Supreme Court Verdict on Kudankulam shocking


 

NEW DELHI, May 23, 2013

 

“Verdict on Kudankulam shocking”

 

Mohammad Ali

 

 

Activists and experts under the platform of the Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament & Peace (CNDP) have termed the Supreme Court’s go-ahead to the controversial nuclear power plant at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu “shocking” and “absurd”.

 

Arguing that the verdict will go down in history as one of the “black” judgments of the Court, Supreme Court lawyer and activist Prashant Bhushan said: “It is an unfortunate and a terrible judgment which shows the establishmentarian mindset of the SC judges, accepting whatever the Government presents, especially in the context of this mindless rush towards nuclear energy.”

 

The apex court in the first week of this month gave a green signal to the commissioning of the largest nuclear power plant of the country arguing that in order to “sustain rapid economic growth, it is necessary to double the supply of energy. Energy tariff is also increasing, and nuclear power in the long run will be much cheaper than other forms of energy”.

 

Mr. Bhushan underscored that transgressing from the actual prayers in the petition, the apex court completely overlooked brazen violation of official safety norms by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL), the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) and the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board. He also countered the logic of cheaper energy through nuclear power. Mr. Bhushan said nuclear power was the “most expensive” way of producing electricity as “there are large number of hidden costs in producing electricity through nuclear power which the court didn’t take into account.” He said the apex court also did not take into account that the AERB was not an independent body as it was just a part of the Department of Atomic Energy.

 

Kumar Sundaram from CNDP highlighted that the petitioners, concerned at the huge negative impacts of the power plant, had approached the apex court, highlighting serious issues such as recent scams allegedly involving Russian Company ZiO-Podolsk’s supply of sub-standard equipment to nuclear power plant at Kudankulam and violation of the AERB’s reactor sitting norms.

 

In their petition, the concerned groups had also raised the non-compliance with the 17 post-Fukushima safety recommendations by a special AERB committee, besides undermining of several processes of Environmental Impact Assessment and Coastal Regulatory Zone clearance and flouting of the mandate for evacuation exercises and emergency preparedness drills, Mr. Sundaram added. While delivering the verdict the Court “sidestepped all these violations and virtually affirmed all the myths we have been contesting all along. If you read the SC judgment it is like the violation has not taken place at all,” he added. Criticising the judgment, eminent journalist and founding member of CNDP Praful Bidwai also demanded time-bound implementation of the 15 cautionary guidelines proposed by the apex court, especially the one regarding the withdrawal of bogus cases against those involved in the movement against the Kudankulam nuclear power plant.

 

 

 

HC rejects petitions against nuclear plant in Haryana village #WTFnews


TNN | May 17, 2013, 09.09

A division bench of the HC comprising Justice A K Mittal and Justice G S Sandhawalia passed these orders while giving reference to recent supreme court judgment, giving a go-ahead for Kudankulam nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu, in which SC had observed that such plants are set up for the welfare of people and for sustainable growth.

In the Kudankulam case, the apex court in its May 6 orders had also observed that development of nuclear energy is important for India and allowing the plant is in larger public interest.

The development is significant, as a large number of petitioners of Gorakhpur village, whose land was acquired by the government for setting up the plant, had moved the Punjab and Haryana high court demanding quashing of government notifications, whereby the process of acquiring around 1,500 acre land of Gorakhpur and adjoining villages of Fatehabad district was initiated.

In their petition, filed in January 2012, the farmers had also sought directions to shift the site of project towards barren or less fertile land, which is in abundance in the adjoining villages of other districts.

Contending that the plant is proposed on fertile land, which is the only source of their livelihood, villagers had submitted that the said land gives 2-3 crops per year and there is no reason why such fertile land has been selected for the plant.

Villagers have also argued that in the instant case, Haryana government has shown undue haste for acquisition of land without considering the suitability of land from Union ministry of environment and AERB and Nuclear Power Corporation.

“No public objection was invited while publishing the site selection. Farmers are protesting and the state government remained insensitive despite death of three protesting farmers in the past one year,” the petition had alleged.

During the hearing of the petition, it also emerged that a large number of petitioners had accepted compensation amount from the state government against acquisition of their land.

The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) is expected to start construction work of the project in August this year.

 

#India -Zio-Podolsk Scandal – Save Our Souls – Part -4 #nuclear


Zio-Podolsk and India Connection

 CharlesDigges

[1] February 9, 2011
“ZIO-Podolsk” and IR “ZIOMAR” a delegation of Indian firms WALCHANDNAGAR INDUSTRIES LTD (WIL)

The President of the Technology Centre of the company WALCHANDNAGAR INDUSTRIES LTD (WIL) Mr. N.M. Nadaf  led the Indian delegation, February 8 – 9, 2012 paid a visit to the machine-building plant “ZIO-Podolsk” and visited the EC “ZIOMAR.” The purpose of the visit – negotiations to establish a joint venture for the localization of equipment manufacturing plant in India. The talks brought together representatives of WALCHANDNAGAR, plant management and engineering company “ZIOMAR.” Company WALCHANDNAGAR, which consists of 3 factories of all kinds of equipment – from nuclear energy and space to boilers for the sugar industry, is actively developing its management plans – building a new plant for the production of heavy equipment. This reactor vessel, steam generators, etc.

During the two-day visit of Indian delegation guests visited the factory museum, learned about the history, achievements, quality system of our businesses. As experienced production workers, they are very closely acquainted with the activities of the factory, and they were interested in our products, and tools, and mechanisms that are used in workshops, and technology. Thoroughly acquainted in the shops of the main production with the manufacture of equipment for the nuclear power industry, continued to meet in the meeting room. There were many questions about the manufacture of products plant nomenclature ZIO from which to conclude that the Indian IT firms have come to us on a tour, and with the clear intention to learn from and to establish close contacts for long-term cooperation.
http://www.aozio.ru/news/2011/09-02-2011-1/

[2] February 17, 2011

“ZIO-Podolsk” and WIL can be established in India co-production of equipment for nuclear power plants

Machine-Building Plant “ZIO-Podolsk” and “Walchandnagar Industries Ltd.” (WIL) may set up a joint venture in India for the production of equipment for nuclear power stations. February 9-10, the Indian delegation led by President of Technology’s Center WIL NM Nadaf visited “ZIO-Podolsk” and the engineering company “ZIOMAR” in Podolsk, near Moscow. As reported by the JSC “ZIO-Podolsk” during the visit, the negotiations on the establishment of a joint venture in India in the framework of local production of equipment for nuclear power plant construction projects of the future of Russian technology.

The structure consists of three WIL plant equipment for a range of industries, including nuclear power. The company plans – building a new plant for the production of heavy equipment for nuclear power plants – reactor vessels, steam generators, etc. During his visit to Podolsk Indian delegation familiarized with the activity “ZIO-Podolsk”, paying special attention to the range of products, technologies, machines and equipment, which are used in plants for the production of equipment for nuclear power. According to the report, “ZIO-Podolsk” WIL representatives arrived at the factory “with the clear intention to learn from and to establish close contacts for long-term cooperation.”    http://www.atomic-energy.ru/news/2011/02/17/18801

[3] July 18, 2012

The delegation of the Departme of Atomic Energy of the Government of India visits of “ZIO-Podolsk” (Another news item from the Russian Embassy in India about the visit)

A delegation of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) of the Government of India as part of a special department of the Secretary A. Joshi, Deputy Secretary of the DAE N. Kumar, manager of the Indian Atomic Energy Commission P. Dzhogesha.Accompanied the delegates head of JSC “ASE” / JSC “NIAEP” J. Kucher. The purpose of the visit – familiarity with the company and discuss issues related to preparations for the construction of the block number 3 and number 4 NPP “Kudankulam“.

Met the guests executive director, chief engineer of the plant Davydov and chief technology officer – Deputy Chief Engineer Terekhov. A small digression on the history of the company has been illustrated exhibits of the exhibition hall, and the film presentation helped to get an idea of ​​the current state and strategic plans “ZIO-Podolsk.” The most fully functioning members of the DAE presented at the factory Quality Management System (QMS) Quality Director T. Lizunova revealed the overall structure of the QMS, and the head of the Central Laboratory of non-destructive testing N. Zlobin responded to questions regarding used at different stages of the monitoring equipment.

The delegates were then conducted on the block production facilities engaged in the manufacture of equipment for nuclear power plants, including those offered to examine the site of a clean build of welding and assembly shop, where is an extremely important operation: filling the steam generator tube bundle.

Of particular interest aroused by the possibility of an Indian company in welding and drilling is thick, and the obvious signs of modernization of the plant: the production processes involved in the machinery of world famous brands and the vacated space for the installation of new CNC machines.

Demonstrating the process of plasma cutting, rolling and welding of metal shells in one of the machine shops, Andrei Davydov said: “We have made equipment for nuclear power plants in China, now produce equipment for the Bulgarian NPP” Belene “and we hope soon to begin work for new NPPs” Kudankulam. “

His impressions shared by Mr. Joshi: “Excellent presentation and representation of the plant, everything was wonderful. We really liked what we saw. Striking that at the beginning of the way was a locomotive repair plant, and then, by the progressive introduction of new and more modern technology, has become one of the leading enterprises of nuclear engineering. “

24/07/2012

[4] July 19, 2012

A delegation of the Department of Atomic Energy of the Government of India visited ZIO-Podolsk

AtomEnergoMash, Posted 19.07.2012

From 15 to 18 July the delegation’s visit to Moscow, the Department of Atomic Energy of the Government of India. The delegation included Special Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy A. Joshi, Deputy Secretary of the DAE Ninian Kumar and manager of the Indian Atomic Energy Commission Dzhogesh paddy.

During the visit, talks, where he was considered a range of issues related to the preparation for the launch nuclear power N1 “Kudankulam” the progress of the power unit N2 and preparation for construction of the third and fourth units, as well as signed a number of contracts relating to the implementation of the current phase of cooperation nuclear power plant (NPP) “Kudankulam”.

During the visit, the parties signed a protocol to the Russian-Indian intergovernmental agreement on the conditions of the Russian state credit for the third and fourth reactors at NPP “Kudankulam”.

Another purpose of the visit of Indian delegation was visiting engineering plant “ZIO-Podolsk” (included in the engineering division of “Rosatom” – “Atomenergomash”).

Representatives of the Department of Atomic Energy of the Government of India acquainted with the company and discussed issues related to preparations for the construction of the block number 3 and number 4 NPP “Kudankulam”.

During the visit, a presentation of the Quality Management System (QMS) and non-destructive testing equipment, inspection of production facilities engaged in the manufacture of equipment for nuclear power plants, including the area clean build of welding and assembly plant, where the stuffing is the steam generator tube bundle.

Representatives of the Indian government delegation praised the production capacity of machine-building plant “ZIO-Podolsk” and expressed their satisfaction with the visit.

JSC “Machine-Building Plant” ZIO-Podolsk “(” ZIO-Podolsk “) – the largest producer of heat-exchange equipment for the fuel and energy complex: nuclear and thermal power plants, oil and gas industry. 40% of the installed generating capacity in Russia, CIS and Baltic countries are equipped with the brand “ZIO”, including 100% of nuclear power plants, starting with the world’s first nuclear power plant in Obninsk.

[5] July 20, 2012

A delegation of the Department of Atomic Energy of the Government of India visited ZIO-Podolsk

During the visit, talks , where he was considered the complex issues related to the preparation for the launch of power N1 NPP “Kudankulam” progress to the construction of the third and fourth units, as well as signed a number kontraktk Russian-Indian intergovernmental agreement and fourth units in engineering and discussed voprk construction blocks number 3 and number 4, and non-destructive testing equipment, inspection of manufacturing tsehv manufacture of equipment for nuclear power plants, including the area clean build of welding and assembly shop, where is filling the steam generator tube bundle. Representatives of the Indian government delegation praised the production capacity of machine-building plant “ZIO-Podolsk” and expressed their satisfactionvisit.

Source: http://www.atomic-energy.ru/news/2012/07/20/34953  

http://kractivist.wordpress.com/2013/04/14/zio-podolsk-scandal-save-our-souls-part-1-nuclear/

http://kractivist.wordpress.com/2013/04/14/zio-podolsk-scandal-save-our-souls-part-2-nuclear/

http://kractivist.wordpress.com/2013/04/14/zio-podolsk-scandal-save-our-souls-part-3-nuclear/

 

India, Russia close to deal on remaining N-reactors


Jayanth Jacob, Hindustan Times New Delhi, April 08, 2013

A nearly three-year-long tussle between India and Russia over the modalities of the remaining two nuclear reactors – to be set up at Kudankulam – may finally be close to a resolution. India is willing to pay more if Russia accepts India’s nuclear liability law, a government source told HT.

A technical team is now in Mumbai to tie the loose ends so that the pact for reactors 3 and 4 can be signed at the earliest. India and Russia had signed a protocol for funding two new units at Kudankulam last year. The protocol provides that Russia will extend an export credit of $3.4 billion to Russian organisations to help build the units at four per cent interest and the total cost is expected to be more than $11 billion now.

The Kudankulam reactor 1 is to be operationalsied this month and reactor 2 will be functional within this year. “The additional cost being incurred for adhering to Indian liability law can be loaded into the reactor price and that is our position as we are looking to seal the deal for reactors 3 and 4″, said a source.

Negotiations regarding the two reactors in Kudankulam had been stuck over Russia’s refusal to accept the provisions of India’s nuclear liability law that came into force in 2010. Russia says these two reactors are part of the 2008 agreement for four additional reactors, which stems from the comprehensive Inter-governmental agreement (IGA) signed between India and the former USSR in 1988 for cooperation in areas of peaceful uses of atomic energy. The IGA signed in 2008, makes only the Indian operator liable for any nuclear accidents.

Russia wanted the same terms of pact to be continued for the 3rd and 4th as well – a position that Indian government could not accept in the light of the new liability law. The Kudankulam site, also plagued by anti-nuclear protest, is also critical to the India’s nuclear sector targets. The government has to show that it moves ahead with the nuclear energy target of 63,000 MW of power from nuclear power by 2032.

 

Inferior parts being used in Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant: Top scientist


English: Construction site of the Koodankulam ...

TNN | Apr 7, 2013, 05.32 AM IST

 

 

CHENNAI: The Centre, speeding up the process to commission the first unit of theKudankulam Nuclear Power Plant, received a jolt from one of the country’s noted nuclear scientist and former chairman of AtomicEnergy Regulatory Board (AERB) A Gopalakrishnan, who raised doubts about the quality of equipment in the plant. “Sub-standard materials have come to the Kudankulam plant and they are causing problems,” he alleged.

Gopalakrishnan was speaking at the nationalconvention on “Approach to the power question in the country,” organised by the People’s Committee for Safe Energy, and Breakthrough Science Society. “Dangerous things have been doneundercover,” he said. “AERB officials are not responding to any queries. There are reports from Russia about the supply of substandard atomic energy equipment. This has to be investigated before they go ahead with the commissioning. Since faults may not be known for a few years, safety concerns of the people have to be cleared,” he said, while seeking an independent Indian investigation team to study the plant. “Chinese have now started examining the components from Russia,” he said.

The senior scientist, who endorsed indigenous development of atomic energy, complained the reactors under operation with foreign support were in a very bad state. The nuclear reactors in Tarapur built by America’s General Electric in 1965, suffered serious technical problems even when they were constructed. The spare parts could not be sourced from GE even in 1995 as they were no longer making it. “Even the GE’s assessment was that the plants were too old, dangerous and should be shut down, but the department of Atomic Energy continue running the plants till date,” said Gopalakrishnan. He questioned India’s commitment to French reactors for Jaitapur even while a single plant of that kind had not been built anywhere in the world.

Terming the Centre’s nuclear policy as dictated by foreign countries, Gopalakrishnan said, “Nuclear policy followed in this country today is moving on a reckless path and it could one day land us in trouble.”

 

 

 

India sanctions two more Nuclear power plants at Kudankulam #WTFnews


PTI

As engineers race to commission the nuclear power plant at Kudankulam, the government has given its nod to build two more such units of 1,000 MW at the site in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu.

The Cabinet Committee on Security, at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday evening, approved the proposal to grant administrative and financial sanction for building units 3&4 at Kudankulam site, officials said.

The decision comes at a time when engineers of Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) are working to commission the first 1,000 MW unit of the Kudankulam nuclear power project.

Sources said the estimated cost of building the two plants has been pegged at Rs. 20 crore per megawatt.

The CCS nod paves the way for signing of the general framework agreement (GFA) between NPCIL and Russian suppliers of nuclear equipment.

The GFA will spell out the terms and conditions for building the two 1,000 MW VVER-type reactors at Kudankulam.

As per the agreement between India and Russia, a total of six nuclear power plants can be built at Kudankulam.

Last year, Indian and Russia had signed a protocol for funding two new units at Kudankulam.

As per the protocol, Russia will extend an export credit of $3.400 billion to Russian organisations to help build the units at four per cent interest.

The Kudankulam project is part of a comprehensive Inter-governmental agreement (IGA) signed between India and the erstwhile USSR in 1988 for cooperation in areas of peaceful uses of atomic energy.

A fresh IGA was signed between India and the Russian Federation in December 2008 which provided for construction of four more nuclear power units at Kudankulam.

 

Kudankulam power output to start by April-end


Nuclear Power Corp of India Ltd (NPCIL) has denied allegation by a Sri Lankan interest group that the Kudankulam plant in Tamil Nadu was leaking radiation, and said the phase 1 of the project would be ready soon and power production would start by April-end.

The Sri Lankan group, the People’s Movement Against Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant, on Saturday alleged that the plant had been leaking radiation since February 27. “There has not been any radiation leakage from the Kudankulam project. Already, the Indian high commission in Sri Lanka as well as the ministry of external affairs have denied the allegation,” R S Sundar, Kudankulam project site director, told Business Standard.

He added the project, which is facing strong opposition from local residents as well, was nearing completion. “We are carrying out a series of integration tests in the presence of a high-level team of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB). Village panchayat chiefs and representatives of local governments are also invited during such critical tests in a bid to take them into confidence.”

Some more integration tests will begin from this week. The AERB team has been camping at the project site since last one and a half months and all the tests are being carried out in their presence.

“Nearly 4,000 personnel are currently working at the project site for the commissioning of the 1,000-megawatt (Mw) phase I unit. We expect criticality to be achieved by April and the commencement of power generation by end of April,” Sundar said. The work on the second phase unit of 1,000 Mw is also under way, he added.

The project was born out of an inter-governmental agreement between India and Russia in 1988 and construction of the plant began in 1997.

But the project ran into rough weather after anti-nuclear activists stalled progress last year when the first unit was nearing commissioning. Work eventually resumed and AERB last year gave the go-ahead for uranium fuel loading.

Moreover, NPCIL has stepped up its efforts to reach out to the people from the neighbourhood in a bid to make them aware of the nature of the Kudankulam project and its safety applications. “In fact, the response is quite overwhelming,” Sundar said.

 

Call to address concerns of Kudankulam protesters


SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT, The Hindu

A chord with the masses:Film director T.K. Rajeevkumar launching the campaign ‘A rupee for Kudankulam’ on the Shanghumughom beach in Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday.— Photo: S. Mahinsha

 

The concerns of safety, loss of livelihood, and displacement raised by the villagers of Kudankulam are not the isolated concerns of 18,000 fisherfolk. Every individual should see this struggle as the right of another for existence and support it, film-maker T. K. Rajeevkumar said. The agitation against the Kudankulam nuclear plant has crossed 600 days.

Addressing hundreds of people on the Shanghumugham beach on Sunday evening, Mr. Rajeevkumar said the people of Kudankulam only want to convey to the world that none in high places had ever actually explained to them the benefits or disadvantages of building a nuclear plant in their village. They want to tell the world to understand the depth and implications of the concerns they have raised and see it as a concern of humanity and not marginalise it, Mr. Rajeevkumar said.

He was speaking after inaugurating the ‘A Rupee for Kudankulam’ campaign, organised by a State-level action council expressing solidarity with the Kudankulam movement

He said his reaction to the issue was that of a citizen and that of an individual who was apprehensive about what the proximity to a nuclear plant could mean to his world and the safety of people. The government had the responsibility to reassure the people about the concerns they had raised, he said.

Video installation

Mr. Rajeevkumar said a video installation on Kudankulam, explaining the entire anti-nuclear campaign from a human perspective, was being planned, the shooting for which had already commenced. The video installation would travel across the world so that the anti-nuclear voices from an isolated community would be heard across the world, he added.

S. P. Udayakumar, who is spearheading the anti-nuclear protests at Kudankulam plant, addressed the campaign via video conferencing. He said the people of the village were only seeking basic information about the nuclear plant project. But the Centre and the Tamil Nadu government were only concerned about enriching the Russian economy and scuttling the non-violent and democratic agitation being carried out by the villagers.

“Why is the government hell bent on going ahead with the nuclear plant project in such a hasty manner? The Prime Minister says we are approaching the issue emotionally and that we should come forward for a dialogue. But to initiate a dialogue, we need all information about the project – give us details about the site analysis, safety evaluation and emergency preparation and management reports,” Dr. Udayakumar said.

He pointed out that in other States too, proposed nuclear projects had been dropped following people’s opposition. “There is no need for any haste; let us have a national debate on the issue in the next elections,” he said.

He said the agitation will continue and that the people of Kudankulam were determined to fight for their right to live safely in their land till their last breath.

 

#India-Villagers Wail Against Nuclear Power


Fishermen and their families protesting against the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant. Credit K. S. Harikrishnan/IPSFishermen and their families protesting against the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant. Credit K. S. Harikrishnan/IPS

KUDANKULAM, India, Jan 6 2013 (IPS) – Mahalakshmi, a housewife married to a farmer, is afraid for her family’s future. The fifty-two-year-old woman is also frustrated that Indian authorities have “betrayed” poor villagers.

A huge nuclear power plant under the control of the government-run Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) is the source of her woes.

The Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP), situated 24 kilometres from the world famous tourist town of Kanyakumari on the southern tip of the Indian peninsula, is likely to be commissioned this month.

Speaking to IPS, Mahalakshmi and dozens of women in Kudankulam, a village in the Tirunelveli district of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, charged that the energy project would ruin their futures, homes and livelihoods.

The plant is slated to produce an initial 1,000 megawatts of power, according to the NPCIL, no small contribution to a country saddled with a severe energy deficit.

But the proposed nuclear station has brought sleepless nights to scores of locals, who fear a disaster similar to the meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan in March 2011, and the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe.

Locals have risen up in widespread protest over the proposed plant, which they claim has not been equipped with the best possible safety measures.

One of these protestors, Arul Vasanth, told IPS that politicians, scientists, and bureaucrats have made every effort to crush agitation against the potentially lucrative KKNPP.

“We, the poor, are at the receiving end of all false promises given by the authorities,” he said. “The risk has been put on our shoulders so the people will aggressively fight till the end.”

Indeed, the vast majority of those participating in the protests live below the government-declared poverty line.

Opposition to the energy project first began when India inked the KKNPP deal with the erstwhile Soviet Union in 1988.

Agitation gained momentum in 1997 when the country signed another agreement with Russia to revive the deal.

The controversial Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant. Credit K. S. Harikrishnan/IPS

Now, in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster, which drew the world’s attention to the horrific dangers of nuclear power, the people in Kudankulam have brought their fight into the open.

People from the Idinthakarai, Koottappalli, Perumanal, Koothankuli and Uoovri villages, located close to Kudankulam, fear health consequences arising from the plant.

Talking to IPS, well-known anti-nuclear activist K. Sahadevan questioned the efficacy of government measures to safeguard the health of local people living in the vicinity of the plant.

“Radioactivity-related health hazards are a major concern for the people residing near the plant,” he said, referring to a survey of houses very near to the Rajasthan Atomic Power Station, which revealed a high prevalence of cancer and tumors.

Dr. Binayak Sen, human rights activist and member of the Planning Commission’s Steering Committee on Health, said in a statement after visiting the site that the Kudankulam plant posed serious health consequences, not only for those residing in the immediate vicinity, but for inhabitants of the entire region.

Opposition to the plant has created deep cracks in the villagers’ daily lives. Frequent protests by farmers, fisherfolk, students and coastal dwellers have sent a strong message to the authorities but simultaneously interrupted income-generating activities.

Explaining the ground situation in the villages, Peter Milton, an agitation leader in Idinthakari, told IPS that people are worried and frustrated about their future.

 

  • Farmers say the government has failed to compensate them for large swaths of arable land that have now been declared part of the official “construction site”.

 

 

One small-scale farmer who has suffered many bureaucratic hurdles in claiming compensation for his land told IPS he favours other sources of energy – such as wind farms – over the proposed atomic power station.

A group of students at St. Annes Higher Secondary School in Kudankulam also expressed distress over a future lived in the shadow of nuclear catastrophe.

“A disaster in the plant will eliminate our dreams. That is why we are agitating,” the students, who wished to remain anonymous, told IPS.

Meanwhile, police and intelligence agencies are stepping up their suppression of protestors. “The threat of the police has put more strain on our lives. Even students and women are not exempted from the harassment,” said Milton.

According to media reports, 269 persons have been arrested in connection with the agitation. Agitation leaders claim the number is much higher, with pending cases running into the thousands.

T. Peter, secretary of the National Fish Workers Forum, told IPS that many people have been taken into custody under the charge of sedition. He alleged that the establishment is trying to “sabotage” the protest movement and crush it with an iron fist.

“The fisher folk residing in the coastal area of Kudankulam are (acutely) aware about the impacts of a nuclear (accident) at the KKNPP. People living in coastal areas between Thiruvananthapuram and Tuticorin will be (particularly) affected if a disaster occurs,” he added.

The Russian envoy to India, Alexander M. Kadakin, branded the anti-nuclear protests “gimmicks” and “games” while speaking to reporters in Chennai.

Regardless, India’s highest judicial bodies have expressed alarm about the lack of safety measures at the proposed plant, going so far as to halt the process altogether.

Litigations are now pending before the Supreme Court of India and the National Green Tribunal.

In November, the Supreme Court instructed the Union Government to deploy all necessary safety measures at Kudankulam.

“There must be no compromise on safety and rehabilitation. We are making it absolutely clear that all the guidelines and safety measures for handling disasters must be put in place before the plant is commissioned,” according to Justices K S Radhakrishanan and Deepak Misra.

Attempting to allay fears of a disaster, nuclear scientists have expressed satisfaction over the safety measures at the Kudankulam plant. Former Indian president and scientist Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam declared the plant to be safe, following extensive discussions with KKNPP officials and a thorough inspection of the plant’s safety features.

 

 

#India-“Give up KKNPP, go for solar and wind energy”- Adm.Ramdas


TIRUNELVELI, January 1, 2013, The Hindu

Staff Reporter

 

The Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project is totally unsafe and should not be commissioned, according to former Navy Chief Admiral L. Ramdoss.

With ample resources of renewable energy and over 300 bright sunny days, government agencies should tap the potential to generate wind and solar energy, instead of commissioning the high-risk nuclear energy project at Kudankulam, he said.

The technology for generating solar energy was very competitive and cheaper than nuclear energy. However, the existing grid system was not suited to tap such clean energy resources. While developed countries around the world had abandoned the nuclear energy option on grounds of safety, the Indian government was pushing ahead with the commissioning of the risky nuclear energy project, overlooking safety concerns raised by the people, especially the coastal population.

Admiral Ramdoss was addressing the media at Idinthakarai near Kudankulam on Monday.

“In my view no assurance on safety has been made by the Central government, the Russian government, NPCIL, Department of Atomic Energy or any expert from the Indian officialdom,” he noted.

In the past, experts had certified nuclear energy plants to be safe.

These included plants such as Three Mile Island in the US, Chernobyl in Ukraine and Fukushima in Japan. Yet these plants suffered accidents, he pointed out. Design of the equipment, natural causes beyond our control and human failure could cause accidents, Mr. Ramdoss warned.

“People have the right to protect themselves from the risks of nuclear energy, but all these rights have been scuttled. They have been told lies that the emerging nuclear plant is safe. It is time to give up this unsafe project and the government authorities should find alternative source of energy to safeguard the lives of the people in the vicinity of Kudankulam and protect their livelihood,.” he said.

Binayak Sen, national vice-president, People’s Union for Civil Liberty, said the judicial process had been misused and AERB norms were being flouted in the process of commissioning this nuclear plant.

The protest by the people against nuclear energy was being suppressed. The PUCL and human rights organisations had been engaged in the withdrawal of sedition charges levelled against the protesters.

Praful Bidwai, senior journalist, said fake cases had been foisted on the protesters. As many as 325 cases were filed against those involved in the agitation at Idinthakarai. Charge sheets were filed against 1,20, 000 people and 13, 350 were charged with waging a war against the State and criminal conspiracy.

As many as 8,456 persons were booked on sedition charges, 18,143 persons accused of attempt to murder and 15,565 persons charged with destroying government properties. Sixty-six persons were arrested and nine imprisoned. Forty-five persons were released on conditional bail.

Children performed cultural programmes on the eve of the New Year. S.P. Udhayakumar, convener, People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy, and members of organisations against nuclear energy from various States took part in the agitation. The agitation at Idinthakarai has crossed 500 days.