#India – Confidential Report raised fears about proximity of Kalpsar dam & Mithivirdi N-project


Express news service : Ahmedabad, Fri May 03 2013, 04:06 hrs

A confidential report by the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) expressed concerns about possible calamities due to the proximity of the proposed  Kalpsar dam and the Mithivirdi Nuclear Power Project (NPP), including flooding of the power plant in case an earthquake breaks the 65-km-long dam that will run across the northern edge of the Gulf of Khambat.

The DAE’s site selection report was obtained by the Vadodara-based Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti through RTI. The outfit has attached it with a letter it sent to the Union Environment Ministry’s nuclear projects division on Wednesday, alleging the report’s observations had not been incorporated into the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited‘s (NPCIL) environment impact assessment (EIA) for the proposed project.

The site selection report, dated June 28, 2007, says, “It is recommended that a detailed study be conducted to examine the effect of Kalpasar dam in the upstream of NPP site on the flooding of the proposed site due to breaking of dam in the event of an earthquake of very high magnitude as the Kalpasar dam is located over deep silted fault.”

“Kalpsar project authorities propose a dam of 65 km in length and top width of 35 m across Gulf of Khambat at a distance of 18 kms north of the Chhaya (Mithi Virdi) site. This will have following effects on the nuclear power llant – sedimentation and effect on intake and outfall of the plant, flooding due to dam break and aspects of reservoir induced seismicity,” the report notes.

In another section, the report recommends a 300-km radius seismotectonic study should take into account reservoir-induced seismicity, a phenomenon in which large man-made water bodies cause earthquakes, such as at Koyna dam in Maharashtra, which caused a 6.3 magnitude earthquake in 1967.

(At least three other earthquakes of a magnitude above 6 have been caused by such water bodies worldwide, including in China (Xinfengjiang dam), Zambia (Kariba dam) and Greece (Kremasta dam).

P M Shah, chief engineer for the Mithivirdi project, told The Indian Express the EIA report did not incorporate Kalpsar because it was a study on how the project would affect the environment.

“A detailed seismotectonic study covering a radius of 300 kms is being done by the National Geophysical Research Institute, Hyderabad, while oceanography studies are being done by the Goa-headquartered National Institute of Oceanography (NIO),” Shah said.
– See more at: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/-report-raised-fears-about-proximity-of-kalpsar-dam—mithivirdi-nproject-/1110913/0#sthash.tH5wZQg6.dpuf

 

Mithivirdi project: Charges fly, MoEF seeks NPCIL reply


Indian Express, 21 April 2013

Ahmedabad In a fresh twist in the row over the proposed 6000-MW Mithivirdi nuclear power project, the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has sought a reply from the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) following allegations that the project’s Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report was prepared by a non-accredited consultant and norms for environmental public hearings were flouted.

Dr P B Rastogi, scientific director in charge of nuclear power at the MoEF, has asked the NPCIL to respond to these allegations so the ministry could take “further action”.

The project, to be located near Alang Ship-Breaking Yard in Bhavnagar district, is slated to be India’s first nuclear power plant to be built with American technology, a direct result of the Indo-US nuclear deal.

It has, however, been dogged by protests by locals and environment groups. In fact, a large number of people had walked out of the environmental public hearing held for the project last month.

Rastogi’s communication to NPCIL mentioned that Vadodara-based Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti and others had made representations concerning various issues.

Earlier, the Gujarat Pollution Control Board had asked NPCIL to clarify if the consultant, Engineers India Limited (EIL), it had hired for the project’s Environment Impact Assessment was accredited as demanded by law.

Interestingly, no consultant has been accredited to assess nuclear plants in India.

Later, others alleged discrepancies in the EIA report itself, including the absence of a rehabilitation policy, necessary clearances for diversion of forest land and radiological impact studies, all of which were required as per terms of reference issued by the MoEF.

Subsequent to the public hearing, people had also sent complaints saying procedures were not followed.

 

Mumbai Residents protest Tata Power’s modernisation plans for Trombay plant


Akshay Deshmane
Issue Date:
2013-3-14

Modernisation will increase pollution, say residents

Residents and political parties of Chembur in Mumbai have rejected Tata Power’s plans to modernise Unit 6 of its Trombay Thermal Power Station, show recently released minutes of a public hearing held in January. The company plans to convert fuel of the unit 6 of the power plant from low sulphur heavy stock/ low sulphur fuel oil (LSHS/LSFO) to low sulphur imported coal. The residents say the modernisation would lead to extreme pollution.

The Tata Power Company-owned thermal power station at Trombay has an installed capacity of 1,580 MW with five units, two coal powered, one each using oil and gas, and one a combined cycle power plant. One unit is on standby.

The minutes of the meeting, which was forcefully suspended by political parties, were compiled by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB). Seema Mahulkar, a Mahul village resident, says, “The modernisation project (has been) proposed by Tata Power due to economic constraints and to meet the power demand of Mumbai city is going to consume more coal and this will increase pollution in Chembur area. There is already effect of pollution on the health of people living in Mahul, Gawanpada, Ambapada, Trombay, Mandala and Mankhurd villages.”

Unanswered questions

Advocate Naina Pardeshi sought to highlight the violation of natural law of justice. “The environmental impact assessment (EIA) report is prepared by a Tata research institute. This is against natural justice. TCE Consulting Engineers is one of the shareholding institutes of Tata Group, which has prepared this report and thus cannot be impartial. Hence it is very essential to keep it aside,” she says, adding “Neither the present rate of electricity is given nor the details of the concession given to customers after the project is mentioned…cost of sulphur dioxide removal plant is in crores…this cost is not mentioned. Ash will be utilised for brick making and mixing in cement concrete. Where are such projects located nearby? Where will this ash be taken? What are the effects of ash if it is spilled during transportation?”

Resident Suprada Prakash Fatarfekar questioned the quality of regulation done by MPCB over pollution caused by existing industries in the vicinity. “What measures has MPCB taken for the abatement of pollution in Mahul and Ambapada villages? What measures has MPCB taken for the abetment of pollution due to HPCL and BPCL? First stop existing pollution due to these industries. I would like to tell you that vomiting and dizziness are old stories, now women are suffering from miscarriages. Who is responsible for this?” she asked.

Local member of Legislative Assembly Chandrakant Handore demands a fresh EIA report be prepared by “other well known organisations” like NEERI (National Environmental Engineering Research Institute).

Dirty fuel to replace cleaner fuels

In a separate note sent to the MPCB and the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), Debi Goenka, trustee of Conservation Action, has raised 62 queries about the EIA report prepared by the Tata Consulting Engineers and comments and suggestions on as many as 92 Terms of Reference finalised by the Expert Appraisal Committee of MoEF. The activist, who filed a case against a similar plan by the company in the Bombay High Court, said his essential allegation was against the company’s stated claim of “modernisation” itself. “Coal burning power plant technology is more than 100 years old. This does not seem to be a “modernisation” but a subterfuge to change from clean fuels such as gas and oil to a dirty fuel such as coal.”

Officials from the MPCB’s Mumbai divisional office said the ball is now in the MoEF’s court as far as clearance for the conversion is concerned. Tata Power Company Limited did not respond to all queries and allegations despite a detailed email questionnaire sent by Down To Earth.

However, company officials pointed to its position on some of the allegations, articulated in a few of the public statements made by the company. On the question of using a Tata group company for preparing the EIA report, it said, “ The EIA for the proposed modernisation plan was conducted as per the Terms of Reference approved MoEF. The study was carried out by TATA Consulting Engineers Ltd, which is an independent agency approved and accredited by Quality Council of India (QCI) NABET for conducting such studies.”

In its previous statement concerning pollution control initiatives, the company claimed to have implemented the following measures:

  • At the Trombay Thermal Power Station, environment management is one of the key focus areas. This is ensured through emission controls, fuel controls, efficiency and heat rate improvement and stringent monitoring of ambient air quality.
  • In addition to using low sulphur high calorific value imported coal, additional flue gas desulfurization (FGD) and Electrostatic Precipitators (ESP) are also being installed to conform to presently prescribed stringent SO2 emissions norm and to prevent particulate matter from escaping into the environment.
  • The ash generated and collected by the ESP will be used in ready mix concrete (RMC) to make cement bricks by infrastructure companies.
  • The dust emission during coal handling and storage within the premises will be sustainably suppressed by using recycled water, while an enclosed unloading system (screw-type unloader) will be used to minimize dust emission during unloading of coal from barges.
  • Adequate green cover around the coal yard has been developed to control fugitive dust emission during the coal handling operations. Areas around coal stock yard and coal handling unit area is developed as a shelter belts with plantation of bamboos and other species.
  • Water spraying system is installed at coal yard as well as coal berth to further control fugitive coal dust.

 


Source URL: http://www.downtoearth.org.in/content/residents-protest-tata-power-s-modernisation-plans-trombay-plant

 

Environmental Impacts of Mithivirdi Nuclear Project : A Comprehensive Critique


EIA Public hearing: NPCIL asked to do the homework well

VT Padmanabhan, R Ramesh, V Pugazhendi

No to Mithi Virdi nuclear power park – Over 5,000 women and men from 24 villages walked out from an illegal act staged in the name of environemntal public hearing by the district administration of Bhavnagar, Gujarat seeking peoples approval for construction of the Gujarat Nuclear Power Park (GNPP) in villages of Mithi Virdi and Jaspara, on 5th March 2013. The Government of India had decided to import 6 Westinghouse-Toshiba’s AP1000 (AP= Advanced Passive) reactors from USA as part of the Indo-US Nuclear Deal signed by Dr Manmohan Singh and George B Bush in 2005. The communities did not know any thing about that deal, but they came to know about the decision to locate those reactors in their villages on the coast of the Gulf of Khambhat in Saurashtra, when NPCIL started drilling operations in the community owned pasture-land in 2006. The drilling operation was terminated and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) and its agents were out-lawed by people.

India ProtestNPCIL had contracted the Engineers India Ltd (EIL) to write the environmental impact assessment report for the project. EIL sub-contracted the work to the Pragathi Labs and Consultant Private Limited (PCPL), Secunderabad, Indomer Hydraulics Ltd, Chennai (both private companies), the National Remote Sensing Centre of the Anna University Chennai and the Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History (SACON). Their 2 volume report of 800 pages was posted on the NPCIL website on 5th Feb 2013, alongwith the announcement of the public hearing to be held on 5th March, 2013. The Gram Bachao Samithi (Save the Village Commitee) spearheading the movement against the project approached the environmental groups to study the EIA and provide a critique. Accordingly, the Paryavaran Suraksha Samithi (PSS) a Gujarat based environmental organisation and members of the PMANE Expert group (People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy, Tamil Nadu) started working on this.

The village committee requested the District Collector of Bhavnagar to allow their experts to depose at the public hearing. Sarpanches /their representatives Shakti Singh, Jaspara, Dharmendra Singh, Mandva, Hira Bhai, Mithi Virdi and Prithwiraj Singh, Khadarpur and Lakhdhir Singh, Paniyali – and Bharat Bhai and Yuvaraj Singh from Uthan – an NGO working on women and water issues presented a memorandum to Mr VP Patel, the District Collector stating that EIL did not have an accredition for writing EIA for nuclear power stations. A demonstration was also held in front of the Collectorate on the same day. In a meeting between environmental activists (Shri Krishna Kant and Shri Rohit Prajapati) and Engineer AV Shah of the Pollution Control Board, it was agreed that the people’s experts will also speak in the public hearing. However, on 4th March, a day before the event, the district collector announced that only the residents within 10 km radius of the project will be allowed to speak, the “outsiders” may submit their written documents.

The expert group appointed by the Village Committee was ready with a well researched alternative EIA. Rohit had done a throguh socio-economic study of the communities with help from 10 MSW students from JC kumarappa College of Social Work. Pugal, Ramesh and VTP were ready with their report which forcussed on oceanography, geology and environment.
Accrording to the law books, an environemntal public hearing is like a court in which the Presiding officer (normally the district collector) acts as a neutral judge – with project proposers on the one side and the affected people on the other side. This neutrality was not seen at the Mithi Virdi public hearing. The background music which was played before the meeting started extolled the virtues of nuclear power and the services rendered to the nation by NPCIL and DAE. Besides the collector and PCB engineer, there were some 20 people on the dias, who were not introduced to the audience. It seems all of them were all from DAE and NPCIL. The people, their leaders and experts were to sit in different barricaded enclosures, numbered on the basis of their “distance from the hyhpocentre”. Each of these enclosures also two armed persons and a video cameraman and a screen.

After explaining the procedure, with a veield threat that this is a government business and everything is videographed, the presiding officer invited the project proponent to present the case. This ws followed by NPCIL’s power-point presentation, which started with the importance of electricity and NPCIL’s past contributions (less than one percent of the total energy consumed in India) and future dreams. The presentation was mechanical, there was no presenter. At this point, Chuni Kaka, veteran Gandhian and Shakti Singh, Chairman of Jaspura village stood up and spoke about the procedural lapses and demanded that the presentation be stopped immediately. The collector was admant and refused to intervene. The people stood up gently and started moving out of the meeting peacefully. No slogans, no disturabnce to the power-point presentation. In less than five minutes, the presentation was stopped and the collector announced that the people can speak. He was too late. In another ten minutes, there were 5000 empty chairs, few hundreds of policemen and security staff with sten guns, about videographers and about 25 men on the dias. Narrating the event at a Press Conference in Ahmedabad on 7th March, Rohit said that as law-abiding citizens, the people could not be party to an illegal act, staged by the district administration.

Several “outsiders” like Krishna Kant, Rohit Prajapathi, Anand, Michaele, Swathi, Damayanthi Modi, Bijesh, several other young people including the volunteers from nearby colleges, lived with the farmers to educate the people on the ill-effects of nuclear power. The March 5 victory at Mithi Virdi is the supreme example of the courage, unity, determination and self respect of a people who are proud food producers. The surplus fruits, vegetables and fish they harvest can be found in the food baskets of people living in towns in rest of Gujarat and elsewhere. Manu Dada, 70 year old farmer from Jaspura said that “we had carried our own food, even though we were told that food will be provided by the organizers. We do not go after free meals”.

The Alternative Environmental Impact Assessment

There are so many inaccuracies and missing data in the EIA. (Scientists do not tell lies, they only withold data, usually in the public interest or for the cause of science!) The alternative EIA written by the Peoples’ Expert Group is about 125 pages. The full report will be published soon. Some very important issues are listed briefly.

1. Nobody will be displaced by the project. No marine fisherfolk family lives in the land that will be acquired. Varshabehen, her family and several others work and live there, within the so-called exclusive zone of GNPP.

Note: The identity card of Varshaben Jesalbhai, issued by the Marine Fisheries Department, Government of India – She lives in a coastal settlement, which is in the exclusion zone of GNPP. All these families have been living permanently there, they are registered voters and have ration cards. According to EIA, (a) no family will be displaced by the project and (b) there is no fisherfolk household within the exclusive zone. Photographed on 6th Mar 2013.

2. Drilling not done

A nuclear reactor has to be built on a stable rock. In order to ensure that there is a stable continous rock under the reactor foundation, rock samples needs to be taken from 100 meters below the proposed site. No drilling has been done at the reactor site, because of peoples protests.

3. Flood Level

The ministry of environemnt and forests had demanded to conduct a study of the maximum flood level and mitigation strategies. The EIA clearly mentions that no study of flood has been undertaken.

4. Impact of the proposed mega engineering project- Kalpasar.

Kalapsar is a $ 10 billion project of Narendra Modi government, which will create a 2000 sq km freshwater lake in the Northern one-third area of the Gulf of Khambhat. A forty km dam will be constructed. There will be a road and rail line on it which will link mainland Gujarat with Saurashtra. Kalpasar Project lies just 43 km north of the Mithi Virdi NPP site. This will change the water level, tidal height and many other variable in the Souther half of the gulf. There is no mention of Kalpasar project in the EIA.

Map of GNPP and Kalpasar project

The western limb of the dam sits on the North-South trending West Cambay Basin Fault (active) that happens to pass 11 km west of the Mithi Virdi site. Dr.B.K.Rastogi, of the Institute of Seismological Research (ISR), Gandhinagar warns of a “reservoir induced earthquake because of the project.” On 21, June 2011 B N Navalawala, advisor to the Gujarat Chief Minister, said thjat “though a study was carried out to assess the impact of an earthquake measuring 8.1 on the Richter scale, the state government now has decided to carry out a study of an earthquake measuring 9.5 on the Richter scale. After the Japanese experience, a need was felt for a re-look at the whole issue.”
.
5. Tsunami from the earhquake

If an earthquake of 9.5 on Ritcher hits the Gulf of Khambhat, the tsunami waves it will cause will be higher than those experienced at Fukushima.

6. The Presence of Alang-Sosiya Ship-breaking project

The presence of hazardous industries near the nuclear project site has to be clearly shown in EIA. According to EIA, the Sosiya ship-breaking yard is 4 km from the site. The actual distance is only 700 meters. Because of this, the site is not suitable for a reactor complex. If the nuclear park comes up, nearly forty ship-breaking units will have to be closed.

7. Tidal Range of the Gulf

The tidal range at Gulf of Khambhat is the largest along the Indian coastline. It has been identified as the biggest sediment sink among the five major sediment sinks of India. Gulf of Khambhat has the highest tidal range in India. The mean tidal elevation during spring is 4.7 m at Mahuva Bandar which rises to 6.5 m at Gopnath Point and 10.2 m at Bhavnagar. The maximum spring tide recorded at Bhavnagar is 12.5 m, which is second only to that of the highest tide recorded anywhere in the world (around 17 m at the Bay of Fundy on Newfoundland coast of Canada). So one can assume the spring tide at Sosia – Mithi Viradi coast (the coast that lies between Gopnath and Bhavnagar) to be between 6.5 m and 10.5 m.

There are other unresolved questions about the safety of AP1000 reactor also. To be brief, we only mention that a 3,000,000 liter water tank is perched on top of the reactor building. Normally, these tanks are located on the groundlevel. The water tank 100 meters above the ground level can be an easy target for terrorist attack.

Our critique of Mithi Virdi EIA is based on studies conducted by the scientists of Gujarat government and reputed academic institutions in the country. The EIA presented by NPCIL should be reviewed by an independent extert committee. The project, if implemented, can lead to national disaster, whose impact will be experienced by people and the eco-system, beyond the borders of Gujarat.

Ahamedabad, dated 07 March 2013
Authors are members of the PMANE EXPERT GROUP

 

Mithi Virdi Nuclear Plant: Experts pick holes in enviornment report


DNA, Ahmedabad, 8 March 2013

Ahmedabad: Experts are already questioning the environment impact assessment (EIA) of the proposed 6000-MW nuclear power plant at Mithi Virdi in Bhavnagar prepared by Engineers India Limited. Why has the report not mentioned the water bodies present in the area where the plant is coming up? Or elaborated on the hazardous industries in its vicinity?

Speaking at a press conference in the city, Dr V Pugazhendi, who has extensively studied the impact of radiation on health, made his dissent quite clear. “It is mentioned that the plant shouldn’t be close to any water body, yet the area where the plant is coming up has two water bodies,” he said.

He said the report also fails to mention the presence of hazardous industries near the nuclear project site. “The EIA report states that the Sosiya ship breaking yard is 4 km from the site while in reality it is only 700 metres from the site,” he said. He added that nuclear plants need 100% pure water and the project plans to use a desalination plant to make use of water from the sea. “But the presence of Sosiya ship breaking yard has already polluted the water and there is evidence to show the presence of heavy metal in the water. How will the plant clean such heavily polluted water?” he asked.

Pugazhendi also said that the report failed to mention the presence of lignite mining taking place in the area. “It is sitting on the Cambay basin fault line and mining only adds to the danger,” he explained.

Also voicing their points of protests were villagers who had staged a walk-out at the environmental public hearing held earlier this week at Navagaam in connection with the project.

“Government officials are allowed to seek the advice of experts, but we are not,” said Baluben of Neshwad village, 25 km away from the proposed nuclear plant. According to Baluben, she and other villagers chose to walk out after the collector refused to allow outsiders (experts) to speak at the meeting. Close to 5,000 people had walked out of the hearing after the collector allegedly refused to let the villagers speak first.

Rohit Prajapati of Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti said that the hearing did not follow the proper rules. “There were songs being played exalting the benefits of nuclear power. This is against the rules. You cannot do such things, yet the collector was a mute spectator to this,” said Prajapati.

 

Public walk out of hearing for Mithi Virdi nuclear power project


Ankur Paliwal
down to earth
2013-3-5

Residents say public hearing was illegal and organised without a proper rehabilitation plan for the project-affected

Ankur PaliwalPhoto: Ankur Paliwal

People of villages to be affected by the proposed Mithi Virdi nuclear power project in Gujarat’s Bhavnagar district walked out of the public hearing organised for the project on Tuesday. About 24 villages within a 10 km radius of the project will be directly affected by the 6,000 MW capacity power plant, proposed to be built Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL). People of these villages wanted civil society members and experts to speak on their behalf at the public hearing, which the collector disallowed. Angered by the official’s adamant stand, residents, numbering about 5,000, staged a walkout.

The public hearing held at Navagam village was presided over by the collector of Bhavnagar, V P Patel, and organised by the Gujarat Pollution Control Board. When the collector asked NPCIL to make a presentation on the project, the sarpanch of Jaspara village (it adjoins Mithi Virdi village), Shaktisinh Gohil, stood up and intervened. He said the village residents should be allowed to speak first because the environmental impact assessment (EIA) report for the project was invalid. He further said that since the village residents were not knowledgeable or articulate enough, experts and non-profit organisations should be allowed to speak on their behalf. But the collector insisted that people who are not affected by the project can only give their representation in writing.

After leaving the public hearing venue, Gohil told gathered media persons that he had called up the collector the previous night, requesting him that activists who were well-versed with the subject be allowed to speak on behalf of the residents. “The collector told me on phone that outsiders would not be allowed to speak. The residents then decided that they would again make the request at the public hearing venue,” he said. “We walked out because the public hearing was illegal,” he said while adding that the collector’s stand was not correct because there is a Delhi High Court ruling of 2009 that states outsiders can participate in a public hearing.

The Delhi High Court order in the case of Samarth Trust and Other v Union of India & Others W.P.(C) 9317 of 2009, said: “….prima facie, that so far as a public hearing is concerned, its scope is limited and confined to those locally affected persons residing in the close proximity of the project site. However, in our opinion, the Notification does not preclude or prohibit persons not living in the close proximity of the project site from participating in the public hearing – they too are permitted to participate and express their views for or against the project.”

EIA invalid, flawed

Gohil also said that the EIA for the project is invalid as it has been prepared by a consultant (Engineers India Ltd or EIL) which is not accredited to prepare such reports for nuclear power plants.

Activists who came for the public hearing said the EIA for the project is flawed. “It (EIA report) does not have a proper resettlement and rehabilitation (R&R) plan for the project affected people, which is still in the making. How can the authorities go ahead with the public  hearing without an R&R plan?” asked Rohit Prajapati of Vadodara-based NGO, Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti. He further added that only the 24 villages directly affected by the project were invited to the public hearing, while 128 other villages that are within a 30 km radius of the project were left out.

Asked if the public hearing would be organised again in view of the public boycott, GPCB regional officer A V Shah said that board considers the consultations as concluded. He said 47 objections and representations were submitted during the scheduled time for public hearing and that these would be forwarded to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests which mandates public hearing as a pre-condition for grant of environment clearance.

Shah said that as per the public hearing notification, the project developer (NPCIL) should speak or make a presentation first. “We went by the law. If the public had objections they could have voiced them after the presentation,” he said.

With regard to engaging EIL as consultant, P M Shah, chief engineer with NPCIL, said that the firm’s application is pending with the National Accreditation Board for Education and Training (NAEBT). The board has allowed EIL to continue their work in the nuclear power sector in conjunction with Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre and NPCIL, he added.

‘Won’t part with fertile land’

The residents are opposed to giving away their land because it is very fertile. Samuben Dabhi, sarpanch of Mithi Virdi village, said that most of the farmers take three crops every year. Forty-two-year-old Ramji Bhai has 25 bighas (8.7 bighas make a hectare) of land on which he grows mango, cheeku and vegetables “I easily make Rs 7-8 lakh every year with very less input cost because of the high fertility of the land. It gives everything to me and my family to lead a happy life,” said Ramji Bhai. “Why would I give away my land when I do not need money or employment from the company?” he asked.

The sarpanch of Jaspara said residents now plan to take legal action against the authorities for conducting an illegal public hearing.


Source URL: http://www.downtoearth.org.in/content/public-walk-out-hearing-mithi-virdi-nuclear-power-project

 

GPCB did not verify envt impact of Mithi Virdi, say activists


DNA,  March 2013

Activists protesting the Environmental Public Hearing (EPH) to be conducted by Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) in connection with the 6,000 MW nuclear power plant at Mithi Virdi in Bhavnagar district met GPCB officials on Saturday.

The officials have agreed to look into their grievances. Michael Madgaonkar of Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti said that as per the judgment of Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Sanjay Karol dated May 4, 2012, of the High Court of Himachal Pradesh, GPCB is yet to verify the claims made in the project report. “However, in this case it has not bothered to cross-check the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report prepared by Engineers India Limited,” said Madgaonkar.

But, in-charge member secretary of GPCB, KC Mistry when contacted said that they had checked all the necessary documents and found them to be in order. “Nonetheless, we have decided to check the reports once again, since several activists have approached us with concerns about the environment,” said Mistry. He said that as far as canceling the EPH was concerned, it was not in the hands of the GPCB. “The GPCB does not have the authority to cancel the hearing,” reported Mistry.

Madgaonkar, meanwhile, said that if the GPCB and the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) did not pay heed to the grave concerns raised in connection with the nuclear plant, they may be forced to go to court. “If nothing is done, we are mulling legal action against both the GPCB and MoEF,” he insisted.

It should be noted that the NGO has already written several letters to the MoEF and the prime minister in this connection. They have also highlighted the lack of a detailed risk assessment and disaster management plan in the EIA report. The activists have alleged that the EIA report only mentions the need to include such a plan but does not provide a blueprint of the plan, which they consider important

 

Press Release- Letter to MoEF Immediately cancel the Environmental Public Hearing #mustshare


Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti

c/o 37 Patrakar Colony, Tandalja, Vadodara 390 020, Phone/Fax: 0265-2320399

Email: tokrishnakant@gmail.comrohit.prajapati@gmailc.om

BY Email & FAX

Most Urgent – Most Urgent – Most Urgent

27 February 2013

To,

Smt. Jayanthi Natarajan

Minister of State for Environment and Forests

Paryavaran Bhavan, CGO Complex, Lodhi Road, New Delhi – 110 003

 

The Secretary

Ministry of Environment & Forests, Government of India
Paryavaran Bhavan, CGO Complex,  Lodhi Road, New Delhi – 110 003.

 

The Chairman

Central Pollution Control Board

Parivesh Bhawan, CBD-cum-Office Complex, East Arjun Nagar, DELHI – 110 032

 

The Member Secretary

Central Pollution Control Board

Parivesh Bhawan, CBD-cum-Office Complex, East Arjun Nagar, DELHI – 110 032

 

The Zonal Officer

Central Pollution Control Board

Parivesh Bhawan, Opp. VMC Ward Office No. 10, Subhanpura,

Vadodara – 390 023

 

The Chairman

Gujarat Pollution Control Board

“Paryavaran Bhavan” Sector 10-A, Gandhinagar – 382 010

 

The Member Secretary

Gujarat Pollution Control Board

“Paryavaran Bhavan” Sector 10-A, Gandhinagar – 382 010

 

The Regional Officer

Gujarat Pollution Control Board

Plot No. 1154/2, B, Ghogha Circle,

Pattani Road, Bhavnagar – 364 002

 

The Chairman / The Collector

Environment Public Hearing Committee of Bhavnagar

 

Subject: Following serious anomalies in the EIA report for the Mithi Virdi Nuclear Power Plant prepared by Engineers India Limited, request to immediately cancel the Environmental Public Hearing.

 

Reference: Our letter dated 22 February 2013 – Demand to cancel the scheduled Environmental Public Hearing as well as rejection of the EIA report of the Mithi Virdi Nuclear Power Plant prepared by ‘Engineers India Limited’ consultants for ‘Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited.’ Engineers India Limited do not have necessary accreditation.

Madam/ Sirs,

This follows our earlier representation dated February 22, 2013 pointing out how an un-accredited consultant, Engineers India Limited(EIL) was appointed by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited to prepare the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report for proposed 6000 MW Nuclear Power Plant at Mithi Virdi area of Bhavnagar district, Gujarat.  While we seek the cancellation of the public hearing for the plant, we bring to your notice serious anomalies which have come to fore.

First, the Terms of Reference for the MoEF at point no. 7 clearly mention that The study area should cover an area of 10 km radius around the proposed site for conventional pollutants and 30 km radius for radiological parameters.” Instead the EIA report categorically mentions that 30 Kms for radiological areas of the study will be undertaken in future, the radiological survey is yet to be carried out for 30 Kms area and have not been carried out as stipulated by MoEF in the Terms Of Reference (TOR).

But this has been clearly violated. No villager/village panchayat in the 10-30 kms radius has been informed or served notice for the public hearing as the rules stipulate by the concerned authorities.

The EIA report clearly states that the study has been done only within 10 km radius and it is in future further studies will be conducted. The report itself mentions:

Page 283

“Areas Surveyed

Radiological survey will be done up to a radial distance of 30 km around the plant. Generally, samples from various environmental matrices will be collected from the survey area. The indicator organism like goat thyroid will be collected from selected area (as per the requirements of AERB). Different types of samples will be collected from the terrestrial and aquatic environs of the 30km study area covering, soil, cereals, pulses and vegetation samples. Typically around 1000 samples will be collected and analysed every year. List of sampling locations, frequency of sampling and different types of samples to be monitored during post project period in different area will be worked out as per the requirements of AERB.

Page 383

“11.1.3 MONITORING RADIOLOGICAL PARAMETERS AROUND MITHIVIRDI

Comprehensive radiological survey will be conducted by Health Physics Division (HPD) of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in the zone of radial distance of 30 km and the same will be continued till the life of Mithivirdi NPP for monitoring of radiation impacts and to establish that the radiation dose, in the public domain are within the prescribed limits of AERB.

Thirdly, the EIA report mentions that a detail of the de-commissioning of the plant is explained in the section 4.3.11 of Chapter 4, as stipulated.

But there is no section 4.3.11 in the Chapter 4 of the EIA report and the sections are only upto section 4.3.10. We understand that the said details have not been gathered and the study remains incomplete as there is no mention of that in the EIA report.

Sr. No. TOR of MoEF TOR Compliance Our contention
7 The study area should cover an area of 10 km radius around the proposed site for conventional pollutants and 30 km radius for radiological parameters Study on conventional pollutants  covered in  Section 3.4 of Chapter – 3 & Study on radiological parameters covered in  Section 3.5.11  of Chapter – 3 of EIA report The study is incomplete, villages in the area 10-30 kms not notified about public hearing.
35 Issues relating to de-commissioning of the plant and the related environmental issues should be discussed De-commissioning of the plant is explained in  Section 4.3.11 of Chapter – 4 The study is incomplete, section mentioned is not in the report.

 

We demand that:

  1. The concerned authority should immediately cancel the EPH as EIA is incomplete.
  2. The concerned authority should immediately reject the EIA of Mithi Virdi Nuclear Power Plant of NPCIL prepared by EIL as EIA is incomplete.
  3. The concerned authority should apologise to the people of Gujarat for such a grave mistake allowing EPH on an illegal and incomplete EIA.
  4. The concerned authority should pass stricture against NPCIL and consultant EIL for such an illegal action on their part.

 

Expecting your positive and prompt response.

Krishnakant        Rohit Prajapati          Swati Desai
Activists
Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti

 

 

#India-Kudankulam nuclear power plant on shaky legal ground


November 5, 2012

    D. Nagasaila
    V. Suresh, The Hindu
File photo shows the two reactors of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP) in Tirunelveli district.
PTI File photo shows the two reactors of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP) in Tirunelveli district.

Violations of Coastal Regulation Zone and Environmental Impact Assessment notifications make official claims questionable

The debate over nuclear energy will go on, but the issue with the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP) is one of the several illegalities on which it is founded.

In 1988, India inked the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant deal with the former Soviet Union. Two key elements in it were: the highly dangerous and toxic “Spent Nuclear Fuel” (SNF) would be shipped back to the Soviet Union; and the massive volumes of fresh water required to cool the plant would be supplied from Pechiparai dam, in Kanyakumari district, Tamil Nadu. The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) formally granted approval on May 9, 1989 on this basis. But there was no further progress until 1997.

In 1997, India signed another agreement, this time with Russia, to revive the KKNPP.

Untenable

Between 1989 and 1997, the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) and Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notifications were issued in 1991 and 1994 mandating compulsory clearances by environmental regulators before any new plant could be set up.

The CRZ prohibited all industrial activity within 500 metres of the high tide line. The only exception to this was industries and projects of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) directly requiring waterfront or foreshore facilities. The KKNPP today claims exemption from CRZ notification. This is untenable. The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL), which set up the KKNPP, is registered under the Companies Act as a commercial venture to engage in the business of power projects and “… to enter into partnerships with any person, including private entity or any foreign investing entity.” The NPCIL-KKNPP is thus, under law, only a “Company” and not a project of the DAE. The Supreme Court has consistently held that government departments are distinct from government companies. Further, merely because it draws seawater, it does not become an industry requiring waterfront facilities as per the decision of the Supreme Court in the shrimp farming case. Thus the KKNPP is not exempted from CRZ and the plant has been built in violation of the CRZ notification.

The EIA notification stipulated that for notified industries, environmental clearance is mandatory for new projects or expansion or modernisation of existing ones. Nuclear power is a notified industry and as per EIA notification, an EIA report must be prepared and made public. A public hearing should be conducted to record objections. The entire record would be considered by an independent “Expert Appraisal Committee” before environmental clearance is granted. Clearances are valid for five years. If the project does not commence within the five-year period, then fresh clearances will have to be obtained after fresh public hearings.

The NPCIL, the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) and the MoEF all claim that the EIA notification is not applicable to KKNPP as it has obtained clearance in 1989. Is this claim valid? An explanatory note to the EIA notification says that in respect of existing projects as of 1994 (the year when the EIA notification was promulgated) only those which have completed the land acquisition process and which have obtained the “Consent to Establish” from the State Pollution Control Boards are exempt. The KKNPP has not even applied for “Consent to Establish” from the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board; nor was the land acquisition process completed.

Hence the repeated assertions of exemption from environmental regulations are untenable and seriously compromise environmental safety. The NPCIL started construction work only in 2001. More than 12 years had gone by since the grant of approval in 1989.

Two significant changes

There were two significant changes to the project. The first was that, contrary to the original proposal to ship out the SNF to Russia, the highly radioactive SNF from the nuclear power plant was to be stored, transported and reprocessed within India.

The second change was equally major: the freshwater requirement was now to be met by the construction of six desalination plants instead of sending piped water from Pechiparai dam. The environmental impact of the desalination plant on coastal ecology and marine life are serious concerns with implications for the livelihoods of the fishing community.

The environmental impact of storage, transportation and reprocessing of spent fuel as well as the impact of six desalination plants on marine ecology were not assessed at the time of initial clearance, and not since.

After launch of construction, the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) prepared an EIA report in 2003. Even in this report the environmental impact of spent fuel and desalination plants was not assessed. It is important to note that generally for all EIAs the baseline data on air, water, flora and fauna in and around the proposed plant are vital to assess the likely impact of the plant on them.

In the EIA for plants three to six, NEERI used baseline data from the Coast of Travancore on the west coast though the KKNPP is located in the east. The NEERI concluded that the heat from the coolant water from the KKNPP on the east will not affect marine life on the west coast, although it doesn’t require scientific expertise to arrive at such a conclusion.

The NPCIL and the AERB (the MoEF also agrees) put forward the erroneous proposition that spent fuel is no issue at all; it is actually an asset; it can be safely stored at the plant site for five years, then safely transported and reprocessed safely in a facility at a location which is yet to be decided. What is the supporting material for this assertion? Nothing.

In the U.S., Japan

No country has ever been able to reprocess more than a third of spent fuel. Even that involves significant quantities of High Level Waste which is equally radioactive and has to be stored.

In the United States, licences for nuclear power plants have been subject to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) assurance in 1984 that a permanent storage by way of a geological repository would be available for all SNF by 2007-09 and spent fuel can be safely stored on site at the plants until then. In 1990 the deadline was extended to 2025. In December 2010, it was revised to conclude that a suitable repository will be available “when necessary” and in the meantime the spent fuel can be stored safely on site. This ruling was challenged before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. In “State of New York, et. al., vs Nuclear Regulatory Commission and USA” the court ruled that spent nuclear fuel “poses a dangerous, long-term health and environmental risk.” It will remain dangerous “for time spans seemingly beyond human comprehension.” The court struck down the NRC’s ruling on two grounds. First, in concluding that permanent storage will be available “when necessary,” the commission did not calculate the environmental effects of failing to secure permanent storage — a possibility that cannot be ignored. Second, in determining that spent fuel can be safely stored on site at nuclear plants for 60 years after the expiration of a plant’s licence, the commission failed to properly examine future dangers and key consequences. In other words, no EIA was done by the NRC before coming to such a conclusion.

The real lesson from Fukushima is not merely on improved technical safeguards at plants from tsunamis and earthquakes. The “Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission” appointed by the Japanese Parliament warned that the disaster was man-made. The commission found that it was the government of Japan’s single-minded pursuit of nuclear power which resulted in collusion between the government, the regulators and the plant operator, TEPCO — leading to the practice of resisting regulatory measures and covering up violations.

(The writers are advocates. V. Suresh is also National General Secretary, PUCL. Email: rightstn@gmail.com)

 

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