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ENERGY ALTERNATIVES / RISK EDUCATION IL. ENERGY AND RISK THE LESSON OF BHOPAL Vijaya Shankar Varma Department of Physics and Astrophysics, University of Delhi Delhi 110007, India INTRODUCTION The city of Bhopal, now synonymous with industrial disaster, is situated almost at the centre of India (approximately 700 km due South of Delhi) in one of its least industrially developed states. In order to increase food production, the Indian government in the mid 1960's, started encouraging the use of a number of high yielding varieties of grain. The results of these efforts commonly known as the ‘green revolution’ converted India from a country with chronic shortage of food into one which grows all the food it requires. This was important not only because it gave @ solid foundation for the industrial development of the country but also because it changed the image that Indians had of themselves as a nation. The green revolution, for its success, required a massive increase in the indigenous production of chemical fertilisers and pesticides. In response to this need, the Indian government permitted Union Carbide Corporation (UCC to set up a plant for manufacturing Sevin and allowed it to hold 51% of the shares of the new company. Sevin is a carbamate insecticide introduced by UCC in 1956. Its Great attraction is that it is biodegradable. However in 1976 it was placed in the Environmental Protection Agency's "possibly too hazardous to man or the environment" list. 2. PRODUCTION PROCESS chosen by UCC for the manufacture of Sevin was co + cdg —> cocig CARBON MONOXIDE CHLORINE PHOSGENE cocla + CHsNHp = —> CHgNHCOCl] = + ‘HCl PHOSGENE — MONOMETHYLENE METHYL CARBAMOYL CHLORIDE (MCC) heat CHgNHCoclL =——>> CHsNco + Hel (McC) METHYL ISOCYANATE (MIC) CHyNCO + = CygH7OH =—% Cy HOCONHCH (nic X - NAPHTHOL CARBARYL (SEVIN)