#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

 

#India – Nuclear shadow over Gujarat village


 

Author(s): Ankur Paliwal,Down to Earth
Issue Date: Mar 16, 2013

People in Mithi Virdi and nearby villages talk to Ankur Paliwal about their fears over the nuclear power park proposed on their land

This woman I found plucking weeds in her vegetable patch refused to give her name thinking I represent the power plant developers and would deprive her of her only source of living (Photos by Ankur Paliwal)This woman I found plucking weeds in her vegetable patch refused to give her name thinking I represent the power plant developers and would deprive her of her only source of living (Photos by Ankur Paliwal)

I don’t know her name. She was busy plucking weeds from her tomato farm when I found her. She was wearing bright blue and red clothes, her shining white hair half covered with a purple shawl. “She makes for a good photograph,” I thought to myself. I started moving towards her and took out my camera. She looked at me curiously, smiled and then got back to plucking weeds. I took that as her consent. I clicked her pictures till I was satisfied that I had got the right frame.

I asked my interpreter Sukhdev Singh, a 21-year-old engineer from her village Mithi Virdi in Gujarat’s Bhavnagar district, to introduce me to the woman. He told her I am a journalist from Delhi and that I am writing about the proposed nuclear power plant in her village. Her expression suddenly changed. She got angry and started shouting, “hamara photu na paro (do not click my photograph).”

She threw her hands in the air in anger. I could not fathom the reason for her anger. It dawned on me that she was gesticulating more out of fear. Singh interpreted her words: “She thinks that you are from the company which is building the nuclear power plant and that you would misuse her photo.” She thought that I will present her as somebody who wants the plant.

Farmers in Mithi Virdi  and adjoining villages harvest up to three crops a year and earn wellFarmers in Mithi Virdi and adjoining villages harvest up to three crops a year and earn well

She said that this was the patch of land she has to feed her family. Through my interpreter, I reassured her I was a journalist and was visiting the village to understand what people of Mithi Virdi think of the power plant. She did not believe me. By this time her son and daughter-in-law emerged from their hut. I tried to convince her but she was fearful.

I sat with her and asked if she could tell me her name. She refused. I turned to the family members and they too were reluctant to share details. The woman politely said to me, “My son, you sit, drink water, eat food and relax, but please do not misrepresent me.” I assured her that I would not misuse her photo and I was not there to take away her land. Her expression was that of disbelief. I asked her to forgive me and left her house cursing myself for having ruined her day.

Like her, many farmers in Mithi Virdi and adjoining villages are living in constant fear. Mithi Virdi which literally means “sweet well” is located on a raised plateau on the west side of the Gulf of Khambhat in Gujarat’s Bhavnagar district. The government had approved the plant in 2009. Since then, the people of Mithi Virdi and 23 adjoining villages have been opposing it.

The proposed Mithi Virdi Nuclear Power Park which will have six reactors of 6,000 MW each will take up 777 hectares (ha). Of this, 608 ha is agricultural land. The power plant was recently in news. Around 5,000 farmers walked out of the public hearing organised by the state government on March 5. They alleged the public hearing is illegal andshouted slogans against the plant.

At stake: fertile land, happiness

Farmers are against the plant because it will be built on or close to their fertile land. A walk through the villages confirms their claim. Mithi Virdi and the adjoining village Jasapara are full of mango and cheeku orchards. Farmers take three crops a year and earn well. Take the case of Ramdev Singh Thiruwa, who has around 500 mango trees and 100 cheeku trees on his 50 bighas (8.7 bighas make a hectare) farm in Jasapara village.

A meeting organised by the non-profits in Jasapara village a day before the public hearingA meeting organised by the non-profits in Jasapara village a day before the public hearing

He grows coconuts, vegetables and fodder on the same land. “I easily make Rs 10 lakh annually,” said Thiruwa. “I don’t need the company’s or the government’s money to live a happy life. I can send my children to any good school I want in the city,” he adds. Thiruwa’s land is just 500 metres from the sea. “Despite being close to the sea, the water in my wells is sweet,” said Thiruwa.

While the fear of losing their fertile land is the primary reason farmers anywhere would oppose a plant, the fact that it is a nuclear power plant increases the opposition. In Bhavnagar, even the farmers whose villages do not figure in the list of the 24 project-affected villages are against the plant. Shambhu Bhai is a farmer whose village is 11 km from Mithi Virdi. He does not want a plant.

“Your land is not being taken away, then why are you against the plant?” I asked.

His wife Hansa Ben who had just returned from the field was quick to reply: “There is fear of radiation leak. It affects human health, women deliver handicapped children and the land’s fertility goes down,” said Hansa Ben who is illiterate.

Curious, I asked her, “how do you know all this?”

She replied: “I heard it in the meeting.”

“Which meeting?” I asked.

“These meetings are organised by sarpanchs and social workers in the villages. They call us to educate us about the harmful effects of nuclear power plant,” she said.

This prompted my next question. “Have you attended any meeting organised by the company that is building the plant?”

“No. I don’t know if they have organised any,” she said. But government says that the nuclear power plants are safer now, I said to her.

“Who knows,” she said cynically.

Talking to farmers, I learnt that the NGOs have been regularly organising meetings in the villages since the past five years. I was keen to attend one such meeting. And I got lucky. The same day, a big meeting was organised by many anti-nuclear NGOs in Jasapara village. It was a day before the public hearing.

Fukushima, Chernobyl in their mind

A big and colourful tent was erected in the community centre in the village. Almost all the bamboo poles holding up the tent had anti-nuclear posters hung on them. Posters of handicapped children were pasted outside the centre. Around 2,000 people had gathered. The meeting was organised by various NGOs working in Bhavnagar and outside. While some speakers were stressing on the point that no matter what, people should not give away this extremely fertile land, others were highlighting why a nuclear power plant is bad. Slogans like “jaan denge, zameen nahin (we will give our lives, but not land),” were heard every 15 minutes.

Sukhdev Singh, a young engineer who acted as my interpreter, says his mango orchard is the best place to relax and watch children play as a cool breeze blows. He does not want to lose any of it to a nuclear power plant Sukhdev Singh, a young engineer who acted as my interpreter, says his mango orchard is the best place to relax and watch children play as a cool breeze blows. He does not want to lose any of it to a nuclear power plant

Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS) was one of the non-profits which had called this meeting. PSS is based in Vadodara district of Gujarat. “Farmers will lose their fertile land is the primary concern, safety aspects of nuclear power are also questionable,” said Rohit Prajapati of PSS. As a voluntary organisation our job is to inform people, he added. The anti-nuclear NGOs working in the area say that they are against nuclear power because till now the world does not have a foolproof technology to handle the hazardous nuclear waste and that the radiations from a leak will have long term and irreversible consequences. When there are alternatives available why opt for something that is potentially dangerous, they say. “We are just informing people. They are free to make their own choices,” said Prajapati.

But have the farmers listened to the other side before making up their mind? Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) organised a trip of sarpanchs to the operational nuclear power plants a year ago. “We have done our best to inform farmers that nuclear power is safe,” said P M Shah, chief engineer, NPCIL. But people in villages are distrustful of the government. “I have spoken the communities living close to the operational nuclear power plants. They are all living in fear,” said Shaktisinh Gohil, sarpanch of Jasapara over a sumptuous dinner that he had organised for me—butter smeared bajre ki roti (millet flour bread), a dish of onion and potato, lentils, jaggery, elaborate salad, mango pickle, papad and butter milk.

Thanking him, I was heading to the home of one of the farmers where I was staying. It was 11 pm. I found my interpreter, Sukhdev Singh, among a bunch of young guys sitting in a house making pamphlets against the nuclear power plant. These pamphlets were to be displayed in the public hearing scheduled the next day.

“It is late in the night. Don’t you have office tomorrow?” I asked Singh.

“I have taken leave because I want to participate in boycotting the plant,” he replied.

“Why are you against the plant? What do you know about nuclear power?” I asked.

“Don’t you know what happened in Fukushima recently and Chernobyl before that? Any day the risks of having nuclear power will outweigh the benefits,” he said.

His family has 15 bighas. It has around 300 mango trees and vegetables are also grown. “They will take away our land and then employ us on our own land,” said Singh. “Today we are employing people on our farms, if the plant comes we will become dependent,” he added.

“Today, after working hard in office in the city, I return to my beautiful home in the village. My parents have grown this mango orchard with a lot of labour. Whenever I feel sad, I go and sit under a mango tree. The cool breeze from the sea relaxes me. I feel happy when I see children playing in my orchard. Please don’t take all this away from us,” he continued.

 

 

 

Gujarat – Mega Nuclear Power Plant Raises Fear of Fukushima Type Disaster


‘We are staring at the possibility of a man-made disaster in the shape of a nuclear power park’

by Ranjit Devraj, Inter Press Service

 

Bhagwat Singh Gohil frets for the future of his bountiful orchards in Mithi Virdi village in western Gujarat state’s coastal district Bhavnagar. “After contending with droughts, rough seas and earthquakes we are staring at the possibility of a man-made disaster in the shape of a nuclear power park.”

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Women protesting against a proposed nuclear plant at Mithi Virdi in the Indian state Gujarat. Credit: Krishnakant/IPS. Speaking with IPS over telephone from Mithi Virdi, Gohil said he and other villagers are unconvinced by official declarations guaranteeing the safety of the Gujarat Nuclear Power Park (GNPP) which, when complete, is due to generate 6,000 megawatts of electricity.

“They could not have chosen a worse site for a mega nuclear power plant – we have a history of earthquakes and fear a Fukushima type disaster in the Gulf of Khambat where the GNPP is coming up,” said Gohil. “Also, Gujarat borders Pakistan, a hostile neighbour. What if this nuclear facility is bombed in a future war?”

On Mar. 5  Gohil and some 5,000 villagers silently walked out of a public hearing  held by the local administration seeking approval for construction for the GNPP which is due to be equipped with six Westinghouse-Toshiba nuclear reactors, each with a 1,000 megawatt capacity.

“We did not want to be party to an illegal public hearing that was seeking endorsement for an environment impact assessment (EIA) report that was flawed and ignored many safety aspects which we are soon going to publish in a parallel document,” Rohit Prajpati, leader of the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (Environment Protection Group), a voluntary agency active in Gujarat told IPS.

“To begin with, the EIA was drawn up by Engineers India Limited (EIL), a public sector consultancy that does not have the required accreditation – a fact which is apparent on the government’s own website,” Prajapti said. “An attempt was made to hoodwink the villagers, but they did not buy it.”

According to the terms of reference, EIL was supposed to carry out a detailed risk assessment and provide a disaster management plan, but the final document avoids that responsibility. “We have made written protests about this flawed EIA to the environment ministry,” Prajapati said.

According to V. T. Padmanabhan, independent researcher and member of the Brussels-based European Commission on Radiation Risk, basic safety aspects are being glossed over in the EIAs in the rush to set up a string of nuclear parks along India’s vast coastline.

“The EIA drawn up for the Mithi Virdi project, for instance, ignores the fact that there has been no study conducted on maximum flood levels – and that in an area that is seriously prone to tidal floods,” Padmanabhan told IPS.

On Mar. 6, answering questions in parliament concerning the new nuclear parks, V. Narayanswamy, minister in the prime minister’s office, said coastal nuclear power parks are designed with consideration given to possible earthquakes, tsunamis, storm surges and tidal flooding.

“Safety is a moving target in nuclear power plants and is continuously evolving based on the reviews by utilities and the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB)  besides internationally evolving standards,” Narayanaswamy informed parliament.

But, it is not just the villagers and activists who are worried at the haste with which the public sector Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) is going about setting up coastal nuclear power projects – the courts have been lending a sympathetic ear to the protestors.

On Mar. 12, the high court of the southern Andhra Pradesh state halted plans for a 9,000 megawatt nuclear park at Kovvada in coastal Srikakulam district following a petition filed on behalf of local residents and fishermen by J. Rama Rao, a retired naval engineer.

The high court took notice of the petitoners’ plea that the government was going about attempting to acquire land for the 6,000 megawatt nuclear facility even though the project is yet to gain clearance from the AERB.

Kovvada villagers have been on a relay hunger strike since December 2012 against the proposed nuclear power plant. Their petition cited the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear meltdowns to say that in the event of an accident, future generations would be affected by radiation contamination.

But, in spite of the protests and intervention by the court the government appears determined to push ahead with plans to generate 40 gigawatts of nuclear energy by 2020, most of it from nuclear parks in various stages of completion along India’s peninsular coastline.

Narayanasamy stated in parliament that electricity will begin to flow from the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) in southern Tamil Nadu by April. The KNPP, which is designed to generate 9,200 megawatts, has been in the making since 1988 when a deal was signed for its construction between India and Russia.

KNPP is yet to have valid Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearances. Last November, NPCIL also admitted in the Supreme Court that it had constructed a desalination plant without mandatory environmental clearance, showing how existing rules are being bypassed.

“CRZ clearance is not a technical formality, but an important procedure designed to protect India’s sensitive coastal region,” said Padmanabhan, adding that the haste in setting up coastal nuclear plants contrasts with the bureaucratic red tape that India is known for.

“What we are seeing is a repeat of the Fukushima experience where investigations by a parliamentary committee have shown that although triggered by a tsunami, the meltdown of the rectors was man-made and a result of collusion between the government, the regulators and the utility Tokyo Electric Power Company,” Padmanabhan said.

Poor governance and lack of independent regulatory oversight in the construction of nuclear plants have already been pointed out by the Comptroller and Auditor General, India’s powerful government watchdog.

 

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Press Release- Gujarat Stop the bulldozer of progress, now!


 

Need to talk not only of gram swaraj, but also of nagar swaraj and Lok swaraj, today!

Ahmedabad, March 14: The Mumbai- Delhi DMIC Virodhi Sangharsh Yatra reached Gujarat Vidyapith, Ahmedabad, after conversing with farmers in Kheda today. A discussion was held on the topic “DMIC: progress or destruction?” at Ahimsa Mandap in the afternoon, and veteran Gandhian Chunni Vaidya, Ila Bahan Pathak, Rajni Dave, Sagar Rabari, Indu Bhai, Raju Purohit, Vidyut Bhai, Anand Mazgaonkar, Swati Desai and other social activists participated in it along with the Mithivirdi Parmanu Virodhi Sangharsh Samiti and farmers currently fighting against the DMIC’s Palanpur hub.

Addressing the gathering, Chunni Bhai said that there is rampant  destruction in the name of developmet  in the county today, and that the time has come for the people to rightfully demand from the government that this “bulldozer” of development be stopped. He said that it is society that has the right to the country’s resources, not the government or corporations. He called for everyone present to stand together and say, “Village land belongs to the village, not to the government!”

Vasuram Bhai, associated with the Mithivirdi agitation, said, “we refuse to believe the false claims of the government, it is a statement of borne out of conviction that the farmers and labourers together will not  allow anyone to trespass upon their land”.

Talking about the DMIC in Gujarat, Rajendra Purohit stated that the situation in the state, already suffering from misuse of resources for industrial development, will worsen in coming times. Anand Mazgaonkar said that Gujarat is witnessing a fight over the sale of everything from séeds to land, and the false propaganda of zero resistance is being carried out with the help of money power and political power aimed at ensuring open grab and use of natural resources. Agitations are on in Umargaon, Bhavnagar, Mahua, Dahej, Sarbhan, Mithivirdi and Kachch, even as the politically powerful continue their false propaganda for the sake of their political ambitions.

NAPM’s Madhuresh Kumar rested his case saying, “the ruling class has always been attracted towards the big projects and big dreams which are shown to the common man, but development with justice and equity is never discussed. DMIC is yet another fantasy of the megalomaniac ruling class, which is against the rights of the people, and the opposition of which is in the better interests of all society. In the name of progress and industrial development, lakhs of hectares of land, forests and mineral resources have been acquired, but have these ever been used righteously? No. Then why are requisitions being considered? The need of the hour is to address the problems and questions raised due to all the developmental processes till date, for the creation of a peaceful society. Today, we need to talk of not only gram swaraj but of nagar swaraj and Lok swaraj, or else our future generations will never forgive us”.

The meeting came to a close with a discussion about the establishment of a Gram Swaraj Samiti, and the farmers of Palanpur and Mithivirdi announced that they would be participating in the Kisaan Khet Mazdoor Mahapanchayat to be held at Jantar Mantar, Delhi on 18th March. The Yatra will be visiting Pithampur Industrial Area in Indore tomorrow.

Lingraj Azad, Prasad Bagve, Suhaas Kolhekar, Utpal VB, Milind Champanerkar, Krishnakant, Ateek Ahmed, Nasreen Bi, Anwari, Mukesh, Yuvraj Bhatkal, Viabhav Joshi, Mansaram.

Contact: 9818905316

 

 

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.”
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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.

 

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