the facility, which is located on the coast,
after the tsunami hit following Sunday’s earthquake. “Information
reaching here suggests that facilities at Kalpakkam nuclear
station may have been affected by the tidal waves,” said a
spokesman from the prime minister’s office. The private NDTV news
channel said 1,500 families in the Kalpakkam township of Tamil
Nadu had been evacuated by government relief agencies. afp Home |

Tsunami devastates Asian coasts, 23,700 dead
Tsunami may have damaged Indian nuclear plant
Indian visas to elderly and children at Atari
Natwar says no ‘quick fix’ solutions to India-Pakistan
India agrees to discuss Kashmir: FO
Pakistan Muslim League divided on talks with MMA
2 Aga Khan workers shot dead in Chitral
President raises pensions

Daily Times - All Rights Reserved
and hosted by WorldCALL Internet
Subject: Why didn't your San Onofre article mention Kalpakkam?

From: bismillah irrahim
Subject: Why didn't your San Onofre article mention Kalpakkam?

Please google Kalpakkam (which is India's nuclear
weaponization center and has a nuclear power plant) at
google news

Kalpakkam was hit by the tsunami which broke through
its containment system and had to be shut down on an
emergency basis. You'll find much info relevant to
your article on tsunamis and nuclear power plants.
Possibly you missed all this because the western media
have been very strangely silent about it.

Statement by Russell Hoffman concerning tsunamis and nuclear power plants:

Subject: Statement by Russell Hoffman concerning tsunamis and nuclear power plants


December 28th, 2004 

More than 60,000 people are dead.  Bodies wash ashore in a dozen countries.  A train, loaded with a thousand passengers and their luggage, is swept away, engine, tracks, and all.  Cars, trucks, buses, and boats are pushed more than a mile inland by the rushing water.  Some of the waves were reported to be 40 feet high.

The ocean in San Diego, 1/2 a world away, rose 10 inches.  It IS a small world, after all.

The "sea wall" at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station ("SONGS") in Southern California is 35 feet tall, and about 35 years old.  It could not have withstood Sunday's worst.

San Onofre's twin reactors were theoretically designed to withstand an earthquake up to 7.0, which is 100 times smaller than a 9.0 earthquake.  Although a 9.0 earthquake is considered "unlikely" near San Onofre, it is hardly impossible.  In addition, the size of the earthquake doesn't necessarily relate to the size of the ensuing tsunami.  Landslides triggered by earthquakes, asteroid impacts, and volcanic eruptions can generate waves hundreds of feet tall.

Why did we build nuclear power plants near the ocean, anyway, where they are susceptible to underwater and surface attacks by terrorists and other belligerents? Because nuclear power plants need enormous quantities of water for their cooling systems, and water -- especially in the western United States -- is usually difficult to find except along the shoreline.  The outflow from a nuclear power plant is always slightly contaminated with radioactive particles, and sometimes severely so; people don't want to drink that.  So they put the plants near the oceans whenever possible.

Don't worry about tsunamis, they said -- we've built you this puny little wall.  Don't worry about asteroid impacts -- they hardly ever happen.  Don't worry about tornados or hurricanes.  Don't worry about human error.  So, society agreed to these poisonous cauldrons of bubbling radioactivity -- these behemoths of death-rays ready to burst -- these sitting ducks on our shorelines.

Don't worry, we were told, because the chances are very low.  It's always about "chance" to the nuclear promoters, and never about "worst case scenarios."  We're all playing the odds.  Why?  Clean energy, which has zero catastrophic risk, abounds -- we just need to harness it.

These tsunami waves would have had little or no effect on floating off-shore ocean wind energy farms (unless they were particularly close to shore), nor would they effect OTEC (Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion) power plants, or any other deep-sea energy solutions, because the tsunami waves are harmless in deep water.

Even a 7.2 or a 7.3 earthquake -- perfectly reasonable to expect in the area around San Onofre, and possible anywhere -- would be more powerful than San Onofre is officially designed to withstand.  Experience from the Northridge quake (17 January 1994) and others shows that structures sometimes fail to withstand earthquakes of magnitudes far less than their designed tolerances.  The domes at San Onofre might not be able to withstand an earthquake or tsunami (or even a large jet crashing into them).  The spent fuel pools, control room, emergency diesel generators, and dry storage casks are all outside the domes.

Sitting ducks indeed.

Maybe "unlikely" is good enough for some locations, who will bury their thousands of dead and rebuild after a natural disaster, but where nukes are located, "unlikely" is not good enough.  Whatever damage a tsunami might cause to renewable energy systems would be minor -- even if it wiped them out and they had to be rebuilt completely -- compared to the devastation that would result from breaching the reactor vessel, emptying the spent fuel pool (or throwing heavy debris into it), or crushing the dry casks.

Why are we risking such deadly disasters, when renewable energy is available for the taking?

It's time to make the switch to renewable energy solutions.  It's time to close San Onofre Nuclear WASTE Generating Station, Diablo Canyon, and all the other nuclear power plants.


Russell D. Hoffman
Concerned Citizen
Carlsbad, CA

Russell Hoffman, a computer programmer, has written extensively about nuclear power.  His essays have been translated into several different languages and published in more than a dozen countries.  Most recently, the 24 Dec. 2004 issue of Nuclear Monitor includes an essay by Mr. Hoffman (each issue is published online two months later):

Visit Hoffman's Shut San Onofre web site:

POIFU: ("Poison Fire USA") (Animated timeline of atomic usage in the USA):

Internet Glossary of Nuclear Terminology / "The Demon Hot Atom":

List of every nuclear power plant in America, with history, activist orgs, specs, etc.:

List of ~350 books and videos about nuclear issues in my collection (donations welcome!):

Learn about The Effects of Nuclear War here:

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