PRESS RELEASE- Jharkhandi Organisation against Radiation , Jadugoda


 Press release – JOAR (Jharkhandi Organisation against Radiation, Jadugoda) 

“ A person standing on tailing dam for a period of one year would still not be affected by any radiation” (Translated from hindi)

- Mr. S. K. Malhotra (Head of Public awareness, Department of Atomic Energy (13th April, 2013, Dainik Bhaskar)

This remark came on the concluding day of the much hyped International seminar, first of its kind hosted by UCIL in its long history of its operation in Jadugoda and surrounding areas.

In  Collaboration with International Atomic Energy Agency **(1), UCIL held a  hyped five day Seminar cum Training so called “ Uranium Exploration Strategy, Mining and Processing Techniques in India ” in a Posh hotel in Jamshedpur between 8-12 April. According to Media coverage, this Seminar saw attendance of close to 50 delegates from 25 countries and also 9 scientists from India. 

This Seminar was quite contrary to the way it was promoted as it turned out to be a covert event conducted under high security and no one was allowed to enter the premises without the pass. When students and members of the JOAR tried to attend the seminar, they were prohibited and even became target of threat by the Intelligence Officials. This raises question on choosing a posh hotel in Jamshedpur, when this could have been conducted in their own compound in Jadugoda. This programme actually turned nothing but just a propaganda to counter JOAR’s claim of severe health and environment catastrophe due to uranium mining in the region based on community experience, supported by studies conducted by reputed International organization and Universities** (2). U.C.I.L reiterated the old rhetoric that Jadugoda had low radiation, it had low grade ore here, no harmful impact of radiation, and radiation level was similar in Jaduoda and Jamshedpur…! U.C.I.L once again came aggressively that myths regarding radiation were part of an International conspiracy which was creating those misconceptions among the local People through their agents working in this region. These agents lifestyle has suddenly improved during the last few years and they even go for a foreign trip once a year. In fact CMD of U.C.I.L even said that PMO was aware of the protest happening here and other parts of country and it was keeping a close eye on it. UCIL believes unemployment is one of the main reasons for the protest and not impact of uranium mining on culture and environment.

This high voltage drama took place for five days.  On one of the days, all the delegates were taken for a visit to the Jadugoda Mines. A Foreign delegate was so overwhelmed by the visit to the mines that he later spoke to the media that this was the first time any country had given such open access to the mines. This raises a big question when the UCIL didn’t allow even media enter the public hearing in Bhatin (May 26, 2011), forget about  members and activists of JOAR and others.

.  Why this kindness and whole heartedness of the government has come up after 40 years?  On one hand, UCIL uses crores of taxpayers money to host this lavish seminar inviting foreign delegates whose credibility is unknown, but had it announced an independent study done by independent experts who have good acceptance among the all,  this would have gained  trust of the people and it could have washed some of its old sins.

What seems bizarre is UCIL blowing the same tune regarding health in this  so called International seminar which It has been doing for the last few years. It once again rejected any claim of health hazard prevalent in the region and  said that it had done health check up of 3000 people during the last one year and still no cases of female sterility or cancer was detected in anyone and there were few  cases only related to malnutrition and Malaria ( Weekly test are done and sent to environment ministry), on the other hand  IDPD studies have clearly shown that these health hazards have increased in the area compared to distant villages. (ippnw.org/pdf/jadugoda-health-survey.pdf)   U.C.I.L claimed that there is increase in the number of children in schools every year, that Jadugoda had one of the lowest drop out rate of students and that U.C.I.L has even built four marriage halls in the past one year.

In the seminar, a statement by a UCIL official which has raised alarm bell is that there are plans to not have a separate tailing pond and looking for solution to store the radioactive waste in the mines itself. They will be cautious about the amount of acid leaching and alkali leaching being used, proper care would be taken to  ensure that the rocks beneath don’t melt. With no current remedy for the three tailing dams which will have radioactive waste for thousands of years, this plan may be disastrous for the  entire ecology as the dangerous toxic chemicals may  pollute the underground aquifers, affecting ground water which will impact the entire region. In fact in newspapers(Prabhat Khabar and Hindustan dated 12th April , 2013 ), It has been reported by one of the  Expert who participated in the conference that they are ready with a technology where the uranium tailings can be mixed with sand and chemicals which would be ready for cultivation of diverse plants  and  also an already mentioned remark that even if a person stood on tailing dam for a period of one year,  one would still be not  affected by radiation, on the other hand  the research by Kyoto university professor Koide (http://www.jca.apc.org/~misatoya/jadugoda/english/koide.html ) says that the bank of tailing pond contains 10 to 100 times higher amount of  gamma radiation above normal  permissible levels.

All throughout  the seminar when U.C.I.L repeatedly said that Uranium mining is safe and there is no harm due to radiation, why couldn’t it proceed with mining in Nalgonda ( Andhra Pradesh ) in the recent past  . Why couldn’t they convince the educated people of Hyderabad who have immense pride for the nation compared to Jaduogoda ? These well- off people may not have any vested interest in going for foreign trip once a year. U.C.I.L would not have to invest on building public schools or four marriage halls in the region.

 In a democratic country like ours, U.C.I.L and DAE can’t just ignore the long suppressed voices calling them anti-national, backward etc. The children in Jadugoda will one day raise these questions and the nation have to answer those queries and it can’t  just pull things under the carpet as it did in the just concluded so called international seminar. We want to say that truth can’t be hidden for long especially during these times when people can access information from any part of the world  and know  the truth. U.C.I.L can do a concrete programme showing concern and being  accountable to the people rather than wasting common man’s tax to do these kind of event which is just to boast about its achievements

 JOAR has the following demands :

1. UCIL should follow the international safety standards like  other countries like USA (Like Church Rock clean up –( health, soil and water), Wismut Uranium mine clean up ( Former East Germany Uranium mine)

2. Stop  Uranium mining in new regions and in the existing mines. Follow the latest regulations and safety standards of health and environment.

3. A new law should be passed in the Indian parliament to compensate the workers and community members affected by uranium mining (similar to one like RECA of USA.) Form a high level constitutional committee to investigate the death/sickness of the people in the region.

4. Do base line studies in the recently opened uranium mine sites and comprehensive health and environment study by independent groups of specialist.

5. Give justice to the demands all displaced people by UCIL mining in East Singbhum and West Singhbhum

6. UCIL should declare the future plans, as after few years when mining will cease, People would be left to face the hazardous radioactive waste.  How does it  plan to clean up the waste and reclaim it to same condition as it existed before mining. What about the Plans regarding economy as prior to mines there was an agrarian economy where people were dependent on land, water for survival. Will it abandon the mines? In that situation people would be left with no choice of livelihood .

Ghanshaym Birulee,

Dumka Murmu,

Tikaram Soren

JOAR

Tilai Tand, Jadugoda Jharkhand (India)

 

 

WHO downplays the health impacts of Fukushima nuclear disaster, a ‘PR Spin’


Published on Thursday, February 28, 2013 by Common Dreams

Greenpeace says report ‘shockingly downplays’ increased cancer risk for thousands of Japanese

- Jon Queally, staff writer

A new study released by the World Health Organization says that women, and especially female infants, exposed to radiation released following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan are at a significant risk of developing cancer later in life.

 A child is screened for radiation contamination before entering an evacuation center in Fukushima, Japan, Friday 1 April 2011. (Photograph: Wally Santana/AP) Despite those announcements by the WHO, critics of the new report say that overall the organization has done a great disservice by downplaying the overall dangers posed by the leaked radiation and accused the report of hiding “crucial information” about the ongoing dangers faced by those living in and beyond the Fukushima Prefecture.

“The WHO report shamelessly downplays the impact of early radioactive releases from the Fukushima disaster on people inside the 20 km evacuation zone who were not able to leave the area quickly,” said Dr. Rianne Teule, Greenpeace International nuclear radiation expert.

“The WHO should have estimated the radiation exposure of these people to give a more accurate picture of the potential long-term impacts of Fukushima. The WHO report is clearly a political statement to protect the nuclear industry and not a scientific one with people’s health in mind.”

Specifically focused on the threat to girls and women, Reuters reports on the WHO findings by explaining:

In the most contaminated area, the WHO estimated that there was a 70% higher risk of females exposed as infants developing thyroid cancer over their lifetime. The thyroid is the most exposed organ as radioactive iodine concentrates there and children are deemed especially vulnerable.

Overall, however, it was the WHO’s conclusion that “predicted risks” of cancer for Japanese generally “are low and no observable increases in cancer rates above baseline rates are anticipated,” that Greenpeace aggressively pushed back against.

Pointing out that the WHO only releases its radiation assessments only with the approval of the International Atomic Energy Agency—often criticized as an advocate for, not a regulator of, the global nuclear industry—Greenpeace says the entire report should be looked on suspiciously as more “public relations spin” than good science.

According to Greenpeace scientists, the WHO “shockingly downplays” the cancer impacts on the population by emphasizing small percentages increases in cancers, but fails to adequately describe how those seemingly small numbers translate into the risks posed ot many thousands of people.

“The WHO’s flawed report leaves its job half done,” said Teule. “The WHO and other organizations must stop downplaying and hiding the impact of the Fukushima disaster and call for more emphasis on protecting the millions of people still living in contaminated areas.”

#India- Govt Bluffing the Country on Koodankulam Safety: M G Devasahayam


After the recent high-level pronouncements about Koodankulam and repeated reassurances from the DAE as well as the Prime Minister himself, DiaNuke.org spoke to M G Devasahayam, the retired civil servant and energy policy expert, who also heads the independent expert’s panel supported by the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy(PMANE) in Koodankulam. Here is his interview:

M G Devasahayam
M G Devasahayam
Shri M. G. Devasahayam is a former IAS and Managing Trustee, Citizens Alliance for Sustainable Living, Chennai
Recent articles byShri Devasahayam:

1. What do you think has been behind the nuclear establishment’s repeated postponements of KKNPP’s commissioning?

I feel that despite their bravado, the nuclear establishment is jittery, being torn between relentless Russian pressure and persisting public protest. Never before have they been so intensely challenged and they know they cannot afford to make even small mistakes. And since absolute perfection is virtually impossible in any technology, let alone nuclear, they are not sure about its commissioning.

Besides, the matter is pending in Supreme Court and there is every possibility of an unwritten and undeclared assurance that the government lawyers have given to the SC that NPCIL will not proceed towards making this reactor critical and raise power level until the SC judgement is given. And yet, the government would not like to admit this openly because it will be an admission that Udayakumar and PMANE have succeeded in at least temporarily halting the project progress.

Hence the repeated postponements

2. The DAE Chairman has said everything is safe in Koodankulam and it is their extra efforts to ensure safety which is causing the delay. There have been reports of German and Ukrainian experts being flown in and also rumors of a blast. Do you think doubt the KKNPP’s design safety?

If the design is safe and secure and the nuclear establishment is so sure of it why don’t they share the plant safety report at least with experts. Them not doing it only creates doubts. As a layman, I have a lurking suspicion that the design/technology is unproven and in the process of fuel loading NPCIL has come across several glitches which they are unable to satisfactorily fix. After all too much of secrecy has its own after-effects.

3. The Supreme Court is still hearing the case. What are the major issues being raised there?

Supreme Court has completed hearing and has reserved orders. The major issues before SC are:

i. In 1988 India signed an Inter-Governmental Agreement with erstwhile USSR to set up the two 1000MWe VVRS nuclear reactors at Kudankulam. This agreement was signed on the premise that the spent fuel from the project would be shipped back to USSR for treatment and disposal. Accordingly Union Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF) issued Environment Clearance (EC) on 09-05-1989. Based on this EC, Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) issued site clearance for the project on 10-11-1989 meaning that when EC was issued, the plant site had not even been finalised! This is gross illegality.

ii. In the Supplemental Agreement signed with Russia in May, 1998, DAE changed the basic scope of the project by agreeing to retain the spent-fuel in India probably within the plant itself. Since spent fuel is highly radioactive and very toxic, its handling and storage involves very high risks and serious environmental implications. Due to these changed conditions DAE should have approached MoEF for a fresh EC which it failed to do. Instead, Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCL) went ahead with the construction of the project in violation of Environment Protection Act, 1986 (EPA). This was a serious statutory violation that called for cancellation of EC and stoppage of construction of the project. This was not done by the MoEF and the construction commenced and continued.

iii. When the EC was issued, it was assumed that cooling water for the project would be drawn from Pechiparai reservoir, whereas the source was later changed to a seawater desalination plant. This substantial change in fresh-water source would make it necessary for DAE to approach MoEF for clearance under CRZ Rules. There was further urgency because under the 1998 agreement high-quality fresh water was critical to keep the spent-fuel in safe storage. By not doing this DAE has violated the EPA.

iv. Project construction should not have started without prior Consent for Establishment (CFE) of the nuclear reactors at Kudankulam. NPCIL applied for CFE as an afterthought on 30-12-2001 and Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) granted it on 25-02-2004 without any application of mind. This defeated the very purpose of CFE and its relevance to safety and environmental conservation aspects. Thus, the project as it stands today is the outcome of several illegalities that impinge on the local environment as well as the health and the safety of the people living in its vicinity.

v. NPCIL has not carried out risk analysis for the worst case scenario based on Fukushima experience to assess the consequences up to 30km and even beyond depending on the direction and velocity of wind. From the time of the original EC in 1989, the local conditions such as population growth have changed significantly and such studies are imperative to understand the implications of an accident. In the absence of such a comprehensive analysis, it will be unsafe to start the reactor units.

vi. As the initiator of the project, DAE should have reviewed the safety norms of KKNPP on the basis of Fukushima experience and redefined the boundaries of the Emergency Plan zoning system to bring the same in line with international best practice and the guidelines formulated by the International Atomic Energy Agency. This has not been done.

vii. National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), created post-Tsunami 2004, is a statutory body chaired by the PM himself that has issued unambiguous guidelines on the institutional structures to be set up for handling nuclear accidents. This calls for State-level and District-level DMAs, providing nuclear shelters for the affected people, hospitals for medical care as well as training and orientation to the officials, local Gram Sabhas and the project affected people (PAP) to respond immediately to disasters and evacuate to safer places in case of accidents. None of these have been complied with and Tirunelveli Destrict where KKNPP is located has no such plan or Authority.

vii. Though the Government claims that KKNPP is 100% safe, yet the Russian reactor manufacturer company does not trust its own reactor and has refused to share any part of civil liability in case of an accident due to defect in the reactor. Government of India (to appease that Russian company and Russian Government) has signed an agreement with Russia stating that in case of an accident the public exchequer or the tax payers would foot the bill (that might run into lakhs of crores of rupees) while the Russians would be indemnified.

vii. AERB as it functions is not an independent regulatory body. Comptroller & Auditor General of India (CAG) has come out with a scathing report about the ‘lapses in safety measures’ by the AERB posing ‘grave threats.’ CAG has highlighted several lapses by AERB: Non-preparation of a nuclear and radiation policy; no safety documents as recommended by two expert committees; no decommissioning plan which is extremely critical for public safety and non-adoption of international safety standards and practices. Typical example of AERB’s servility is the fact that NPCL was allowed to go ahead with fuel loading without implementing the 17 safety measures recommended by the post-Fukushima taskforce appointed by the Government of India. For several months NPCL has been telling AERB that it would implement these 17 safety measures by October-November 2012. AERB counsel stated before the Madras High Court that these 17 measures would have to be implemented before any further clearance was given. However, on 10.08.2012, AERB gave initial fuel-loading clearance even while 11 of these safety recommendations were yet to be implemented.

4. Do you think the DAE is misleading the Supreme Court?

DAE has tied itself in knots in the SC. A careful reading of the affidavits filed by AERB, NPCIL and MoEF clearly brings out the fact that no approvals as mandated by the Rules framed under Environmental Protection Act 1986 have been obtained after complying the leagal requirements. What they have got are only patch-works of Environment Clearance (EC) dated 09-05-1989 which was not under any of the EPA Rules all of which have been notified post-1992.

5. The PM has recently said that people’s safety comes first and nuclear energy can wait. How do you respond to this?

As far as nuclear power is concerned Prime Minister has been hypocritical in his statements and actions and does not carry much credibility.

6. As the head of the independent experts’ team in Koodakulam, what do you think are the minimum requirements which must be ensured before commissioning?

Given the series of illegalities and irregularities, lapses and regulatory capture, MoEF should step into the scene and enforce the EPA-1986, revoke the EC given in 1989 and direct NPCIL to undertake a comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) as per extant Rules which include full public hearing among the Project Affected People. As part of the EIA, NPCIL should be mandated to carry out comprehensive life & livelihood risk analysis on the PAP and the risks of even low-intensity radiation exposure on marine ecosystem. Before MoEF issues fresh EC, NDMA’s norms should be put in place and tested for its effectiveness by an independent agency.

7. People’s movement in Koodankulam is still on. Other places like Kovada, Jaitapur etc are also rising in protest. In coming days, what future do you see for nuclear power in India and what is the scope for replacing it with Renewable Energy and Energy conservation.

Relevance of nuclear power is linked to country’s energy security and the overall welfare of our communities. The present Indian state is clueless on both counts. In the event there is neither any blue print nor any vision as to how energy could serve the cause of people’s welfare and not just the interests of a few investors and MNCs. Hence the rabid argument by the Indian state that nuclear power is essential to bring electricity for the masses While many countries with large percentage of their electric power coming from nuclear source are phasing out, India with a measly 2.5% share is clinging to it like leech, ignoring the massive Renewable Energy potential that the country has.

Germany is the most prominent among these countries which is determinedly moving away from nuclear power. It has a clear plan to reduce the share of nuclear power from the present 23% to zero in 2022 without having to compromise on the energy security or to give up its position as a world economic power-house. And it is planning to eliminate the nuclear power without adding other fossil fuel or dam based power plants. This calls for some scrutiny so that lessons could be learnt

Germany gives six major reasons for switching to renewable energy and to increase energy conservation:

A – Fighting climate change

B – Reducing energy imports

C – Stimulating technology innovation and the green economy

D – Reducing and eliminating the risks of nuclear power

E – Energy security

F – Strengthening local economies and providing social justice

Germany has identified five main problems with nuclear power:

1. the risk of a nuclear disaster at a plant;

2. the risks of proliferation (plutonium from nuclear plants for military purposes)

3. the risk of radiation from the storage of nuclear waste;

4. cost, with nuclear being unbankable at the moment – banks will not finance the construction of new nuclear plants because the cost is too high in comparison to renewables, so all plants currently on the drawing board in Western countries have massive state support; and

5. the limited availability of uranium resources.

Germany considers the third risk is even greater because this will affect future generations, who will not even be able to consume the nuclear power that is produced today but will be forced to deal with the waste. Even when all nuclear fission plants have been shut down, mankind will have to protect its repositories of spent nuclear fuel rods for up to 100,000 years.

There are also several other reasons:

  • Nuclear power is far more limited than renewables. Nuclear plants produce electricity but not useful heat or motor fuel, as in the case of renewables
  • Germany rejects nuclear power because of the risks, the costs and the unsolved waste issue. In ad­dition, nuclear power does not have the potential to play a major role in the world’s energy supply.
  • With 30 kM of evacuation zone around its nuclear power plants, as in the case of Fukushima, it is estimated that about 12% of its population would be affected; with 80 kM evacuation zone as recommended by US around Fukushima about 51% of its population would be affected. A pretty compelling reason for saying NO to nuclear power.
  • Nuclear is simply too small a player on global markets; it does not even account for six percent of global energy supply right now, and more plants are scheduled to be taken off-line over the next decade than are expected to go online.
  • If it is feasible to gradually transition to a renewable energy supply, then it seems irresponsible to have nu­clear plants today – and unethical to pass on these risks to future generations.
  • Renewables will reduce dependency on energy imports, making India less vulnerable to rising prices for fossil fuels and to political influence from abroad.
  • Renewable energy can consist of numerous small, distributed units, but it can also consist of a small number of large, central plants. In the latter case, the power stations can be gigantic solar arrays in deserts or large wind farms on coastlines.
  • Local ownership of renewables provides great economic payback to investing communities. Energy efficiency and renewables together give the poor a way around higher prices for fossil fuels.
  • Another important aspect of the energy transition is social justice. Energy efficiency in particular not only helps promote domestic added value, but also reduces energy poverty.

Key findings of German Energy Transition Report – Arguments for a renewable energy future (www.energytransition.de)

a. The German energy transition is an ambitious, but feasible undertaking.

b. The German energy transition is driven by citizens and communities

c. The energy transition is Germany’s largest post-war infrastructure project. It strengthens its economy and creates new jobs.

d. With the energy transition, Germany aims to not only keep its industrial base, but make it fit for a greener future.

e. Germany demonstrates that fighting climate change and phasing out nuclear power can be two sides of the same coin.

f. The German energy transition is here to stay.

g. The energy transition is affordable for Germany, and it will likely be even more affordable for other countries.

These are more applicable to India than Germany and the potential for RE and energy conservation is far more in India than in Germany. Yet we are mad in pursuing destructive nuclear energy, while playing just lip service to Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation.

8. How should the anti-nuclear movement proceed in India in the future?

From protest to proactive advocacy of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency. We must expose the hollowness of India Energy policy driven more by alien interests and kick-backs than national interest and indigenous potential. Advocacy and awareness building should be the major tool in this strategy. Since mainstream media is unlikely cooperate in this we need to develop social media as an effective and powerful tool.

Koodankulam_PTIHeavy police deployment in Koodankulam (file picture, courtesy: PTI)

 

Activists cast doubts over IAEA review of Rajasthan atomic power plant


JAIPUR, November 11, 2012

MOHAMMED IQBAL, The Hindu

 
“The inspection team must look into tritium leak at Rawatbhata earlier this year and occurrence of diseases in the plant’s vicinity”
 

Expressing doubts over the ongoing operational safety review by an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team at Rawatbhata Atomic Power Station in Rajasthan, anti-nuclear activists here have demanded “transparent and independent” inspection which can address the issues of vulnerability, unaccountability and secrecy plaguing the Indian nuclear industry.

Activists said at a Press conference here over the weekend that they had received information about the 12-member IAEA team raising serious safety issues, particularly non-availability of crucial auxiliary generators and use of obsolete equipment in the health physics unit to check radiation exposure to workers in the reactors. The team’s final report is not likely to be made public.

Those who addressed the Press conference included senior journalist Praful Bidwai, who writes on environmental and nuclear issues, scientist Sowmya Dutta, activist Kumar Sundaram and People’s Union for Civil Liberties general secretary Kavita Srivastava. The PUCL and the Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament & Peace (CNDP) jointly organised the Press meet.

Raising the larger issues of nuclear safety vulnerabilities and lack of independent regulation of atomic power production in the country, the activists said the first-of-its-kind inspection must look into the tritium leak at Rawatbhata earlier this year, high occurrence of diseases in the power plant’s vicinity and lack of published data about radiation releases.

Mr. Bidwai pointed out that the IAEA team is visiting the Rawatbhata plant’s Units 3 and 4, whereas the tritium leaks took place in Unit 5 in June this year, in which 34 casual workers were exposed to high doses of tritium: “These casual workers, not given any health benefits, are the most vulnerable part of the nuclear industry.”

Independent observers have documented the facts about the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) seniors forcing the workers to operate in unsafe zones and intimidating them to hide radiation exposures from the media and the society at large, said the activists.

“In Rawatbhata, we have come to know that the contractual workers have been asked to take leave for next 15 days or work only in night shifts until the IAEA team is there. The Rawatbhata contractual workers have been struggling for [proper] wages, health benefits and independent radiation check-ups,” said Ms. Srivastava. Rawatbhata is situated in Chittorgarh district, 322 km from here.

Noted experts Sanghamitra Gadekar and Surendra Gadekar have carried out an independent health survey around Rawatbhata reactors revealing high occurrence of cancer, leukaemia and other diseases. “This study was published in a reputed and peer-reviewed medical journal but the NPCIL has callously ignored it,” said a statement issued by activists.

Besides, the Union Government has not done any independent safety review of its atomic power facilities after the nuclear accident at Fukushima in Japan following the massive earthquake and tsunami on March 11 last year. Concerns have been expressed at the top level about the safety of nuclear plants in the country in the wake of the damage caused in Fukushima.

The NPCIL hastily carried out an internal safety review last year within three months and gave a “clean chit to itself”, alleged the activists. The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB), which has no independence and is due to be replaced by a new regulatory body currently under discussion in Parliament, has in the meanwhile given only very general recommendations on safety, they said.

Calling for a thorough safety review under independent experts, the activists requested the IAEA team to ask for a moratorium on new constructions and commissioning of nuclear reactors until such an independent review takes place. They said the people at the grassroots have raised serious safety issues in Koodankulam, Jaitapur, Mithivirdi, Chutka, Fatehabad, Kovvada, etc., where intense mass struggles are under way to oppose nuclear projects.

Charges denied

Rawatbhata atomic power station spokesperson D. Chanda, contacted by The Hindu , denied all the allegations and said the IAEA team, comprising experts from eight countries, was working in an “absolutely independent” manner and would submit its report to the international body which would share it with the NPCIL.

“The people who are out to defame the nuclear regulatory institutions are probably unaware that the IAEA mission is visiting India on the Union Government’s request. This is not a suo motu inspection. It will [just] look into our proven good practices and our adherence to safety standards,” said Mr. Chanda, adding that the plant is working within the limits laid down for it.

The IAEA team, comprising experts from the nuclear power plants of Canada, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Sweden, will stay at Rawatbhata till November 15. The experts have conducted plant tours and interacted with the personnel.

However, activists said the nuclear industry in India does not publish data about radiation releases in its nuclear facilities, nor does it carry out any periodic health survey of the population around its facilities. Despite the Government officially asking people living near Hyderabad’s Nuclear Fuel Complex not to drink ground water, no proper mechanism to ensure transparency on radiation health has been put in place and the establishment lives in complete denial of health hazards caused by radiation.

The Rawatbhata atomic power station — comprising eight units, including two units of 700 MW each under construction — is at present generating 1,140 MW power. The two units selected for the IAEA mission had earlier undergone peer review by the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) in 2003 and 2009.

 

#India #Koodankulam Letter to Heads of States/Governments


October 31, 2012
People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE)
Idinthakarai 627 104
Tirunelveli District
Phone: 98656 83735; 9842154073
The Heads of State/Government
c/o The Embassies (or) High Commissions
New Delhi
India
Your Excellency:
Greetings!
We, several millions of people from the southernmost tip of India, are writing to you to seek your support for the peaceful and nonviolent struggle that we have been waging for almost a quarter century against the Koodankulam nuclear power project (KKNPP). We have intensified our struggle since August 2011 with indefinite hunger strikes, relay fasts, massive marches, siege protests and so on.
This mega nuclear power park is being built with Russian loan and technology against the will and wishes of the local people. The Indian authorities have not conducted any public hearing to seek our permission or consent for this project. They have not shared the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Report, the Site Evaluation Report, and the Safety Analysis Report with our people. These reports are made available to the public on the internet in countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada. After a long and hard struggle of more than 22 years, we have just obtained a copy of the EIA report which is outdated and so full of inaccuracies and incomplete information.
As the Indian authorities unleash all kinds of atrocities on us such as dangerous cases (like sedition, waging war on the state etc.), imprisonment, curfew and prohibitory orders, intimidation campaigns, home searches, physical attacks on our persons and properties, police atrocities and other such high-handed behavior, we are forced to seek justice from the international community. After all, nuclear energy is a global issue and the effects of it cannot be restricted to any national borders or international boundaries.
The world knows fully well that nuclear power and bomb programs are the two sides of the same coin. And this is the reason why the international community objects to the development of nuclear power by certain countries and calls for the abolition of nuclear weapons altogether. In fact, Nuclearism has become a dangerous ideology that corrupts politics, threatens democracy, imperils freedom and endangers human existence on the Earth. Such a comprehensive humane global look at the world economy, politics and security makes the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) redundant. It is high time we abolished the IAEA that has a mission to, among other things, facilitate “the transfer of such technology and knowledge in a sustainable manner to developing Member States.”
Although the global nuclear industry tries to promote nuclear power as the answer for global warming and climate destruction, the international community knows for sure that poisoned Earth with nuclear waste cannot be the answer for polluted air. Moreover, our fragile planet has been facing natural calamities of all sorts with increasing frequency and added potency. And it would be foolhardy to add to our woes with nuclear threats and dangers.
We have no moral legitimacy whatsoever to produce electricity for our present needs and endanger the futures of our children and the unborn generations with the dangerous booty of nuclear waste, contaminated sites and deadly radiation. It is not only immoral but also illegal to help the profiteering MNCs, corrupt politicians, bureaucrats and technocrats make money at the cost of the Earth, the future inhabitants and their common futures.
When terrorism spreads all over the world like an epidemic and nuclear terrorism is fast becoming a dreadful reality, proliferation of nuclear weapons, promotion of nuclear technology and fostering of nuclear material will be suicidal. Science and technology are important tools for our progress and prosperity but when that quest shuns human values, moral principles and political ethos, we suffer from God-complex and dig our own graves.
Scores of countries around the world have chosen not to hoard fissile material, develop or test nuclear weapons, or build nuclear power plants. In fact, many countries that have relied heavily on nuclear power so far have decided to phase out. So let us make a solemn resolve here and now to build a new world that has no Uranium mines, no nuclear reactors, no waste dumps and no nuclear weapons.
Looking forward to your government’s and citizens’ support and solidarity for our anti-Koodankulam struggle and a nuclear-free world campaign, we send you our best personal regards and all peaceful wishes.
Cordially,
S. P. Udayakumar
M. Pushparayan
M. P. Jesuraj
Fr. F. Jayakumar
R.S. Muhilan
Peter Milton

 

 

Kudankulam project cleared by PCB: counsel


 

CHENNAI, August 2, 2012

SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

“The board gave the consent after fully satisfying itself”

The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) gave its consent for operating the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project on July 23, its counsel submitted before the Madras High Court on Wednesday.

During the resumed hearing of a batch of petitions before a specially-constituted Division Bench, comprising Justices P. Jyothimani and M. Duraiswamy, counsel Rita Chandrasekar said that the board gave the consent after fully satisfying itself and due inspection.

The order issued by the Member-Secretary stated: “Consent is hereby granted under Section 25 of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act and under Section 21 of the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act.” The consent was subject to provision of the Acts, rules and orders and also subject to the terms incorporated in the special and general conditions.

A copy of the order was filed before the court.

No to public hearing

Mohan Parasaran, Additional Solicitor-General, appearing for the Centre and the Ministry of Environment and Forests, said that units I and II of the KKNPP were initiated in 1989 itself. No useful purpose would be served if a public hearing for the units was held now when adequate awareness and various expert committees had gone into various issues/concerns raised in respect of the project.

The Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notification of 1991 was prospective and, for a project initiated in 1989, the notification could not be applied. An administrative note was also placed before the court whereby the PMO had clearly advised that the project should be exempted from any CRZ regulations that may come into force. Further, the 2001 CRZ notification clearly exempted Department of Atomic Energy projects from obtaining CRZ clearance.

On the issue of spent fuel of the plant, an additional affidavit was filed stating that the spent fuel would be buried deep as per Atomic Energy Regulatory Board and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) standards.

Krishna Srinivasan, counsel for the project, said that the pollution control board had given consent in 2004 for establishing the plant. It was valid for two years or till such time the company took steps to initiate the project. It had been demonstrated that the company had taken various steps to initiate the project within two years.

I.S. Inbathurai, Special Government Pleader, said the district administration conducted an offsite drill at Nakkaneri on June 9 this year. He filed the AERB’s report in this regard.

 


  • “The spent fuel will be buried deep as per AERB and IAEA standards”
  • Special Government Pleader says he had filed AERB report on offsite drill at Nakkaneri