Saturday, June 9, 2018

Thoothukudi cancers resulting from uranium internal exposure


Thoothukudi annual excess fatal cancers and the uranium in the imported copper ore concentrate.
© 2018 Ramaswami Ashok Kumar
By Ramaswami Ashok Kumar, B.E., M.E., Negentropist, Bombay Sarvodaya Mandal, 299, Tardeo Road, Nana Chowk, Mumbai-400007.
Revised 18 June 2018.

Abstract: The cancers of one to two per year over the seventy year life time of the individuals in each family in Thoothukudi, analysis following ECRR
2010 Recommendations of the European Committee on Radiation Risk shows, are caused by uranium internal exposure.
0. Introduction
0.1 Extract from Reference 4 gives the background:

LAST JANUARY, Australia declined India’s request for uranium supply citing non-proliferation concerns. But in the 20 months ending September 2010, Australia had supplied at least 2.2 tonnes of uranium to India as part of copper concentrates it exported to Sterlite Industries’ controversial copper smelter in Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu. Tainted with up to 60 parts per million of uranium, these concentrates came with a contamination discount for the buyer. Sterlite saved more than $1.15 million by opting to import radioactive ore. The company has been importing concentrate since 1995.

These imports and handling of uranium- tainted concentrates, and the subsequent emissions from the copper smelter to air, water and land are not on the radar of Indian regulatory agencies. The exports don’t seem to have Australia’s authorisation either. In 2007, Australian miner BHP Billiton sought the government’s permission to export uranium-tainted copper concentrates to China. No such permission seems to have been sought for exports to India.



1.0 The analysis.
Reference 1 says:
About 80% of the uranium is recovered in conventional acid leach of the flotation tailings from copper recovery. Most of the remaining 20% is from acid leach of the copper concentrate, but that concentrate then still contains up to 0.15% uranium. Hence the copper must be smelted at site, since selling it to overseas smelters would create both processing and safeguards complications for the smelter operator. This could change as part of a major envisaged expansion.
Let us use the figure of 0.15% uranium content in imported copper ore concentrate at Thoothukudi.
1.1 Copper smelting using imported copper concentrates.
Let us determine the concentration of uranium in the copper ore concentrate.
At 0.15% uranium content, the uranium content works out to 1.5 kg per 1000 kg of ore concentrate.
1.36 million tons of copper concentrate annually  to produce 400000 T of copper per year, means a uranium content of 2040000 kg 
Uranium's 238 and daughters per year: Taking this to be the uranium content/y and for ten years the uranium accumulated is 20400000 Kg. At 37000 Bq/g as the activity of uranium 238 and daughters, the total activity of the uranium content is 7.55E+14 Bq. Applying the precautionary principle partition this activity to 1/3 particles, 1/3 ingestion and 1/3 inhalation. This 1/3 part of Uranium activity is 2.516E+14 Bq.
The dose coeffiicients converting the activities to radiation internal dose due to uranium are taken from reference 2.
Table 1 Dose coefficients for uranium in copper ore concentrate.
                                  Half Life,years    k(0-1),Sv/Bq*  k(1-14),Sv/Bq   k(Adult),Sv/Bq
U-238 inhalation
4.5 E+9
2.50E-03
1.20E-03
8.40E-04
U-238 m particle
4.5 E+9
2.50E-02
1.20E-02
8.40E-03
U-238 ingestion
4.5 E+9
2.50E-04
1.20E-04
8.40E-05
*Multiply dose coefficients by 10 for foetus.
Using these dose coefficients, a table of SOURCE person-Sieverts for the various population categories of Thoothukudi is constructed for the population data for the year 2011 for which census data is available:
Table 2: Total Person-Sieverts source input data for Estimation of  Fatal cancers in age groups that would be caused if the entire uranium in the copper concentrate were internalised by the Thoothukudi population of humans only.
(1)Age y, (2) Population, (3) Person-Sieverts dose Source Input proportional to the           population in each age category over the 70 year life time of the individuals
     
0-1
28527.87
1.25E+12








1-6
184401

3.53099E+11







Adults
1537247


2.06051E+12






Total
1750176



3.66546E+12






1.2 This is a very revealing Table.Fatal  Cancer risk is 0.1/Sv(Reference 2).  It shows that infants and children would be wiped out in Thoothukudi, even if the uranium internal exposure to the population were four orders of magnitude less than the source uranium content dose. There would be one to two fatal cancers per year in each individual household in Thoothukudi caused by internal uranium exposure even at a level of four orders of magnitude less than the source radiation level of uranium, over the 70 year lifetime of the individuals. Uranium has really infinite biological effectiveness. This consideration must prevail in preventing uranium  pollution and internal exposure due to this source if Thoothukudi should survive.
1.3 This result is confirmed by the following ground observations:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISASMELT
1.4 Sterlite Industries (India) Limited
1.4.1 Sterlite Industries ("Sterlite"), now a subsidiary of Vedanta Resources plc ("Vedanta"), built a copper smelter in Tuticorin using an ISASMELT furnace and Peirce-Smith converters. The smelter was commissioned in 1996[1] and was designed to produce 60,000 t/y of copper (450,000 t/y of copper concentrate),[41] but by increasing the oxygen content of the lance air and making modifications to other equipment, the ISASMELT furnace feed rate was increased to the point where the smelter was producing 180,000 t/y of copper.[10]
1.4.2 Sterlite commissioned a new ISASMELT furnace in May 2005[44] that was designed to treat 1.3 million t/y of copper concentrate,[41] and the smelter’s production capacity was expanded to 300,000 t/y of copper.[10] The new plant reached its design capacity, measured over a three-month period, six months after it started treating its first feed.[44] Vedanta’s website states that the new ISASMELT furnace was successfully ramped up "in a record period of 45 days".[45]
1.4.3 Since then Sterlite has decided to further expand its copper production by installing a third ISASMELT smelter and new refinery using IsaKidd technology.[46] The new smelter will have a design capacity of 1.36 million t/y of copper concentrate (containing 400,000 t/y of copper), processed through a single ISASMELT furnace.[47]
1.5 This report below brings out the fear born out of experiential wisdom of the citizens: See
J. Veerapandi, a postgraduate in chemistry, and a local, claims: “These villages situated close to Sterlite Copper have been witnessing deaths caused by cancer and respiratory diseases, birth of children with congenital disorders and increased instances of miscarriage. The villagers suspect that these are caused by liquid and gaseous effluents discharged from the copper-manufacturing unit. And this anxiety, fear and anger brought the people together against the mega project.”
1.6 One or two cancer victims in each family… See
1.6.1 Cancer deaths
“There is a unique cancer spreading in Thoothukudi, the cancer capital of Tamil Nadu, by its own official records. We will come to know about the disease only 30 days earlier. And in 30 days, we will die. Every family in Thoothukudi, especially a village named Pattaramapetti, has at least one or two cancer victims,” Kittu said, adding that there is even a Kerala Transport bus that shuttles between Thoothukudi and Thiruvananthapuram, which we call the ‘Cancer Bus’, as most of the passengers are cancer patients going to Kerala for treatment.
2.0 References
2. ECRR 2010 Recommendations of the European Committee on Radiation Risk : The Health Effects of Exposure to Low Doses of Ionizing Radiation:  Regulators’ Edition: Brussels 2010. Table A1.
3. Thoothukudi demographic data including vital statistics:
http://www.thoothukudi.tn.nic.in/files/tutshb2011-2012.pdf

4. N. Jayaraman. 2011. A silent horror in our midst. Tehelka.


http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:xu-QEJJ4Hp4J:www.tehelka.com/2011/04/a-silent-horror-in-our-midst/+&cd=16&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=in&client=firefox-b