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


PRESS RELEASE – The Koodankulam Mystery : Russian Officials’ Anxiety

People’s Movemenmt Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE)

Idinthakarai 627 104
Tirunelveli District
Mobile: 9842154073, 9865683735
Email: koodankulam@yahoo.com                                                      For Immediate Release
May 24, 2013
The Koodankulam Mystery : Russian Officials’ Anxiety
The periodic interventions of the Russian diplomats in India in defense of the Indian nuclear authorities are very intriguing and puzzling. Lauding the Tamil Nadu government’s decision on the Koodankulam nuclear power project (KKNPP) as “correct” but “long overdue,” the Russian Ambassador to India, Mr. Alexander M. Kadakin, said in March 2012: “From October to March, it is not Russia, it was India which was losing $1 million a day. Can we welcome the loss of the money that Indian people had put aside for construction?”
But the Russian ambassador did not explain how that loss exactly happened, or what his involvement in the Koodankulam transaction was, or how he calculated that $1 million loss per day. Most importantly, who was he to do the calculation? Though Mr. Kadakin was in close touch with the Indian government on the KKNPP issue, he said in February 2012 that he had not contacted the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu saying “It may look a bit odd. I don’t like to bypass the Centre.”
Throwing all the diplomatic norms and values to the wind, Mr. Kadakin has been interfering in the internal affairs of our country. He commented in an interview in March 2012: “We have been suspecting it all along, and, I was openly saying this, because it was very strange. Six months after the Fukushima tragedy, all those protesters raise their voices. They were sleeping for six months, and then, all of sudden, they raise their voices against the most secure, the best and the safest (nuclear power) station in the world.” He added further: “We were perplexed, but now we stand vindicated.” Without directly naming the United States, Mr. Kadakin said some strategic friends of India who were not doing anything for its energy sector, did not like the idea of India becoming strong, and therefore, were stalling the Kudankulam project through proxies (Business Line, March 26, 2012).
A year later in February 2013, Mr. Kadakin said, “I think these (protests) are sponsored. They work in such a way that when money ends they stop and when they get another portion of money they resume their protests.” He asserted: “Yes, there are NGOs from outside who are feeding these protest organisation. India is a democratic country, people are free to protest if they feel some danger is coming.”
In May 2013, the Russian Ambassador accused anti-nuclear protesters of “playing games” as India moves to launch the country’s biggest nuclear power project. He said: “The unit number one is almost ready and second one will be ready within six months. But as regards pressure from protesters and from other people, these are all gimmicks and games. The games by those who don’t want to see India strong, who don’t want India and Tamil Nadu to have really much (needed) power.”
Mr. Kadakin had said “[Koodankulam] is the safest nuclear unit in the world which has been recognised by specialists and scientists in the West and the East.” If it is indeed the safest plant, why aren’t the Russians willing to offer any liability whatsoever? In December 2012, however, Mr.Kadakin said that negotiations on issues relating to civil nuclear liability law were still going on and stressed that if India insisted on liability, the price of Kudankulam units III and IV would go up. According to him, the two units were “grandsons of the original agreement” on Kudankulam units I and II which came into effect much before the civil nuclear liability law.
Joining the fray with his Ambassador, Mr. Nikolay Listopadov, the Russian Consul General in south India, has assured full commitment to all the Koodankulam units and said “the ties in this regard between the two nations…were guided by mutual interest” (The New Indian Express, May 19, 2013). What indeed is the “mutual interest” that tends to work up the Russian officials in India? Why are the Russian officials nervous about the Koodankulam project and want an immediate commissioning? What are they trying to hide? Who are they trying to protect? The inter-governmental skeletons will start tumbling out of the Koodankulam closet one by one soon.
The Struggle Committee


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.


KNPP Commissioning Postponed

English: Construction site of the Koodankulam ...

English: Construction site of the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant Deutsch: Baustelle des Kernkraftwerks Kudankulam (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



CHENNAI | MAY 15, 2013


Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd has postponed the expected date of commissioning of the first unit of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant to next month.

With a physical progress completed upto 99.66 per cent, the 1,000 MW first unit is expected to be commissioned next month, NPCIL website said.

Earlier, NPCIL expected it to be commissioned by this month.

NPCIL is building two 1,000 MW VVER nuclear power units with Russian collaboration at Kudankulam in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu.

The Supreme Court had on May 6 cleared hurdles in commissioning of the controversial plant, saying that the safety and security requirements have been taken care of and the project would benefit larger public interest.

The project has missed several deadlines since December last year following protests by locals over safety concerns.





Koodankulam: THE HINDU’s Bias Stands Exposed #Censorship #Medua


newspapers-biasWhile the THE HINDU newspaper gave 2 full pages for Dr. Abdul Kalam’s justification of the Koodankulam project, it maintained a complete silence on the revelation about vulnerability of equipments in Koodankulam and the corruption of the Russian supplier, despite the issue being flagged by the former chief of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board Dr. A Gopalakrishnan himself.Below is an email conversation between Shri M G Devasahayam, the former IAS and Convener of the independent expert committee on Koodankulam and A S Paneerselvam, the Readers’ Editor of THE HINDU. This conversation happened in the context of a recent column by Mr. Paneerselvam titled From Cynicism to Trust.

The response by the Readers’ Editor reveals the self-righteousness of this prominent media house and the newspaper’s bias. Here is the full correspondence:

Mr. Devasahayam’s Letter to Mr. Paneerselvam: April 12, 2013

The Readers’ Editor

I have been a regular and avid Reader of THE HINDU for several decades and therefore has a right and duty to write this letter that has specific reference to what you wrote in your column ‘From cynicism to trust’ on 08 April 2013.

Suggesting that the Newspaper is ‘Living its Values’ just because it did not endorse statements by some advertisers is indeed far fetched after carrying the advertisements itself on full front-page, which is a commercial practise in violation of editorial ‘values and codes’.

Furthermore, giving huge news and edit-page space almost every day to one individual just because he is in a position of power is certainly not maintaining high editorial standards, particularly so because most of these appear to be egotistic, highly opinionated and loaded with hypocrisy. For instance yesterday’s (09 April) edit-page promotional article on a borrowed idea from US for setting up ‘Court of the Last Resort’ is harebrained to say the least written by an elite arm-chair critic who has no relationship with ground realities and has always sat on a pedestal having no concern for the pathetic victims of the heartless justice system till this worthy was upbraided for suo motto pleading for the pardon of highly-connected, super-rich Sanjay Dutt who actually was given a mild punishment compared to the offences he had committed.

While on the subject I would like to state that in the run up to the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections in 2011 some of us including two former Chief Election Commissioners, Chief Electoral Officers, senior civil servants, advocates and activists had initiated and pursued a movement for Electoral Integrity with the purpose of reining in money-muscle power in elections and went to grass-root levels addressing hall meetings and large groups of students in colleges. We also worked closely with Election Commission of India. Your Newspaper hardly took notice of it except for some odd reports that too emanating from the mofussil towns. We want to revive it now for the forthcoming Parliament elections, but are not sure of any media support for this initiative that can combat the ‘mother of all corruption’. I don’t think THE HINDU will even consider publishing an edit-page article on this subject if I write it!

Much more than publishing self-conceited opinions, what is important for the Readers is fair and unbiased understanding of burning current issues. In this I am afraid THE HINDU is wanting. There are severe flaws in the impartial / unbiased / objective reporting of current issues as well as selecting and publishing edit-page and op-ed articles. The Newspaper is also exhibiting reluctance in reporting mal-governance in Tamil Nadu while writing about these from other parts of the country. THE HINDU has also not observed the core values of fairness and impartiality in reporting on issues that vitally affect the sentiment, honour, life and livelihood of vast sections of the Tamil People who have been nurturing and sustaining the Newspaper for over a century. Though there are many I will confine myself to just three instances:

1. Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant: Coverage by the Newspaper of the long people’s struggle against KKNPP, which is being suppressed and oppressed through draconian measures like sedition/treason laws, Goondas Act, curfew, lathi-charge and tear-gas has been perfunctory and heavily loaded in favour of the state despite the fact that all environmental and safety norms and rules have been blatantly violated in the setting up of the plant and presently there are huge safety issues involved in the desperate attempts by the nuclear establishment to commission the plant through bluff and bluster.

Hearing a Special Leave Petition on this issue, Supreme Court in October/November 2012 had made a pointed observation: “We are concerned more about people’s safety than the money spent on the project.” As if to reinforce this concern Dr. A. Gopalakrishnan, doyen of India’s nuclear establishment and former Chairman, Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) has categorically stated that the plant is not safe because sub-standard material has been used in the construction of the nuclear reactor itself and many critical types of equipment are suspect. He strongly demanded an immediate investigation by an independent experts group into the safety of KKNPP as it was Podolsk, the Russian company whose CEO was arrested for corruption, that had supplied the components for the reactor. He also said that China, where similar equipments have been supplied has already started inspecting the quality of its nuclear reactors and India too should do so without delay. This and many other things he said at a press interaction in this very city on 06 April 2013.

From what Dr. Gopalakrishnan said, as a corruption and non-transparency scandal nuclear-power in general and KKNPP in particular are far bigger and more serious than that of CWG, 2G Spectrum, Coalgate or Augusta Westland because it has direct and serious bearing on the life, safety and livelihood of millions of people. Yet THE HINDU completely blacked out this very important news event that happened right in Chennai and instead gave space to irrelevant and banal issues. This has deprived the public of getting to know an expert view on this vital matter that could have helped them to arrive at an informed opinion. This has violated the basic editorial code of the ‘right of the readers to know differing views’!

On the other hand the insincere assurances given by the Prime Minister to the President of a foreign country, vague and empty words repeatedly spoken by Mr. Narayanaswamy, and evasive statements made by NPCIL/AEC/AERB officials are given huge importance. Recently the sales-pitch made by a Russian engineer Y N Dudkin that ‘Kudankulam reactors are safest in the world’ was given fulsome and prominent coverage as if it was ‘Gospel truth’. So were all the earlier articles written (one more than half-page) and statements issued by the nuclear-illiterate APJ Abdul Kalam. Is this the kind of ‘independence’ the Newspaper boasts of?

On this burning issue that has been suppressed by your Newspaper you may read these Links:

2. Sri Lankan Tamils Issue: The anti-Sri Lankan Tamil stance taken by THE HINDU is so well known and talked about with revulsion that nothing more need to be said. But one bitter truth is that on this issue, that has huge bearing on the honour and dignity of Tamils as a race, the prejudiced and single-tracked position taken by your Newspaper without giving space to any counter-view is an insult to the institution’s hoary 134-year-old history with the legacy – liberty, justice and human rights – of its distinguished founders.

3. Coverage of the Tamil Nadu power crisis: Despite the fact that the crisis has been going on for years, basically due to gross mismanagement and rent-seeking, not once did the Newspaper highlight these maladies and offered viable and workable solutions available if only they were sought for. Instead the Newspaper has been content with some odd crisis-reporting and publishing long-winded handouts containing wrong diagnosis and false information thereby misleading the gullible public.

As I understand, the function of Reader’s Editor is to collect, consider, investigate, respond to, and where appropriate come to a conclusion about readers’ comments, concerns and complaints in a prompt and timely manner, from a position of independence within the paper.

According to the terms of reference the Readers’ Editor of The Hindu is a Board of Directors appointment. “He is independent of the Editor, the editorial personnel, and the editorial process. The key objectives of the appointment are to instititionalise the practise of self-regulation, accountability, and transparency; to create a new visible framework to improve accuracy, verification, and standards in the newspaper; and to strengthen bonds between the newspaper and its millions of print platform and online readers.”

Accepting the appointment as Readers’ Editor, you had said: “The efficacy and credibility of self-regulation depends on a robust autonomous system of redress. The Readers’ Editor’s Terms of Reference provide a clear mechanism to ensure accountability of the editorial team to its readers; and to retain and enhance readers’ trust in the newspaper. I will strive to do my best to be an effective interface between The Hindu’s readers and the 134-year-old institution.”

The credibility of this century-plus institution is at stake and it is time for you to do your duty as per your calling. Mine may be a small and insignificant voice. But if it is not heeded promptly it may not take long for this to resonate far and wide.

Awaiting appropriate action and early response.

Yours Truly,


Mr. Paneerselvam’s Letter to Mr. Devasahayam: April 10, 2013

Dear Mr. Devasahayam,

I appreciate your efforts to express your opinion of the paper in general and my role in particular. There seems to be conflation of few issues in your mail, and this response is to disaggregate these and address each one of them based on their own merits.

1) Carrying jacket advertisements is not a violation of the values and codes. In fact, the article 6 of Living our Values says this very clearly: The Company recognises that good journalism cannot survive, develop, and flourish unless it is viable and commercially successful. Fair business practices are vital. What I said in my column was the paper’s commitment to resist the power of advertisers in resorting to unfair practices. Can you honestly point out another media outlet which has maintained such high standards? Of course, you have every right to differ from the stand taken by the paper on some crucial issues.

2) Your opinion on Justice Katju’s piece need not necessarily reflect the opinion of others. And, the opinion articles need not necessarily reflect the opinion of the paper.Your opinion is valid as much as Katju’s opinion. After all the newspaper is site for democratic debate.

3) On Nuclear power and Sri Lankan Tamil issues, I do see both change and continuity in the paper’s position over the time. The areas of continuity are: 1)Nuclear power remains an option for addressing the energy needs of the country, 2) Sri Lanka’s territorial integrity shall not be disturbed. The areas where the change has taken place are: 1)report on the protest against the nuclear power, give space to critical voices. (See M V Ramana’s book review yesterday and the space given for it). 2) constantly flag the failings of the Sri Lankan state both on the political front as well as the post war reconciliation front. It will be unfair on my part not to acknowledge these changes though these may not satisfy some who have a strong opinion on these matters. My personal opinion on nuclear establishment is well known but I do not expect that to be the opinion of the paper.

My personal working credo as the readers’ editor is to recognise that there are many points of convergence as much as points of divergence between the newspaper and its myriad readers and not to be torpedoed by ideological prism.

I do share the readers opinion to the editorial and the editorial’s stand point to readers on a regular basis so that one can know exactly where the paper stands on various issues. I do get much more strident criticisms from the Hindutva brigade. I do not expect the paper to soften its stand on secularism. The same principle extends to other issues too.

Hope I have explained my role rather clearly.



[A S Paneerselvam, Readers’ Editor, THE HINDU]

Mr. Devasahayam’s Letter to Mr. Paneerselvam: April 12, 2013

Dear Mr. Panneerselvam,

I have pondered over your rapid-fire response and was wondering whether it would be of any use to waste time on these interchanges when the mind-set of the Newspaper management in general and Reader’s Editor in particular appear to have been hermetically sealed with a preset agenda on most burning public issues. Hence the delay. Nevertheless I thought I should write because as they say ‘silence is consent’.

First to the jet-speed reply: Email containing my letter was sent at 10.34 AM on 10 April 2013 and your reply was received by me in exactly 52 minutes at 11.26 AM. Conceding that you received and read my mail instantly, in all of 52 minutes you had collected information on the major issues raised by me, considered them carefully, investigated into the factual veracity of the issues raised, came to a conclusion about my comments, concerns and complaints and responded to me ‘from a position of independence within the paper’ trashing all the points I had raised. Indeed, a fabulously efficient way of treating your Readers as interlopers and riff-raffs.

Your instant reply to my detailed well-deliberated letter, indicates that you have not given even scant attention to its contents. As the Readers’ Editor of The Hindu, you were expected to institutionalise the practise of self-regulation, accountability and transparency; and to ‘strengthen the bonds between the newspaper and its millions of Readers’.

Your vague response does not indicate that you are in a position of independence within the paper to strengthen the bonds between the readers and the paper. On the contrary, yours is an attempt to rationalise the one-sided coverage and blacking out of news relevant to the readers but may not be in the interest of the ruling regimes in the centre, the state and in some other country!

For instance Dr. Gopalakrishnan’s expert view was not on the desirability or undesirability of nuclear energy. Though he is a pro-nuclear man he had clearly highlighted the fact that Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant is unsafe in its present form because sub-standard material has been used in the reactor and quality of many key equipments are suspect. He was of the considered view that commissioning the plant under these circumstances could in all likelihood lead to accidents if not immediately, at least in the near future resulting in major disaster for the life and livelihoods of millions. Is it not the duty and responsibility of THE HINDU to report this view of one of the top most nuclear experts in the country so that your Readers know of the truth and the project proponents also can respond appropriately to clear the air of all doubt and suspicion.

Heaven forbid, if something untoward happens after the subservient nuclear establishment, which is under immense Russian and PMO pressure to commission the plant goes ahead at any cost, will not THE HINDU and other media that deliberately blacked-out this news be not accused of suppressing the truth? In the event it is inappropriate to equate this to giving space to M V Ramana’s book review which is a scholarly work whereas what Dr. Gopalakrishnan did was to warn of clear danger.

On accepting the onerous responsibility of Readers’ Editor, you yourself wrote: “The efficacy and credibility of self-regulation depends on a robust, autonomous system of redress.” What happened to those brave words?

Your own position on the Sri Lankan Tamil issue is well known. Did not your conscience prick when the Editor gave such prominence to Kusal Perera’s article on the op-ed page and denied space for my well-reasoned counter? My response did not challenge Sri Lanka’s territorial integrity because that was not the issue here. Yes indeed, there is real good continuity in what your Newspaper has been doing on the SL Tamil issue. Perhaps despite your good intentions and inside knowledge you are unable to break this continuity!

In passing all I would request is that after being captive to several interests please do not preach us about ‘Living our Values’, which your 134-year-old institution with a hoary past is certainly not adhering to.



Mr. Paneerselvam’s Letter to Mr. Devasahayam: April 12, 2013

Dear Mr. Devasahayam,

I feel really sad that you have drawn a different set of conclusions from my sincere effort to promptly address your concerns. If someone is familiar about the subject, does it really warrant a long duration to ponder and respond to queries? I beg to differ. The two issues you had touched–Nuclear and Sri Lankan Tamil– have a very strong emotive elements.

My role as the readers’ editor is not that of a pre-censor, but a post-publication evaluator. As a former IAS officer, I believe that you will appreciate that to make my role to be effective it not just enough to be truly independent and bold but also not to overreach. Some of your complaints are about the editorial policy, which is defined by the editor and his editorial team, really fall under the category of overreach for a readers’ editor. I can explain their policy but cannot interfere with it. I believe it is vital to support the independence of the editorial. The acid test for this is how I conduct myself when the paper’s opinion is different from my own. Can I exhibit the same level of tolerance when articles that are opposed to my views appear in print? Can I expect from our political leadership and the corporate houses to be tolerant if I do not posses the same?

I do not expect the paper to share my world view on all issues but that does not mean I can work for any publication in the country. The shared positions between the Hindu and myself outweighs my differences with the publication. The shared areas are: steadfast commitment to secularism, democratic values, to take the difficulties faced by poor and marginalised and finally a fine balance between public interest and what public is interested in.

I generally refrain from expounding on my personal political understanding as I believe they are evident in my writings as a journalist. I am also very, very clear that my views, ideology and politics, will not colour my role as the Readers’ Editor. This explanatory note is primarily because I value your work on JP and the Emergency, your personal contribution to his well-being during his days of arrest under your charge in Chandigarh. I think my strength lies in not conflating issues, but in my ability to disaggregate and see each one of them in their own light.

We can agree to disagree.

A S Panneerselvan

Mr. Mr. Devasahayam’ Letter to Paneerselvam’s: April 14, 2013

Dear Mr. Pannerselvam,

Thanks for your prompt response. You have really been candid and I appreciate that. Under the circumstances there is nothing more to write except reproducing a letter received from PMANE, Struggle Committee, a short while ego which is self explanatory. The inference in the letter (in bold/large letters) is foreboding and ominous and clearly reflect the kind of coverage by THE HINDU in this extremely sensitive matter that has bearing on the lives and livelihoods of millions.

I have said what has to be said and if it is not heeded it is the Newspaper’s burden.




V Narayanasamy: A Failed Astrologer in the PMO

Industry and Lobbies, Media and Censorship
Nityanand Jayaraman

Nityanand Jayaraman is an environmental researcher and activist based in Chennai.

Editor’s note: Nityanand Jayaraman compiled news mentions of Narayanasamy’s now famous predictions about Koodankulam. He ran out of patience around October, and stopped collecting them. The idea was to nominate him for a Guiness award. Here is the entry for DiaNuke.org:

Astrologer with the highest number of failed predictions about a single event

This is an entry for India’s Minister of State for Prime Minister’s Office Mr. V. Narayanasamy as a record breaker for the largest number of failed predictions on the date of commissioning of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant in Tamil Nadu. On at least 14 different occasions, Mr. Narayanasamy has predicted the imminent commissioning of the reactor. On all 14 occasions, his predictions did not materialise. Mr. Narayanasamy has continued to make such failed predictions without fear of earning the ridicule of people or the wrath of the judiciary. People protesting against the nuclear plant have referred to Mr. Narayanasamy’s periodic statements as a “weekend-comedy” while the Madras High Court failed to see anything funny in such predictions when the matter was being deliberated in court. Mr. Narayanasamy is the only individual who has the distinction of so many failed prophesies. The Department of Atomic Energy of the Government of India may be the only other contender who comes anywhere close to competing with the Minister. The DAE has been saying from as early as 1962 that nuclear power is India’s future, and that India will have 20,000 MW of nuclear power by 1987. This figure has periodically been reduced, increased and repeated ad nauseum. But as things stand, only 4780 MW of nuclear power has been installed, despite the fact that none of these pre-Fukushima nuclear programs invited any serious resistance from uninformed local people.

1. October 19, 2012
Kudankulam will open this financial year: Narayanasamy

2. September 22, 2012
Centre Committed for Early Commissioning of Plant: Narayanasamy

3. August 24, 2012
Kudankulam Unit 1 in advanced stage: Narayanasamy’s statement to Rajya Sabha

4. August 10, 2012
Criticality by August 2012 and commercial production by October 2012

5. July 24, 2012
Plant likely to be commissioned on August 25

6. June 13, 2012
Kudankulam work progressing apace: Can be commissioned 30-40 days from AERB approval

7. June 1, 2012
Trial run with enriched uranium to begin in 10 days: Narayanasamy

8. April 23, 2012
Kudankulam Nuclear Plant to be Commissioned in 40 days (PTI news story): Narayanasamy

9. April 7, 2012:
Narayanasamy seeks blessings of Madurai Meenakshi and Lord Sundareshwarar for smooth commissioning of Kudankulam plant, and removal of all obstacles. Confident that it will be commissioned in 2 months.

10. March 21, 2012
Koodankulam Plant to be commissioned in 2 months: Narayanasamy

11. March 3, 2012
Centre hopeful of opening K-plant very soon: Narayanasamy

12. February 26, 2012
Koodankulam to be operational at the earliest: Narayasamy

13. January 14, 2012
Nuke plant to be commissioned soon: Narayanasamy
14. October 18, 2010
Unstarred question in Rajya Sabha No. 933
Criticality and Power testing in Kudankulam 1 by December 2010


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.”




Kudankulam nuclear power project cost up 14%

Construction began in Sept 2001 with estimated cost at Rs 13,600 cr; expenditure on the project at Rs 15,454 cr till Jan 2013

 Economy & Policy » News » News

BS Reporter  |  Chennai  March 21, 2013

The delay in commissioning of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP) has pushed the project cost up around 14 per cent. When construction began in September 2001, the government had joined hands with Russia for the project, which was then expected to cost Rs 13,600 crore. But according to the government, till January 2013, expenditure on KNPP was Rs 15,454 crore.

Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office V Narayanasamy said, the expenditure on Kudankulam Project (KKNPP Units 1&2 – 2 x 1000 Mw) till January 2013 had been Rs 15,454 crore and efforts were being made to commission the first unit in May this year. It may be noted that the project was supposed to go on stream in Sept 2007.

KNPP is in the coastal village of Kudankulam in Tirunelveli district, 650 km south of Chennai. An inter-governmental agreement for the project was signed in Nov 1988 by then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and erstwhile Soviet Union’s President Mikhail Gorbachev, for construction of two reactors.

However, the project was in a limbo for a decade due to the political and economic upheaval in Russia after the post-1991 breakup of the Soviet Union. There were also objections from the United States on the grounds that the agreement does not meet the 1992 terms of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

Then, the construction began only in September 2001 and the cost was estimated to be $3 billion (around Rs 13,600 crore).

In a statement to the Lok Sabha on Thursday, the minister, said in nuclear power plants, a series of activities including integrated system tests, first criticality, subsequent performance tests, synchronisation of the unit with the grid and raising of power in steps take place.

The nuclear power reactors at Kudankulam employ several safety features to ensure protection of people and the environment even under most stressful situation like extreme natural events leading to a loss of power and cooling water supply, the minister said.


The real truth about the Koodunkulam Nuclear Power Plant #mustwatch

English: Construction site of the Koodankulam ...

English: Construction site of the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant Deutsch: Baustelle des Kernkraftwerks Kudankulam (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


The real truth about the Koodunkulam Nuclear Power Plant with its history and the people’s continuous protests. Great work by the NDTV team.  Join againnst the nuclear power in order to save the lives and livelihood of the people. kindly pass this video and share it in your blog and Social networks in order to spread the awareness.


Thousands of fishermen from 40 villages around the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant in Tamil Nadu have surrounded the area from about 500 metres in the sea and are shouting slogans to protest against the plant. This is a token seige of the plant, since they will not be allowed by policemen to get any closer. Activist SP Udhayakumar, who is spearheading the anti-plant protests, today said in their next action, protestors would lay siege to the Tamil Nadu Assembly in Chennai on October 29.





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