Outrage Over Safety Issues at Indian Nuke Plant


By K. S. HarikrishnanReprint |   ips news
Residents of Kudankulam, a village in Tamil Nadu, protest against the Indian Supreme Court verdict approving construction of a nuclear power plant. Credit: K. S. Harikrishnan/IPSResidents of Kudankulam, a village in Tamil Nadu, protest against the Indian Supreme Court verdict approving construction of a nuclear power plant. Credit: K. S. Harikrishnan/IPS

KUDANKULAM, India, Jun 14 2013 (IPS) – The Tirunelveli district in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu may seem idyllic, dotted with lush green fields, but upon closer inspection one sees signs of a battle that does not appear to be abating.

Locals here have been waging an incessant campaign against a proposed nuclear power plant that was supposed to be operational in 2012 and which is currently sitting idle 24 kilometres from the tourist town of Kanyakumari, located on the southern tip of the Indian peninsula.

A recent report by a group of prominent Indian researches has now added another issue to a long list of grievances with the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) that activists and residents have been compiling since August 2011: evidence of faulty material used in the construction of the plant itself.

Plans for the plant were first drawn up in 1988 under a bilateral agreement between Russia and India, but various political obstacles kept construction on hold for over a decade. It was not until 2001 that a fresh attempt was made to jump-start the 3.1-billion-dollar venture, which has an installed capacity of 1,000 megawatts (MW).

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

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

Things were moving smoothly until news of the meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor in Japan in March 2011 went viral. Fearing a repeat performance of the tragedy, locals here took to the streets, protesting lax safety standards and possible nuclear radiation in the event of an accident.

The government has refused to address protestors’ concerns, instead issuing blanket assurances that the plant has been constructed using state of the art instrumentation and contains a passive cooling system and other mechanisms that will enable it to withstand natural disasters like earthquakes and tsunamis.

Nalinish Nagaich, executive director of the National Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL), has repeatedly insisted that the equipment installed in the power station has undergone multi-stage quality checks.

Last month, in a 247-page ruling, a division bench of the Supreme Court of India consisting of Justices K.S. Radhakrishnan and Dipak Misra dismissed protestors’ concerns as “baseless”, adding: “The benefits we reap from KKNPP are enormous since nuclear energy remains an important element in India’s energy mix, which can replace a significant (quantity) of fossil fuels like coal, gas (and) oil.”

But new information brought to light in ‘Scandals in the Nuclear Business’, a report published by Dr. V. T. Padmanabhan, a member of the European Commission on Radiation Risk, exposes cracks in the government’s position and highlights the potential crises arising from the use of faulty parts.

According to the study, the Reactor Pressure Vessel (RPV), considered to be the “heart” of a nuclear station, has been built using an outdated, three-decade old model. In addition, various pieces of equipment supplied by Russia have been found to be faulty.

The report has only deepened a crisis of confidence that surfaced earlier this year when Russian Federal prosecutors booked Sergei Shutov, procurement director of the Russian company ZiO-Podolsk that supplied vital equipment to the KKNPP, on corruption charges.

Shutov was charged with “having sourced cheaper sub-standard steel for manufacturing components that were used in Russian nuclear installations in Bulgaria, Iran, China and India”, according to a joint letter sent by over 60 scientists to the chief ministers of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

The New Delhi-based Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace (CNDP) has expressed serious concern over the recent scam, calling it a direct violation of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB)’s safety norms.

Back in April, following a series of tests, the AERB itself acknowledged that four valves in the KKNPP were defective and ordered the NPCIL to replace the parts and surrender itself for review by the regulatory authority, before resuming construction.

World Nuclear News reported last month that “technical issues discovered during the commissioning of Unit One have necessitated the replacement of several valves in the passive core cooling system, leading to further delays” in the commissioning of the KKNPP.

Dr. A Gopalakrishnan, former chairman of AERBhas urged the government to put an immediate stop to the project until allegations of corruption and faulty equipment have been adequately addressed, and the safety and quality of the parts used to house the reactor have been determined.

Police crack down on women protesting against the Kudankulam nuclear plant in India. Credit: K. S. Harikrishnan/IPS.

Police crack down on women protesting against the Kudankulam nuclear plant in India. Credit: K. S. Harikrishnan/IPS.

“The fact that a high-cost, high-risk nuclear reactor is (thought to have) defects…in its components and equipment even before it (has started operating) is highly unusual, and indicates gross failures at several levels in the AERB-NPCIL-Atomstroyexport (triumvirate),” he said, referring to Russia’s national nuclear vendor that stands accused of supplying low-quality parts to India.

N. Sahadevan, environmentalist and prominent campaigner against nuclear arsenals, told IPS that the recent scandal necessitated a “thorough re-examination of the safety aspects of the plant.”

Furthermore, according to Supreme Court Lawyer Prashant Bhushan, the NPCIL, which operates the KKNPP, has failed to comply with the 17 post-Fukushima safety recommendations made by a special AERB committee.

Meanwhile, thousands of villagers in and around Kudankulam continue their daily, peaceful demonstrations.

S. P. Udayakumar, leader of the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy, told IPS that the Fukushima catastrophe categorically proved that nuclear power projects are not aligned with the welfare of the people, especially those living in the vicinity, and are incapable of providing any kind of “security”, energy or otherwise.

Activists have also exposed discrepancies in the government’s claim that nuclear power is crucial for the Indian economy, pointing out that the country currently has just 4,880 MW of existing capacity, “which contribute to only 2.7 percent of the total electricity generation in the country,” according to Dr. E. A. S. Sarma, former Union Power Secretary of India.

- See more at: http://www.ipsnews.net/2013/06/outrage-over-safety-issues-at-indian-nuke-plant/#sthash.Q7VgTdmC.5cfoiTLx.dpuf

 

#India – High Power, Yelllow Oscar Winner film on Tarapur Atomic Power Station


 

NEW DELHI, June 7, 2013, The Hindu

Power play

Budhaditya Bhattacharya

  • A still from 'High Power'.
    A still from ‘High Power’.
  • A still from 'High Power'.
    A still from ‘High Power’.
  • Pradeep Indulkar.
    Pradeep Indulkar.

Pradeep Indulkar talks about “High Power”, which won a Yellow Oscar at the Uranium Film Festival recently

Having worked for 12 years with the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Pradeep Indulkar is an unlikely candidate for directing a film opposed to nuclear power. His High Power, a 27-minute documentary about the health issues faced by residents of Tarapur, a town in Maharashtra, and home to the Tarapur Atomic Power Station, recently won the Yellow Oscar in the short film category in the Rio de Janeiro leg of the Uranium Film Festival. Films from all over the world which shed light on the problems associated with nuclear energy are screened and discussed here.

Having quit BARC in 1994 owing to health problems, Indulkar, a mechanical engineer, worked in the field of environment education, which would have doubtless served him well during the making of this film. In 2009, he came across the struggle against the Jaitapur nuclear plant, and joined it. This steered him towards Tarapur, the oldest nuclear power plant and the closest to Mumbai.

“The govt. was showing a very rosy picture of Tarapur on TV, so a few of us thought of going there and interviewing the people…That material was very strong, people were talking from their heart, and instead of showing it on a news channel, I thought it could be made into a documentary,” Indulkar informs. Combining his passion for storytelling from his college days with a new found interest in the documentary format, Indulkar set sail.

After a few more interviews, a narrative emerged, which sees the goings-on at Tarapur through the eyes of a city dweller who returns to his native village. The documentary focuses on the acute situation there, and the everyday nature of morbidity. “Rate of death due to cancer is increasing; the other major problems are loss of fertility, stillbirths and deformed babies. Paralysis and heart attacks caused by high blood pressure are also on the rise,” the director informs. With these, the documentary also examines issues of rehabilitation and loss of livelihood.

Like most documentary filmmakers, Indulkar faced a shortage of funds while making the film. “In the making of a documentary on some critical issues the main problem a documentary maker faces is the funding. Though we have a few funding agencies they mainly give funds to informative and educational films. But documentary is the genre of film which brings out the truth and most of the times the truth is a bit bitter, which some agencies do not wish to support,” he says.

He was helped out by a number of people who agreed to be a part of the film on an honorary basis. While Tom Alter and Vikram Gokhale did the voiceovers in English and Hindi respectively, a Marathi film producer funded the editing of the film.

The film is yet to obtain a clearance from the Censor Board of Film Certification in India, which means it cannot be shown publicly in India yet. Meanwhile, Indulkar is working on finishing the film he had started a few years ago, about the heritage structures of Mumbai.

 

Kudankulam nuclear power plant : the unsettled queries


First Published: Wed, Jun 05 2013. livemint
On 6 May, the Supreme Court dismissed a plea seeking to halt the commissioning of the Kudankulam nuclear reactors in Tamil Nadu till the implementation of key additional safety measures recommended after the catastrophic Fukushima accident of 2011. The court’s argument was that the project is “part of the national policy” and it “is not for courts to determine whether a particular policy or a particular decision taken in fulfilment of a policy, is fair”. Regardless of one’s opinion about that assertion, what is disturbing about the judgement is that it ventured well beyond its brief and commented on areas that were outside its provenance.
The first set of comments relate to the idea that nuclear power is “an important element in India’s energy mix” and that the risks involved are justified by the benefits. For a source that constitutes 2.3% of India’s electricity generation capacity to be described as important is, of course, questionable. More to the point, this endorsement of nuclear power is at odds with the larger argument about courts not taking a stance on policies. If the apex court cannot weigh in on a policy decision, it’s in an even worse position to decide on India’s energy mix or if the expenditure so far justifies people having “to put up” with “minor inconveniences”, “minor radiological detriments” and “minor environmental detriments”.
In a second set of comments based on various documents and safety codes laid out by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB), the court “notice(d) that adequate and effective protection measures are in place”. The problem here is that the court’s confidence in the effectiveness of protection measures does not comport well with the actual performance of AERB, in particular its lack of independence and its inability, and perhaps its unwillingness, to force the Nuclear Power Corp. of India Ltd (NPCIL) to undertake stringent safety measures. The government’s efforts at constituting the Nuclear Safety Regulatory Authority (NSRA), to “preserve the functional independence of the regulatory board”, is indicative of the problems with the setup.
The most pertinent illustration of AERB’s weaknesses is its actions on Kudankulam. Even though AERB committee set up following Fukushima “to review the safety of Indian NPPs (nuclear power plants) against external events of natural origin” came out with some sensible safety recommendations, when push came to shove, AERB permitted loading of fuel even though these recommendations had not been fully implemented in Kudankulam. None other than a former chairperson of AERB, A. Gopalakrishnan, has termed this decision “a total volte-face…and contrary to the spirit and recommendations of AERB post-Fukushima safety evaluation committee”. By endorsing NPCIL and AERB’s decisions, albeit with conditions, the apex court’s judgement might further entrench the lacunae in NPCIL’s safety culture (see the description in my recent book The Power of Promise: Examining Nuclear Energy in India).
Inexplicably, the court’s decision makes no mention of a devastating report from last year by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, the body mandated to “promote accountability, transparency and good governance”, on the subordinate legal status of AERB and its multiple failings to ensure safety of nuclear installations in the country. CAG observed that AERB had no effective independence from the department of atomic energy (DAE). Of the 3,200 recommendations by AERB’s safety review committee for operating plants, DAE and related organizations had not complied with 375, with 137 recommendations from 2004 or earlier.
The reliance on just the nuclear establishment’s testimony demonstrates myopia regarding a very basic matter—the lack of trust regarding AERB. The situation for any regulatory agency is like that of Pompeia, Julius Caesar’s wife, of whom, Caesar is supposed to have said, “Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion”. Public suspicion about AERB and its lack of independence is justifiably high. At least until the regulatory structure is completely overhauled, the court’s call for “safety standards in which public can have full confidence” cannot be fulfilled.
The chances of such a major overhaul are, unfortunately, slim. The proposed fix—replacing AERB with a new NSRA—won’t work. As currently envisioned, many of the key processes involving NSRA’s appointment, policy setting and budgetary allocation will continue to be controlled, in effect, by the Atomic Energy Commission. As CAG observed last year, the “fact that the chairman, AEC and the secretary, DAE are one and the same…negates the very essence of institutional separation of regulatory and non-regulatory functions”. Further, there is little nuclear expertise outside the DAE parivar to constitute an independent NSRA. Developing such expertise requires a decade or two of deliberate effort, which is so far missing.
For the reasons mentioned above and many more, the court’s decision cannot settle the contentious dispute over Kudankulam, or the larger questions about the expansion of nuclear energy in the country. That is still a matter for democratic debate. And all the familiar problems with nuclear energy—including high costs, susceptibility to catastrophic accidents, and the unsolved problem of dealing with radioactive waste—should play a role in that debate.

M.V. Ramana is with the Program on Science and Global Security at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University

——–
M. V. Ramana
The Power of Promise: Examining Nuclear Energy in India

 

Anti-Areva Protest: Letter to French and European Bankers from Fishermen and Farmers of Jaitapur


02 June 2013

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

To,

The Presidents / Chief Executive Officers,

The French and European Bankers,

 

SUBJECT:- FINANCING OF PROPOSED JAITAPUR NUCLEAR POWER PROJECT.

 

Dear Sir / Madam,

 

We the people of Jaitapur, Madban, Sakhari Nate, Mithgavane, Niveli, Karel and all the surrounding villages situated near proposed JAITAPUR Nuclear Power Project, are writing to you with a deep sense of anguish and disgust about the scheduled development taking place in the city of Paris on 5 th and 6 th June between Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) acting through Government of India, French Company AREVA and various French as well as European Bankers.

 

We, the thousands of Fishermen, Farmers as well as common inhabitants of Jaitapur and surrounding areas, are given to know that NPCIL and Government of India officials are going to negotiate with French as well as European Bankers the loan terms for financing the proposed JAITAPUR NUCLEAR POWER PROJECT.

 

We further understand that, to allay and assuage the serious concerns of Bankers as well as French Company AREVA about our staunch and fierce opposition to the proposed JAITAPUR NUCLEAR POWER PROJECT, Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) and Government of India officials are making wrong representations, concealing the ground information, twisting and distorting the facts and are trying their level best to delude you, in order to make you agreeable and secure loan finance for this mega disaster project.

 

To put the ground realities and facts in clear perspective, we, the fishermen and farmers of Jaitapur and adjoining areas, want to make it very very clear that our die hard opposition to Proposed JAITAPUR NUCLEAR POWER PROJECT is total, fierce and will not be subdued by any means or ways possible. In fact it is gaining momentum every passing day and is extending to larger and wider areas of Coastal Maharashtra, famously known as KOKAN.

 

In view of all above, we urge upon you not to buckle to the cheap tactics of NPCIL as well as Government of India and extend any loan to this ill fated Nuclear Project, which is sure to be scrapped sooner or later and you will end up not only loosing your money but your face too.

 

We will never ever allow anybody to contaminate our ancestral land, seas, marine as well as land environment of this konkan coast with NUCLEAR ENERGY and it’s dangerous fallout of ionizing RADIOACTIVITY at any cost and to achieve this objective, we are prepared to embrace even death if the situation so warrants.

 

Hope propriety prevails in your decision making and you desist from making money over our deaths.

 

                              

Yours Truly

                  Fishermen, Farmers and inhabitants of Jaitapur and vicinity

 

 

 

Jaitapur villagers oppose investors’ meeting, hidden from Locals


PUNE, June 4, 2013

Staff Reporter, The Hindu

Konkan Bachao Samiti says this meet was hidden from the locals to avoid furore

Even as officials of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) left for France for a crucial meeting between European investors and French conglomerate Areva to gather funds for the 9900-MW Jaitapur nuclear power plant, farmers and fishermen of the Jaitapur have written to the potential investors expressing their opposition to the project.

According to sources, a team of senior officers of both the DAE and the NPCIL will attend a meeting in France on June 5 and 6.

According to members of the Konkan Bachao Samiti, this meeting was kept hidden from the local population, to avoid furore and further protests.

“Deluding investors”

The letter by the Konkan Bachao Samiti states, “NPCIL and government of India officials are making wrong representations, concealing the ground information, twisting and distorting the facts and are trying their level best to delude you [investors] , in order to make you agreeable and secure loan finance for this mega disaster project.”

Rajendra Phaterpekar of the Samiti stated that the exact cost of the project was still not made public, adding to the government’s non-transparent attitude.

According to earlier projections, the cost of the project was to be Rs. 1,20,000 crore, which is alleged to have increased three-fold over the last two years, he said.

“We, the fishermen and farmers of Jaitapur and adjoining areas, want to make it very very clear that our diehard opposition to the proposed nuclear power project is total, fierce and will not be subdued by any means or ways possible,” the letter says.

Added to this, the villagers of Jaitapur will stage a protest on July 4 to register their opposition, yet again.

 

Koodankulam’s Environmental Impacts: An open letter to Jayanti Natarajan


 

Dr. A Gopalakrishnan wrote this letter to the Minister of Forest and Environment Ms. Jayanti Natarajan. After getting no reply from the ministry, he has put this letter in the public, which has been published in today’s New Indian Express. The letter raises some urgent and crucial issues regarding adherence to MoEF norms as directed by the Supreme Court in its recent judgement.

Dear Ms. Natarajan:

My name is Dr A Gopalakrishnan. I have been the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) of the Government of India from 1993-1996, and have been actively following the nuclear projects and programmes in India, over the last several decades.

I have attached a bio-data of mine, which summarises my academic and professional background, which you may find informative. Many of us are deeply troubled at the unwritten and unexplained nuclear power policy which the UPA Government is following since 2004, with no opportunity given for a discussion with the knowledgeable sections of the public so that they may present their views and debate this policy with the government. I was appalled to hear your cryptic statement of support for the Indian nuclear power programme, by terming it as ‘essential’ for the country and a ‘sustainable’ form of electricity generation, in one of your recent TV interactions in the Headlines Today TV channel.

May I remind you that neither the Prime Minister nor his Department of Atomic Energy has ever presented such a case for nuclear power before Parliament or the public, on the basis of credible substantiating techno-economic and social impact studies. Therefore, I wish you would kindly take time out to study this issue in all its varied facets, rather than form superficial and self-serving opinions based on literature and views that the DAE, NPCIL, AERB and the PMO provide you to further their interests.

Considering the specific portfolio of Minister in charge of Environment & Forests that you hold in the Cabinet, we in the public are all the more concerned about your rather casual and ill-informed understanding and attitude towards the nuclear power sector. Incidentally, just two months before he demitted his office, your predecessor (Mr.Jairam Ramesh) had promised me at one of our meetings that he will organise a seminar at MoEF to discuss issues of nuclear power and the impartial regulation of its safety. But, as a loyalist of the current government, he also did injustice to the local people in Jaitapur, Maharashtra, by hurriedly issuing an environment clearance for the Areva nuclear power project envisaged there, because of pressures from the PMO, in view of the impending visit of the French President to India.

Soon Mr. Ramesh got transferred out of the MoEF and the possibility of any seminar on nuclear power and its potential environmental impact became a lost dream! Since Jairam should also be reminded of this, I am copying this mail to him as well. The immediate reason for this mail from me is the recent Supreme Court judgment, on the commissioning of the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project in Tamil Nadu .

This judgment was delivered on May 6, 2013, and, for your ready reference, I have attached here a copy of the judgment.

Of crucial importance to you, the MoEF and the general public, is the fact that the “Directions” given by the SC Bench on pages 242-247 of their judgment call for certain very important actions to be independently undertaken in all seriousness by the MoEF experts. Lack of expertise in engineering systems, etc. cannot be claimed as excuses to shirk off the responsibility which the MoEF has been entrusted with by the SC.

Essentially, what is asked of your Department/ Ministry is to play the role of an impartial observer on behalf of the people of India, in a matter of life and death in which the SC decision does not reflect, in my view, a full trust in the DAE, NPCIL, AERB and the PMO. For the first time, in such a safety evaluation, the SC has brought in the MoEF and the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB), side by side with the NPCIL & the AERB, to form a collective four-organisation team, members of which are to get involved in examining ALL potential safety and environment-related areas, irrespective of what each organisation’s normal field of operation and responsibility would have been.

Many of us are keenly watching to see how the MoEF takes on this global responsibility and completes it in flying colours, to the full satisfaction of the Supreme Court and the general public.

Lastly, I wish to bring to your attention two articles I had recently published in The New Indian Express (dated April 19 and May 15, 2013), one before the SC judgment was delivered and another afterwards.

I have attached both of them to this mail for your kind information.

I hope I can expect to receive an acknowledgement of this letter and suitable and impartial follow-up action from the MoEF in this matter.

With Regards,
Sincerely Yours,
(Dr.) A. Gopalakrishnan,
Former Chairman,
Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, Govt. of India.

 

Gonds rally round fellow tribals protesting Chutka nuclear plant


Chutka (M.P.), May 25, 2013

Staff Reporter, The Hindu

Villagers demonstrating against the proposed nuclear plant at Chutka village in Mandla district of Madhya Pradesh on Friday. Photo: A.M. FARUQUI
Villagers demonstrating against the proposed nuclear plant at Chutka village in Mandla district of Madhya Pradesh on Friday. Photo: A.M. FARUQUI

Riding boats across Narmada, dam evictees join stir ‘for future generations”

Gond tribals and anti-nuclear activists took out a celebratory rally here after a public hearing, scheduled for Friday, on the Chutka Nuclear Power Project was indefinitely postponed by the Mandla Collector. They had threatened to picket the hearing on the environment impact assessment report, as they had received copies in English, and not in Hindi as they demanded. The project, on the drawing board since the 1980s, has been planned in a 497.73-hectare area in Narayanganj tehsil, on the banks of the Narmada. The area falls in a “high damage risk” seismic zone.

Villagers of Chutka, Tatighat, Kunda and Manegaon, predominantly of the Gond Scheduled Tribe, have been protesting against the project since it was cleared by the Union government in 2009. Most of them were displaced by the Bargi Dam in 1984.

On Friday, scores of Gonds, all dam evictees, came to this the village in boats to support their tribesmen. They crossed over from Seoni district, across the Narmada, where they now eke out an existence as marginal peasants and labourers.

“It is mother Narmada’s will that the parmanu [nuclear plant] must go away. Otherwise we would have drowned. We came here to tell the bureaucrats not to take away the homes of our brethren again. I am so happy that they did not come. Even if I don’t have food today I can dance,” said 50-year-old Radhabai from Bakherimal in Seoni.

Ram Singh Uike, 70, said he had received Rs. 30,119 for his 19 acres in the 1980s. “I have faced more sorrows than any man should face. The money got over fast and we are like birds which fly from one place to another for food.”

His kinsman Raghuvir Narti said: “This is for our future generations. We have decided not to vote for any party that brings the plant and to support the party that stops the plant. If no party supports us, we will ensure poll boycott in 54 villages in the block during the Assembly elections.”

Activists of the CPI(ML)-K.N. Ramachandran group led the protest against the state and nuclear energy. Then came the rally by around 500 villagers along with members of the Chutka Parmanu Sangharsh Samiti, which has been spearheading the protests.

Uike’s boat group was led by former Gondwana Gantantra Party leader Mahatlal Barkade. He said the villagers would remain wary of not only the state but also activists.

Officials of the Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board, which had called the hearing, and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited, which will run the project, were in the dark over reasons for the cancellation.

 

Public hearing on MP’s Chukta nuclear power project cancelled


Shashikant Trivedi  |  Bhopal  May 24, 2013

Led by Ramon Magsaysay award winner Dr Sandeep Pandey and others prominent activists of the state, locals of as many as 38 villages restricted Mandla district administration to organise a public hearing on controversial Chutka nuclear power project.

According to activists, more than 4,000 villagers reached the hearing site at Chutka and stalled the process before it could take place. “The public hearing meeting has been cancelled today,” said a government spokesperson but refused to give details on next schedule.

According to the protesters, agitation against the 1,400 MW Chutka nuclear power project (450 km east from Bhopal) was boiling up. They are likely to intensify agitation against land acquisition process launched by state government.

“Locals now understand that this project poses several health risks and is not in their favour. As propagated by state authorities and champions, nuclear power is no more a cheaper option. If it is why United States has not come up with any new nuclear power project since 1979. After Fukushima disaster in 2011, most of the countries are now exploring possibilities in renewable energy sources. Why India is looking at nuclear option? Is it due to those private players of the US that have entered some suspicious deals with India? This project should not come up at any cost,” Pandey told Business Standard over telephone.

The NPCIL (Nuclear Power Corporation India Limited) plans to commission the Chutka project in Chutka which falls under highly seismic zone. Local administration launched a process to acquire land by issuance of land acquisition notices to local people. Reportedly, the administration has completed documentation formalities by ignoring the fact that the site and affected people are tribal and come under scheduled area, the protestors calimed.

Local people were protesting against the public hearing on Friday as they had been slapped a NEERI (National Environmental Engineering Research Institute) report which is beyond their analyzing abilities. The hearing was called to invite claims, objections and suggestions on the project. “We will now intensify our protest under Chutka Parmanu Pradushan Sangharsh Samiti and would now stall land acquisition process. When they have not obtained environment clearances how can they acquire land?” said Sunil, another activist of Madhya Pradesh Jan Sangharsh Morcha.

 

Chutka Locals to disrupt public hearing for nuke project on the Narmada


Chutka ( M.P.), May 23, 2013

Pheroze L. Vincent. The Hindu 

Villagers staging indefinite dharna in Chutka village on Thursday to protest against the Public Hearing by District Administration for Nuclear Power Plant at Chutka village in Mandla disstrict of Madhya Pradesh on Friday. Photo: A.M.Faruqui
THE HINDU Villagers staging indefinite dharna in Chutka village on Thursday to protest against the Public Hearing by District Administration for Nuclear Power Plant at Chutka village in Mandla disstrict of Madhya Pradesh on Friday. Photo: A.M.Faruqui

Residents of four villages, which are supposed to give way for a nuclear project, are expected to picket a public hearing at Chutka on Friday. The 1400 MW power project by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) is planned over 497.73 hectares in Narayanganj tehsil, roughly 400 km east of Bhopal.

Many of those participating in the agitation, have already lost their homes and pastures to the Bargi Dam on the river Narmada in 1984.

When The Hindu visited Chutka village, where a large tent is being set up for the hearing tomorrow, almost every hutment had “Cancel the public hearing, we don’t want nuclear power” painted in Hindi in front. Chutka is predominantly populated by the Gond tribe, who’s main occupation in growing lentils, corn, maize, mustard and staple Gond millets like Kodo (Palspalum scrolaiculatum) and Kutki (Panicum sumatrense).

The “parmanu” or nuclear plant was the main subject of discussion among guests leaving a wedding in Dhan Singh’s house. His wife Umedhabai, said that there was nothing for her family in the nuclear project. “We know how to farm, not to work with machines. After the government removed us from mother Narmada’s lap, we prepared these fields with our blood and sweat. Now they want us to give this away. It is better to kill us.”

At the village square, around forty villagers under the banner Chutka Parmanu Sangharsh Samiti (CPSS) have been protesting since May 21. They have also staged protests in Jabalpur, the divisional headquarters and in the capital Bhopal, this month. They are supported by the Gondwana Gantantra Party (GGP), The CPI-ML (KN Ramachandran group) and the CPI.

After the Centre cleared the project in 2009, protests began. In 2010, survey teams were denied entry to the village and the gram sabhas of Chutka, Kunda and Tatighat villages passed resolutions against the project. After the district administration served a land acquisition notice, the protestors have handed over their memoranda of dissent to the administration and the governor.

The protestors are demanding that the Environment Impact Assessment report be given to them in simple Hindi. The report by the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, Pune, in English was released last month with a summary in Hindi. They say that they will physically prevent the public hearing and face police canes, if they have to.

“The hearing will give legitimacy to this illegal attempt to take away our lands. How can we understand all this technical details. We are being tricked into losing everything we have for a project that will destroy the river and our livelihood,” said Nauratan Dubey, secretary of the CPSS.

The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited has recruited and trained 40 youth to canvass in favour of the 1400 MW project. An exhibition bus highlighting benefits of nuclear energy has also been doing the rounds. Advertorials by Vigyan Prasar, an autonomous central body, have appeared in local Hindi dailies this week.

District Magistrate and Collector Lokesh Jatav told this reporter, “We want this to be inclusive… NPCIL has take groups of villagers to visit Tarapur Atomic Power Station near Mumbai. You must understand that the kind of rehabilitation and resettlement package offered today will be much better than the Bargi oustees got 30 years back.”

He added that at least 3,500 jobs will be created for locals. The administration is currently identifying trades in which 1,000 youth can be trained. The residential complex of NPCIL employees will also create a demand for local farmers.

Prem Singh Kudape, a man with his infant son at the protest, said that he does not want a job in the nuclear plant. “They are all contract jobs. Land is permanent. Even after we were sent away in 1984, undeserving people took away the jobs.”

The area falls under seismic zone 3, a high damage risk area. In 1997 an earthquake which recorded 6.2 on the Richter scale hit the area. Mr. Jatav allayed fears of a Fukushima like disaster saying that the government’s experts could not be wrong and they were willing to consider all objections to their report.

Gulzar Singh Markam, vice president of the GGP which commands the respect of adivasis in the region, said, “If it is so safe, let them build it in Bhopal by the Upper Lake. It can power the CM’s house.”

 

Tarapur Atomic Power Project Real TRUTH Revealed by Villagers


Tarapur Atomic Power Project Real TRUTH Revealed by  Palghar Villager Villagers

India’s Arabian Sea coast is home to the 1400 MW Tarapur Power Station near Mumbai, India’s largest operational nuclear plant that in 2011 was also identified by a government expert panel as the least prepared of the country’s atomic power complexes to handle a scenario like the one at Fukushima in Japan in 2011.

 The country is also in the process of setting up a 10,000 MW nuclear power complex at Jaitapur that has faced local opposition.

But though the subduction zone – where tectonic plates meet – to India’s west, near Makran along the Pakistan-Iran border is closer to India than the one to the east that was the epicentre of the 2004 tremors, the Arabian Sea has long been considered less vulnerable to large earthquakes and tsunamis.

India’s Arabian Sea coast is home to the 1400 MW Tarapur Power Station near Mumbai, India’s largest operational nuclear plant that in 2011 was also identified by a government expert panel as the least prepared of the country’s atomic power complexes to handle a scenario like the one at Fukushima in Japan in 2011.

The country is also in the process of setting up a 10,000 MW nuclear power complex at Jaitapur that has faced local opposition.

But though the subduction zone – where tectonic plates meet – to India’s west, near Makran along the Pakistan-Iran border is closer to India than the one to the east that was the epicentre of the 2004 tremors, the Arabian Sea has long been considered less vulnerable to large earthquakes and tsunamis.