Activists send notice to Union forest minister over public hearing


Indian Express, Ahmedabad, 5 March 2013

Activists have sent legal notices to various authorities, including Minister of Environment & Forests Jayanthi Natarajan, for proceeding with the public hearing for the Mithi Virdi nuclear power plant even as the consultant for the project is not properly accredited.

“If the Environment Public Hearing dated March 5 of proposed nuclear power plant at Mithi Virdi is not cancelled as well as the incomplete, illegal EIA prepared by a non-accredited consultant be rejected, we will be left with no choice but to take legal action against you as an individual and the concerned authorities,” the activists, under the umbrella of Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti, said in the notice.

The Indian Express had reported earlier that the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) had asked project proponent Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) to clarify why it had hired a consultant not fully accredited to assess nuclear power plants to draw up the draft Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report for the 6,000 MW project.

The consultants, Engineers India Limited (EIL), had clarified they have applied for accreditation with QCI-NABET, the accrediting agency. No change in schedule was considered after that.

Activists and protesters have not been convinced of the report’s reliability and have “picked holes” in the report. They have sent at least five different letters regarding this to the authorities, asking the public hearing be either cancelled or postponed and the draft EIA report withdrawn. They are yet to get a response, they said.

The GPCB maintains that the contested report is only a draft report and that the board’s role is merely to help the district collector conduct the public hearing, record the proceedings and forward it to the Ministry of Environment and Forests.

he plant at Mithi Virdi will be the country’s first nuclear power plant to use US technology and is a maiden project under the Indo-US civil nuclear agreement.

Local opposition against the project has mounted since the Fukushima disaster in Japan as well as by the site selection — almost four-fifths of the 777 hectares earmarked for the project site is fertile agricultural land producing both kharif and rabi crops.

 

#Gujarat Protest against proposed Nuclear Plant at Mithi Virdi



Hiral Dave , IE : Gandhinagar, Tue Feb 19 2013, 06:03 hrs

The proposed nuclear plant to be built by Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) with US technology at Mithi Virdi in Bhavnagar district has run into stiff resistance from locals who are opposing the first public hearing scheduled for March 5. The project is part of the Indo-US nuclear deal signed in 2007.

Around six years ago, NPCIL had zeroed in on a cluster of five villages — Mithi-Virdi, Jasapara, Khadarpar, Mandva and Paniyad — to build the 6,900 megawatt (MW) nuclear power plant that would be India’s largest such facility.

However, soil and water testing was delayed following intense protest by villagers. Now, locals including those living in nearby urban centre of Bhavnagar city have closed ranks and vowed not to let the public hearing on environmental concerns take place.

“We have submitted a memorandum to Bhavnagar district collector. We do not want public hearing in the first place,” said Krishnakant, a coordinator for various groups opposing the plant.

“Bhavnagar is one of the biggest beneficiaries of the agricultural activities in the area. It gets its supply of fruits and vegetables round the year from the farmers of the 24 villages that have got notices for environmental public hearing for the proposed plant,” said Damyanti Modi of Bhavnagar Anu Urja Abhyas Juth, a group of senior citizens from Bhavnagar who have been studying the possible impact of a nuclear power plant at Mithi Virdi.

A year ago, Pittsburgh-based Westinghouse Electric Company had signed an MoU with NPCIL for site development work supporting future construction of AP 1000 nuclear power plants. The project requires 777 hectares, including private and government wasteland.

Mithi Virdi is a small coastal town known for its lush green orchards producing a variety of rare-quality fruits. Villagers say adequate monsoon in the last decade has ensured them three bumper crops in a year.

Earlier, gram panchayats of every affected village had passed resolutions vowing not to give private land or wasteland for the project.

Last year, villagers twice stalled the plans for soil and water testing by Gujarat Power Corporation (GPC), which has been hired by NPCIL for the testing work. In fact, the protests have been so intense that the GPC began digging bore around 5 am when villagers were asleep. However, in no time, the team had to fold up when more than 5,000 villagers reached the site and stalled the process.

Even a trip to Kakrapar nuclear plant near Surat for 96 farmers arranged by NPCIL could not convince them for the project.

Fear of losing fertile ancestral land coupled with apprehensions about a nuclear power plant in the neighbourhood has put the villagers on the edge.

Several NGOs have also been working closely with villagers.

While Bhavnagar Collector V P Patel was not available for comment, NPCIL authorities said they had received a copy of the memorandum opposing public hearing on environmental impact.

Of four sites short-listed in Gujarat, Mithi-Virdi was finalised for various reasons, including its proximity to sea, type of soil, water, seismic zone positioning and population.

 

#India- Draft approval for new Indian nuclear site #WTFnews


 

28 January 2013

A new six-unit nuclear power plant at Mithi Virdi in Gujarat will be “environmentally benign and sustainable” while benefitting the region both economically and socially, said a draft assessment on behalf of the proposing company.

The study was carried out for Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL) by Engineers India Ltd. (EIL), itself an Indian government-led organisation, to set out to establish baseline environmental data for the project to build up to six imported 1000 MWe light water reactors at the coastal site 40 kilometers from Bhavnagar. It also evaluated potential impacts of the project and formulated environmental management plans for both the construction and operation phase. EIL collected data within a ten-kilometer radius of the site over three seasons (summer, post-monsoon and winter) from December 2010 to November 2011 to prepare its report.

Mithi Virdi received approval in principle from the Indian government as a site for up to six imported 1000 MWe light water reactors in 2009. In 2012 US reactor vendor Westinghouse signed a memorandum of understanding with NPCIL agreeing to negotiate an early works agreement for the construction of up to six AP1000 units at the site. According to the preliminary environmental impact assesment (EIA), the project is not anticipated to have any significant impact on local flora, fauna or human activities. The report details the planned systems to manage gaseous, liquid and solid radioactive wastes and keep discharges below the required limits in normal operation as well as the passive safety design and engineered safety features of the plant.

Based on its findings, the report concluded that the planned Mithi Virdi project would be “environmentally benign and sustainable” and would provide “much needed electricity with minimal environmental impact”. It noted that the project will benefit the region generally and contribute to improved social conditions, with NPCIL contributing towards “uplifting” of the surrounding areas and positive impacts including employment, better transport facilities, and improvements to basic education, health and infrastructure in the area.

The power plant project is expected to be completed in three stages, with the first two units pencilled in for completion in 2019-2020, the second two units in 2021-2022 and the final stage completed in 2023-24. The cost is still under negotiation.

Mithi Virdi is one of four sites for which NPCIL is currently involved in pre-project activities. The others are Gorakhpur (Haryana), earmarked for four Indian-designed 700 MWe pressurized heavy-water reactors (PHWRs); Kovvada (Andhra Pradesh), where six GE-Hitachi ESBWR units are planned; and Chutaka (Madhya Pradesh), earmarked for two indigenous 700 MWe PHWRs. A final EIA for the Gorakhpur plant has been submitted to India’s Ministry of Environment and Forests for appraisal, while preliminary EIAs are still in preparation for Kovvada and Chutaka.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News

 

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