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


Chutka ( M.P.), May 23, 2013

Pheroze L. Vincent. The Hindu 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

DAE 1972 Chakravarty Report states Jaitapur has potential sources of Earthquake


Radiation sign for maps

 

 

 

 

 

A section of the Jaitapur nuclear plant site selection committee’s report that was withheld by the government and was recently retrieved by a local Premanand Tiwarkar through the Right to Information Act (RTI) contradicts Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited’s (NPCIL) claim that the site is fit for a nuclear plant.

 

A 1972 study by the Site Selection Committee of the DAE states d, “Tectonic features in the region can be regarded as potential sources of earthquakes as some of them may get reactivated at any point….”

 

The relevent parts of report can be downloaded here

 

 

 

 

 

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 Nuclear Power Plant – From Supreme Court to People’s Court?


M.G.Devasahayam

M G DevasahayamShri M. G. Devasahayam is a former IAS and Managing Trustee, Citizens Alliance for Sustainable Living, Chennai

He is the Convener of the PMANE Expert Group on Koodankulam.

Shri Devasahayam can be reached atdeva1940@gmail.com

Supreme Court Judgment–The Essence

On 6th May 2013, Supreme Court delivered the much awaited judgment on the Koodunkulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP) arising out of SLP (C) 27335/2012 that had been reserved since first week of December 2012. The penultimate para (229) of the judgment reads thus: “Before proceeding to issue certain directions, it is required to be stated that the appellant, by this Public Interest Litigation, has, in a way, invoked and aroused the conscience/concern of the court to such an issue. True it is, the prayer is for the total closure of the plant and the Court has not acceded to the said prayer but his noble effort is appreciated to put forth the grievance of the local people and the necessity of adequate safety measures as is perceived. When such cause comes up before this Court, it is the bounden duty to remind the authorities “Be alert, remain always alert and duty calls you to nurture constant and sustained vigilance and nation warns you not to be complacent and get into a mild slumber”. The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) as the regulatory authority and the MoEF are obliged to perform their duty that safety measures are adequately taken before the plant commences its operation. That is the trust of the people in the authorities which they can ill afford to betray, and it shall not be an exaggeration to state that safety in a case of this nature in any one’s hand has to be placed on the pedestal of “Constitutional Trust”.

After placing public safety on the pedestal of “Constitutional Trust”, Supreme Court has issued 15 directions for compliance by nuclear establishment and other regulators for strict compliance before commissioning of the plant. From the language, tone and tenor these conditions appear to be non-negotiable.

Response from Nuclear Establishment

Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) response to the judgment was typical of the nuclear establishment’s vulgar hurry to impose the unsafe KKNPP on the struggling people: “With the Supreme Court giving the green signal, the first reactor of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project is likely to go critical anytime between May 13 and 20. Top sources in the NPCIL told ‘The Hindu’ that a team of Automic Energy Regulatory Board experts are going through the results of the test conducted a few days ago and holding discussions on the results with the NPCIL technocrats. The AERB’s governing body, expected to meet before this weekend is likely to take a final decision on giving the nod for criticality immediately”

As for RK Sinha, Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) it was a great relief and he said so: ‘I humbly welcome the judgment of the court, it should lay to rest all perceived doubts about the Kudankulam atomic reactor. The reactor is at an advanced stage of commissioning and criticality or the start of the nuclear chain reaction in the plant should happen soon.’

Legal Notice

It looks as if nuclear establishment had not read the judgment carefully. If they had done so their response would have been different. And they had to be reminded of it the hard way-through a legal Notice which reads as under:

“As you are aware, the Supreme Court has given several directions to be complied with before the commissioning of KKNPP including the following two directions:

1. The plant should not be made operational unless AERB, NPCIL, DAE accord final clearance for commissioning of the plant ensuring the quality of various components and systems because their reliability is of vital importance…….

15. The AERB, NPCIL, Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF) and Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) would oversee each and every aspect of the matter, including the safety of the plant, impact on environment, quality of various components and systems in the plant before commissioning of the plant. A report to that effect be filed before this Court before commissioning of the plant.

The above directions of the Supreme Court are categorical. These directions need no interpretation whatsoever. As per these directions, Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project cannot be commissioned as it stands now. When clearance was granted by you (AERB) for initial fuel loading (IFL) and first approach to criticality (FAC) of Unit.I of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project on August 10, 2012 the same was challenged before the Madras High Court by my client. The said clearance was ultimately tested by the Supreme Court in Civil Appeal No. 4440 of 2013 and batch matters. Having considered all aspects of the matter, the Supreme Court has now given a direction to you (AERB & NPCIL) and the Department of Atomic Energy not to make the KKNPP operational until a fresh review of the quality of various components and systems of the KKNPP is undertaken. The Supreme Court has further given a direction to you (AERB & NPCIL) and Ministry of Environment & Forest of the Government of India and the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board to oversee each and every aspect of the matter, including the safety of the plant, impact on environment, quality of various components and systems in the plant and after fulfilling this task file a report in the Supreme Court before commissioning of the plant. These directions have not yet been complied with by you (AERB & NPCIL) or by the Government of India or by the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board.

It appears that after the judgment of the Supreme Court you have not even commenced a fresh review of the ‘quality of various components and systems in the plants’. Without even attempting to comply with the directions of the Supreme Court, NPCIL is making a statement to the press that the KKNPP is likely to go critical any time between May 13 and 20.

Kindly take notice that any such assertion on the part of NPCIL or AERB as reported in The Hindu dated 7 May 2013 would amount to contempt of the Supreme Court, since no report as directed by the Supreme Court in direction No.15 has so far been submitted to the Supreme Court.”

 

The Flaws

While this could bring some succour to the struggling farmer-fisher folk, Supreme Court judgment nevertheless suffer from several flaws:

  1. While the Special Leave Petition starts with characterising nuclear power as “the most dangerous means of producing energy with a serious potential for catastrophic accidents causing severe damage to life and property, with cost of reparation running into lakhs of crores of rupees”, the court nonchalantly and without appropriate due diligence declares that “nuclear energy…is a clean, safe, reliable and competitive energy source”. This assertion is debatable, disputable and defeats the very purpose for which the petitioners appealed to the highest court of law.
  2. On the issue DGR (Deep Geologic Repository) for radioactive nuclear waste, which is a critical issue concerning public safety, the court has been very casual: “NPCIL does not seem to have a long term plan, other than, stating and hoping that in the near future, it would establish a DGR (Deep Geologic Repository)”. Its directive that “DGR has to be set up at the earliest” does not specify a date nor make it a necessary condition before NPCIL embarks on new nuclear reactor construction. This is clear pandering of the nuclear establishment.
  3. Safety concerns that remain paramount in the minds of the citizens living in the vicinity of Koodankulam have not been adequately acknowledged by the Court, which did not even see fit to mention the problems with valves that the AERB disclosed, or the news reports of corruption in supplier companies in Russia. The Court’s call to “educate the people” smacks of condescension, which is anachronistic for a democracy and inexplicable when seen in the context of this well-informed and widely-participated movement against the Koodankulam reactors.
  4. SC’s uncritical reliance on the opinions of the nuclear establishment and its complete disregard of the absence of public trust in the regulatory agency is a serious problem with the judgment. It quotes extensively from AERB documents, especially safety codes, yet overlooks the fact that AERB and NPCIL do not often follow their own safety rules. The most pertinent example is that of Koodankulam itself, when AERB allowed the loading of fuel into the reactors even though NPCIL had not complied with its safety recommendations following the Fukushima nuclear accidents.
  5. The Court did not even acknowledge, let alone examine, the questions surrounding the independence and effectiveness of the AERB, and instead claimed that the AERB has been “regulating the nuclear and radiation facilities in the country very effectively”. Last year, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) pointed out that AERB “continued to be…an authority subordinate to the central government”, putting a big question mark over its independence as a regulator. Its actions in the case of Koodankulam, unfortunately, do not enhance the credibility of the AERB. The Court claims that the AERB “has, over the years, issued a large number of codes, standards and guides”, while the CAG pointed out that the AERB had failed to prepare “a radiation safety policy even after three decades of its existence”.
  6. The court does not seem to have properly considered the prayers contained in the SLP. While the petitioner had asked for commissioning the plant after ensuring all safety & environmental requirements court has said that the petitioner wanted “total closure of the plant and we have not conceded to the said prayer”.

Not addressing corruption and sub-standard machinery issues

Another disturbing aspect of the judgment is the question as to why did SC ignore the IA filed on 23 April (two weeks before the judgment) clearly bringing to the notice of the Supreme Court the supply of sub-standard equipment and materials by ZiO Podolsk, a Russian public sector machine works company, to the Koodankulam plant, and how Unit 2 of the Leningrad nuclear power plant using similar materials supplied by the same company collapsed on 17 July 2011, leading to the arrest and prosecution of Sergei Shutov, procurement director of ZiO Podolsk, by a Federal court in Russia. All other scams/scandals like 2G Spectrum, Commonwealth Games, Coalgate etc came out and are under serious investigation because of exposures by CAG followed by activism and advocacy by civil society with legal luminaries in the forefront. Courts had not been forewarned in these scams, but when these came before the SC it took very serious notice and is pursuing these with vigour by upbraiding the government and constituting SIT etc. What happened in the Coalgate case is an apt example. But in the KKNPP case it is just the opposite. SC was forewarned about the scam, sub-standard material and corruption and criminal action in Russia against supplier company weeks before the judgment was issued and was ‘mentioned’ in open court. The least SC could have done was to ask for independent investigation in to these ‘life-threatening’ allegations and satisfied itself before issuing final orders.

On this aspect of SC judgment Dr. A. Gopalakrishnan, former Chairman, AERB has a slightly different take. This is what he has to say: “As per Directions No: 15 given in the SC Judgment, NPCIL, AERB, MoEF and TNPCB are to be jointly involved in all  aspects  of  certifying  this  reactor as safe. Of  these three  organizations (AERB, TNPCB, MoEF) are Regulatory Agencies, and NPCIL is the promoter  and  it will  have  to  serve  as  the main supplier of  inspection data and other compliance information to the other three for  review . Without  solely  resting their confidence & trust  in the  two  DAE  institutions (AERB & NPCIL) , the Supreme Court  has intentionally broadened the jury to include two additional government  regulators  who are not connected with the DAE. This I see as the impact of our last affidavit (IA on 23 April) on Zio-Podolsk corruption and supply of substandard components & equipment from  Russia. We have to make best use of this opportunity”.

This matter however has been taken care of in a complaint filed with the CBI and a writ filed in the Madras High Court for directing the CBI to conduct expeditious investigation into corruption and supply of sub-standard equipment.

Future Imperatives

Dr. EAS Sarma, former Secretary to Government of India, Ministry of Power has created a matrix for making the ‘best use’ of the 15 directions and other observations made in the SC judgment. It is presented below with some of my inputs:

 

Para Direction & Action points Compliance imperative before commissioning
230.1 The plant should not be made operational unless AERB, NPCIL, DAE accord final clearance for commissioning of the plant ensuring the quality of various components and systems because their reliability is of vital importance. Final clearance and the process adopted should be placed in the public domain as required under Section 4 of RTI Act, 2005.
230.2 MoEF should oversee and monitor whether the NPCIL iscomplying with the conditions laid down, while granting

clearance vide its communication dated 23.9.2008 under the provisions of EIA Notification of 2006, so also the conditions laid down in the environmental clearance granted by the MoEF vide its communication dated 31.12.2009. AERB and MoEF will see that all the conditions stipulated by them are duly complied with before the plant is made operational.

MOEF should place the monitoringreports in the public domain as required under Section 4 of RTI Act, 2005.
230.3 Maintaining safety is an ongoing process not only at thedesign level, but also during the operation for the nuclear

plant. Safeguarding NPP, radioactive materials, ensuring

physical security of the NSF are of paramount importance.

NPCIL, AERB, the regulatory authority, should maintain

constant vigil and make periodical inspection of the plant

at least once in three months and if any defect is noticed,

the same has to be rectified forthwith.

NPCIL, AERB should place the periodic reports in public domain as required under Section 4 of RTI Act, 2005.
230.4 NPCIL shall send periodical reports to AERB and the AERB shall take prompt action on those reports, if any fallacy is noticed in the reports. The reports should be available for the public as required under Section 4 of RTI Act, 2005.
230.5 SNF generated needs to be managed in a safe manner toensure protection of human health and environment from

the undue effect of ionizing radiation now and future, for

which sufficient surveillance and monitoring programme

have to be evolved and implemented.

 

Copy of the surveillance and monitoringreports should be available in public domain as required under Section 4 of RTI Act, 2005.
230.6 AERB should periodically review the design-safety aspectsof AFR feasibly at KKNPP so that there will be no adverse

impact on the environment due to such storage which

may also allay the fears and apprehensions expressed by

the people.

The reports should be available in public domain as required under Section 4 of RTI Act, 2005.
230.7 DGR has to be set up at the earliest so that SNF could betransported from the nuclear plant to DGR. NPCIL says

the same would be done within a period of five years.

Effective steps should be taken by the Union of India,

NPCIL, AERB, AEC, DAE etc. to have a permanent DGR at the earliest so that apprehension voiced by the people of

keeping the NSF at the site of Kudankulam NPP could be

dispelled.

The periodic progress reports should be available in public domain as required under Section 4 of RTI Act, 2005.
230.8 NPCIL should ensure that the radioactive discharges to theenvironmental aquatic atmosphere and terrestrial route

shall not cross the limits prescribed by the Regulatory

Body.

The monitored data should be available in public domain as required under Section 4 of RTI Act, 2005.
230.9 The Union of India, AERB and NPCIL should take steps atthe earliest to comply with rest of the seventeen

recommendations, within the time stipulated in the

affidavit filed by the NPCIL on 3.12.2012.

The Apex Court, in para 189, has cautioned AERB, NPCIL as follows.“Adequate measures have, therefore, to be taken for storage of NSF at site, and also for the physical safety of stored NSF. Of the seventeen suggested safety measures, by AERB, LWR, twelve have already been implemented and the rest, in a phased manner have to be implemented which the experts say, are meant for extra security”

The apex court, in para 228, has also emphasised as follows

 

Therefore, I am obliged to think that the delicate balance in other spheres may have some allowance but in the case of establishment of a

nuclear plant, the safety measures would not tolerate any lapse. The grammar has to be totally different. I may hasten to clarify that I have not discussed anything about the ecology and environment which has been propounded before us, but I may particularly put that the

proportionality of risk may not be “zero” regard being had to the nature’s unpredictability. All efforts are to be made to avoid any man-made disaster. Though the concept of delicate balance and the doctrine of proportionality of risk

factor gets attracted, yet the same commands the highest degree of constant alertness, for it is disaster affecting the living. The life of some cannot be sacrificed for the

purpose of the eventual larger good.”

Therefore, NPCIL is expected to lay down strict time schedules to ensure safety and the progress reports should be available in public domain as required under Section 4 of RTI Act, 2005.

230.10 SNF is not being re-processed at the site, which hasto be transported to a Re-Processing facility. Therefore,

the management and transportation of SNF be carried out

strictly by the Code of Practices laid down by the AERB,

following the norms and regulations laid down by IAEA.

The details should be placed in public domain as required under Section 4 of RTI Act, 2005.
230.11 NPCIL, AERB and State of Tamil Nadu should takeadequate steps to implement the National Disaster

Management Guidelines, 2009 and also carry out the

periodical emergency exercises on and off site, with the

support of the concerned Ministries of the Government of

India, Officials of the State Government and local

authorities.

Hon’ble Madras High Court in W.P.No.24770 of 2011 August 2012 (Para 89) observed as follows“Even though it is stated that the said exercise was done in only one village, namely Nakkaneri village, which is stated to be nearer to the KKNPP, as we are informed that nearly 30 to 40 villages are within 30 Kms radius of KKNPP, such event must take place in all villages and more importantly, apart from the officials, as stated above, the people in the area must be made to participate and an awareness programme must be made to infuse confidence in the minds of the local people that the project is for the benefit of the country and there is no need to alarm”

Since this observation has not been modified by the apex court, it should be treated as a pre-condition to commissioning of the plant. In addition, implementation of NDMA’s guidelines should also precede commissioning.

The Apex Court’s observation in para 221 (extracted below) of the judgment has importance

“The concept of disaster management cannot be allowed to remain on paper. Its procrastination itself rings the bell of peril. The

administration has to be alive to the said situation and the awakening to manage the disaster in case of an

unfortunate incident has to be founded on scientific and

sophisticated methods. Taking care of the situation of the present alone is not the solution. All concerned with the same are required to look to the future because that elevates the real concern. The danger of the future should be seriously taken note of and should not be veiled in the guise of thought for the present”.

230.12 NPCIL, in association with the District Collector,Tiruneveli should take steps to discharge NPCIL Corporate

Social Responsibilities in accordance with DPE Guidelines

and there must be effective and proper monitoring and

supervision of the various projects undertaken under CSR

to the fullest benefit of the people who are residing in and

around KKNPP.

Progress reports with the names of beneficiaries should be placed in public domain as required under section 4 of RTI Act. A special audit should be ordered to ensure proper utilisation of the funds
230.13 NPCIL and the State of Tamil Nadu, based on thecomprehensive emergency preparedness plan should

conduct training courses on site and off site administer

personnel, including the State Government officials and

other stake holders, including police, fire service, medicos,

emergency services etc.

Progress reports with the names of trainees should be placed in public domain as required under section 4 of RTI Act. A special audit should be ordered to ensure proper utilisation of the funds
230.14 Endeavour should be made to withdraw all thecriminal cases filed against the agitators so that peace

and normalcy be restored at Kudankulam and nearby

places and steps should be taken to educate the people of

the necessity of the plant which is in the largest interest of

the nation particularly the State of Tamil Nadu.

 

This should precede commissioningction taken should be placed in public domain as required under Section 4 of RTI Act
230.15 The AERB, NPCIL, MoEF and TNPCB would overseeeach and every aspect of the matter, including the safety

of the plant, impact on environment, quality of various

components and systems in the plant before

commissioning of the plant.A report to that effect be filed before this Court before commissioning of the plant.

The Report thus filed should be notified to the Petitioner for filing counter and if found ‘fake’ SC should order investigation of quality of various components and systems in the plant by an Independent Expert Group before issuing final orders.

Compliance requirement suggested for Direction #15 assumes all the more importance due to post-judgment revelations through a research study that the reactor pressure vessel (RPV) supplied to KKNPP, considered to be the heart of the reactor, could be obsolete and different from the originally promised one. This has humongous repercussions and if unchecked, has all the potential for a catastrophe in peninsular India and the island of Sri Lanka. Serious charges of corruption and suspicion of substandard material and obsolete RPV have arisen, but not addressed even by the highest court of law. God forbid, if some incident/accident happens during commissioning or after, besides human catastrophe it would devastate SC as an institution and extinguish whatever little faith people have in this bulwark of justice. Supreme Court monitored pre-commissioning is therefore a must because the Court has placed public safety on the pedestal of “Constitutional Trust” and hopefully would never countenance its betrayal by the nuclear establishment.

The Groundview

But the ‘soldiers on the ground’ have a different perception altogether. They are of the view that in order to free up Russia from supplier liability, charges of theft and abject project failure, the Indian nuclear establishment has begun to claim that the KKNPP is not a Russian turnkey project.

Following the Supreme Court’s verdict, nuclear establishment is announcing various dates to fake-commission the project and trying to protect their own self interests and save the Russians from all the embarrassing and serious charges. Instead of answering the component-related concerns, financial improprieties and liability commitments in an earnest manner, they are spreading irresponsible rumors and conjectures as they have been doing since 2005 about commissioning the KKNPP.

In fact, the KKNPP authorities do not even allow journalists anywhere near the reactors for fear of their smelling any of the fishy things that have been happening there. In an interview RS Sundar, the site director has claimed that they are facing difficulties with the media.

This is what the struggle leaders have to say: “The Indian government, Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), and the AERB do not even want to walk the extra mile of assessing the quality and safety of the components with a team of independent scientists, engineers and journalists. No one in India knows anything about the omissions and the commissions of the KKNPP, NPCIL, AERB, DAE, AEC and their Russian counterparts and suppliers. Even the Indian courts seem to accept the establishmentarian views in spite of the fact that they have laid down fifteen directions in their recent judgment. All nuclear establishment want is commissioning of the plant even if it is a fake one! So all the thefts, untested technology, unsafe components and the overall failure could be buried in radioactive contamination and inter-governmental cover up.”

So the struggling community, all ordinary citizens of India, have decided to turn to their fellow citizens and Mother Nature to protect the interests of our country and people. They have decided to come out in the open, travel to neighboring villages and organize people all over again. They have decided to fight it out to the finish and are confident that they shall overcome.

To this determination Admiral L.Ramdas has responded to the struggle coordinator Udayakumar: “We are happy to see that the spirit of “Never say Die” prevails. I am sure our prayers and hard work and commitment will not go waste. Regards and Greater strength to your elbow”. So, it is from Supreme Court to the Court of the People.

We are a Democracy and VOX POPULI is VOX DEI–‘Voice of the People is Voice of God’. But is mere voice enough? To seek assurance, ground forces should draw on the famous clarion of Alexander Solzhenitsyn: “It is infinitely difficult to begin when mere words must remove a great block of matter. But there is no other way if none of the material strength is on your side. And a shout in the mountains has been known to cause an avalanche

Just replace ‘mountain’ with ocean and ‘avalanche’ with tsunami. BRAVO.

 

PRESS RELEASE- Supreme Court Verdict on Koodankulam: A Travesty of Justice


PRESS RELEASE

Mumbai, May 15 , 2013

The Supreme Court’s verdict on Koodankulam rests on three hugely contested premises: the judges’ belief in the necessity of nuclear energy for India’s progress, their faith in the  nuclear establishment to perform its role, and the judges’ notion of the larger public interest and the apprehensions of small sections which should be subordinated to the estblishment’s plans. Not only have the judges given judicial sanctity to these contestable propositions, they  have also completely overlooked Koodankulam-specific brazen violations of the government’s own norms, raised by the petitioners.

It is unfortunate that the Court, far transgressing the actual prayers of the petition, has completely overlooked the brazen violations by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL), the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) and the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) of their own norms. The petitioners has highlighted serious issues such as the recent scam in Russia involving ZiO-Podolsk’s supply of sub-standard equipments to Koodankulam, violation of the AERB’s reactor-siting norms, undermining of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) clearances, flouting of the mandated  emergency preparedness and evacuation exercises, the AERB’s 17 post-Fukushima recommendations etc.

The DAE’s complete hegemony on nuclear expertise in India and its proximity to the country’s top political leadership has been misused by it to mislead the Supreme Court. Extensive citation of the AERB’s safety codes for Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors  (PHWRs) in the judgement whereas the Koodankulam reactors are Pressurised Water Reactors (PWRs) is a glaring example of this. The verdict also highlights the unfortunate extent to which our democratic institutions, including the judiciary, have come to unquestionably accept the growth-centric model of ‘development’ which is being contested by impoverished and marginalised sections who are bearing its brunt.

We demand that the NPCIL exercises maximum transparency and accountability in implementing the 15 guidelines issued by the Court. The Court’s order to withdraw police cases against the agitators vindicates our position that the government used undemocratic and brutal repression to silence the peaceful protests in Koodankulam.We demand that these fabricated charges be withdrawn at once.

 

issued by: The Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace (CNDP) , a  national network of various organisations along with Konkan Vinashkari Prakalp Virodhi Samiti,Madban Janhit Seva Samiti,Jaitapur Anuurja Prakalp Virodhi Samiti and various other organisations and individuals

Join us on facebook:- https://www.facebook.com/groups/109358664039/

To be updated on nuclear issues :- http://cndpindia.org/ ,  http://www.dianuke.org/,

For more information contact- Vivek Sundara (CNDP) -9821062801 /Kamayani Bali Mahabal ( CNDP)  9820749204

 

Press Release – Koodankulam Is Not Russian?


PMANE

Idinthakarai 627 104
Tirunelveli District
Mobile: 9842154073, 9865683735
For Immediate Release
May 10, 2013
Koodankulam Is Not Russian?
Indian Nukedom Tries to Free up Russia from Liability, Theft and Project Failure!
In an interview to rediff.com, Mr. R. S. Sundar, the site director of the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP), has claimed that the KKNPP is not a Russian turnkey project. Here is Mr. Sundar’s categorical answer to Mr. A. Ganesh Nadar’s specific question:
Is this a Russian turn-key project?
“Absolutely not! This is not a Russian turn-key project. This is one misconception many people have. This is not a turn-key project. The technology — that is the design, the drawings, the equipment — has been supplied by the Russian Federation. But the entire construction, starting from the civil construction, the mechanical component, the electrical component, the instrumentation component, erection, has been done by Indian engineers and Indian contractors. BHEL, Larsen & Toubro, the Electronic Corporation of India among others have done all the work. The commissioning has also been done by Indian engineers.”
But on November 20, 1988, Soviet General Secretary Gorbachev and Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi signed an agreement and it clearly pointed out that the Soviet vendor Atomenergoexport would supply the reactors “constructed on a turnkey basis.” On February 29, 1989, V.S.G. Rao, project director of the Koodankulam Project, said that “the USSR will use Indian contractors and laborers even though the reactors will be supplied on a turnkey basis.” On October 12, 1989, Chairman of India’s Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) M. R. Srinivasan said that the signing of the contract for turnkey execution of the project would come only after the design study was completed.
In December 1995, India no longer wanted a turnkey operation, as was originally agreed. Instead, India wished to obtain pressurized water reactor technology that would allow it to build its own plant “like China.” On February 15, 1997, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigoriy Karasin affirmed Moscow’s intention to build two 1,000 MW LWRs in India and said that construction was a “bilateral issue.”
A supplementary agreement to the IGA was signed in New Delhi on June 21, 1998, by the Russian Minister for Atomic Energy Yevgeny Adamov and the AEC Chairman and DAE Secretary Dr. R. Chidambaram. Under this agreement, the Russians were to provide the reactor designs and supply the equipment and NPCIL would build the reactors. But “a team of Russian specialists would stay at the site to render technical assistance at all stages of construction, in the installation of reactor equipment and in the commissioning and operation of the reactors until the final takeover by NPCIL’s operators” (emphasis added; Frontline 2004).
In January 1995, a Rossiiskaya Gazeta article quoted Russian Minister of Atomic Energy Viktor Mikhailov as saying that some 1,000 Russian nuclear experts would work on the Koodankulam project. The NPCIL has confirmed officially (in its letter No. NPCIL/VSB/CPIO/2574/KKNPP/2013/737 dated April 29, 2013) now: “As on 31.03.2013 there were around 110 no.s of Russian specialists working in KKNPP. NPCIL has no information regarding their pay scales etc.”
In the light of the above, how does Mr. Sundar question the turnkey nature of the project now? By insisting that the KKNPP is not a Russian turnkey project, and is actually built with components from South Korea, France, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia and other countries, is the Indian nuclear establishment trying to set Russia free from supplier liability, enormous amount of theft and the abject failure of the KKNPP Unit 1?
If the Russians supplied only the technology and the Indian companies such as BHEL, Larsen & Toubro, Electronic Corporation of India, Hindustan Construction Company, Simplex Concrete Piles (India) etc. did the construction, instrumentation and erection, are they responsible for any accidents and liable in any way? While the Russian and the Indian companies make huge profits and engage in financial improprieties, why should the Indian public bear the cost of supplier and operator liability?
The People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) thinks that the Indian nuclear establishment, especially the NPCIL, is bending backwards with hidden and hideous intentions of freeing up the Russians from liability commitments, and rampant corruption and theft in the totally failed Koodankulam project.
The Struggle Committee
PMANE
Sources:
[] R. Adam Moody, “The Indian-Russian Light Water Reactor Deal,” The Nonproliferation Review/Fall 1997.
[] T. S. Subramanian, “Setting standards,” Frontline, 21/8 (April 10, 2004)

 

Does the Supreme Court care about Indian lives?


The reasons behind clearing the Koodankulam nuclear plant defy logic and democratic principles
SP Udayakumar

18-05-2013, Issue 20

This week, a bench of the Supreme Court (SC) cleared the commissioning of the nuclear power plant at Koodankulam, against which the residents of the area have been protesting for the last 630 days. We find this verdict to be highly unfortunate, and feel that it doesn’t take into account the value of Indian lives.

Ten days before the judgment, our supporters Poovulagin Nanbargal (friends of the earth) filed an affidavit before the Court that ZiO-Podolsk, which has supplied much of the equipment to the plant, is a discredited and corrupt company. Sergei Shutov, the procurement director of the company, was arrested in February 2012 on charges of using substandard metal in their equipment. When we filed an RTI with Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) this January, they denied having received equipment from ZiO-Podolsk, and it was only after repeated enquiries that the NPCIL was forced to admit the truth. This is a very serious matter; if anything were to go wrong, crores of lives would be lost. Yet, the SC refuses to consider this issue while announcing its verdict.

Even accepting, for the sake of argument, that this matter came to light after the Court reserved its judgment, and thus cannot be admitted, what about waste management? The Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) told the Court that the waste would be buried under the Kolar gold fields in Karnataka, but the plan was dropped after the residents protested. And that was that. The Court didn’t ask again what alternative the DAE had, and passed its judgment without settling the question. So what happens to this highly toxic waste?

As for liability, an inter-governmental agreement of 2008 holds that the Russians would not be liable in case the faulty equipment malfunctions. What a great deal! You buy whatever rubbish they give you, and you exempt them from liability. So much money has been stolen by both rich Indians and Russians, and the poor locals have to bear the brunt of the greater risk. Who is liable? Is Manmohan Singh liable? He might not be in power two months from now. Would it be the DAE? The KKNPP site director Kasinath Balaji has disappeared, and someone else is in his post. The NPCIL? SK Jain, who was the chairman, is now leading a cushy life in Tokyo as the chairman of the governing board of the World Association of Nuclear Operators. Who will be here to answer for something going wrong? We do not trust these bureaucrats and officials, and now we can’t even trust the SC. If the SC cared about Indian lives, it should have asked these questions.

But no, the Court says that a balance has to be struck between the right to life and sustainable development, that the larger public interest should prevail over minor inconveniences caused to local people. If the inconvenience is really minor, why don’t they build the plant near Parliament? The “larger public interest” it speaks of is nothing but the interests of large corporations for which poor fishermen, women and children should apparently sacrifice their lives and livelihoods.

Regardless, our struggle continues. We may not be successful in closing the plant tomorrow, or in the next few months, or few years. We are patient. We shall persevere. For we have persevered despite the government’s campaign to spread lies and libel us. They have claimed that those who oppose the Koodankulam plant are foreign stooges and that we receive money from abroad. VS Achuthanandan, the former chief minister of Kerala, opposes the plant. Did he take money from abroad? Dr A Gopalakrishnan, the former head of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, has written extensively against the plant. Does he do so for foreign money? Admiral (Retd) Ramdas opposes the plant. Medha Patkar is against it. So is Aruna Roy. Who paid them? Why, when such luminaries have stood up against the government’s anti-people stance, should nameless, faceless Udayakumar be singled out by the Americans for payments?

I don’t take the government’s vilification seriously, because I have nothing at stake. I am not trying to join politics, and I don’t need a certificate of approval from anybody. It’s not me anyone should be worried about, but the people of Idinthakarai, of Koothankuli, of other villages that will be affected, who have lost so much because they chose to take a stand. They have lost their incomes, they have been arrested, they have been attacked by the police. With the opening of the plant, things will only get worse.

But we persist, because we firmly believe that we are fighting for the good of our country, for which we have an enormous amount of love. India needs development, we agree, but in seeking that development, we must not undermine our natural resources, or the basic health of our people and our nutrition security. What are our priorities, after all? Half of our population lives under 20 a day, half of our population barely has any sanitation. We don’t have the basic necessities. People are dying for want of safe drinking water. Instead of addressing these issues, why does our government persist in its obsession with nuclear power, which only adds to the suffering of the poor? Yes, we need electricity, but there needs to be leadership in how we go about harnessing it. If a country like Germany can develop so much electricity from solar power, why can’t we? We have been vilified as fighting against the interests of our country. We have been called Luddites standing in the way of progress. But it must be made clear that we are not against electricity, only nuclear power. We are not against development that benefits Indians, but against that which benefits corrupt Russian companies. We want our people to live as human beings, in a State that does not compromise their safety or on the basic necessities of life.

The greatest challenge we have faced in the course of our protest is the power differential between the people and the State. We celebrate our country as the world’s largest democracy, but its people are hopelessly powerless. Nobody listens to the people. The Parliament wastes our time, energy and resources. Even to ask a question in Parliament, we must bribe MPs, and even when they ask the question, it is just a ritual. No serious debate takes place. This democracy we speak of is a sham. It works only to cheat the poor of their rights.

As told to Ajachi Chakrabarti

letters@tehelka.com

(Published in Tehelka Magazine, Volume 10 Issue 20, Dated

 

#India – Centre’s report indicates Nuclear plant not safe for Jaitapur


Sunday, Apr 28, 2013, | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

A section of the Jaitapur nuclear plant site selection committee’s report that was withheld by the government and was recently retrieved by a local Premanand Tiwarkar through the Right to Information Act (RTI) contradicts Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited‘s (NPCIL) claim that the site is fit for a nuclear plant.

A section of the Jaitapur nuclear plant site selection committee’s report that was withheld by the government and was recently retrieved by a local Premanand Tiwarkar through the Right to Information Act (RTI) contradicts Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited’s (NPCIL) claim that the site is fit for a nuclear plant.

In the past there have been other studies on the region that have stated that the area is prone to earthquakes and tsunamis. However, some pages of the September 2002 ‘Report no 3 Assessment of sites for locating nuclear plants’, which was kept confidential by Centre’s Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), is the first report made public by the government that states the site is unsafe for a nuclear plant.

The NPCIL had earlier assured locals that the 90-ft high plateau would be adequate to protect the plant in event of a tsunami but the DAE report contradicts NPCIL’s claim. The DAE states that the plateau is made of laterites which is derived from basaltic rock that make the site dangerous.

The report also states, “The seacoast at the Jaitapur site is prone to erosion by breaker (waves) as evidenced by the large number of boulders strewn below the cliff.”

Activists opposed to the nuclear site also say that DAE had initially stated that the construction of the plant would not require excavation. However, they have recently informed the locals that 20 to 30 metres of the lateritic cover and the underlying weathered zone would have to be excavated. This would make the plant susceptible to tsunamis. A 1972 study by the Site Selection Committee of the DAE also stated, “Tectonic features in the region can be regarded as potential sources of earthquakes as some of them may get reactivated at any point….”

 

Chain Fencing work by NPCIL begins at proposed Nuclear plant in Fatehabad, Haryana


Work on fencing starts at region’s first N-plant

Awaiting final environment impact assessment by the expert appraisal committee (EAC) of the Centre, the ambitious Fathebad nuclear plant in Gorakhpur is set to roll.

The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) — nodal agency for the project — has already started work on chain fencing the property that spans 1,313 acre where the plant will be situated and 187 acres where the residential colony will come up. The EAC, which has already taken stock of the ground level situation at the site, has forwarded certain queries on land compensation award and flooding of the area to the plant officials.

Over 10 senior officials of the plant have shifted their base to the site in Fatehabad. The plant will have two residential colonies — one for its employees and another for Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel.

Once the Ministry of Environment and Forest gives green signal to the project, the project will go to the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board for final approval.

T R Arora, Project Director of the plant, said: “We are ready with details to answer the queries. All formalities are now complete. The land is in our possession and is currently being chain-fenced. Once the MoEF clears the project in another two months or so, we will move for final clearance by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board. Most probably, will be able to start construction by year end.”

According to the policy, the home state is eligible to get 50 per cent share from the plant. This will majorly help the Haryana government, which is struggling to meet power demand of its consumers. The state that lacks enough own resources of power generation, has to buy power from private players during peak season.

Haryana is also vying to get its share in the plant on the basis of development indicators. If the NPCIL agreed to the demand, then the government will get another 5.6 per cent of power share from the plant. However, the NPCIL authorities are non-committal over the state’s claim on extra share.

Meanwhile, the state has given compensation to farmers whose land has been acquired for the project at the collector rate of Rs 20 lakh per acre besides a solatium at 30 per cent and interest at 12 per cent per annum under section-4 of the Land Acquisition Act-1894. The landowners have also received non-litigation incentive at 20 per cent in addition to the floor rate. The NPCIL had deposited the requisite amount of Rs 460 crore in June 2012 to the state for distribution of compensation.

The first phase (2X700 MW) of the project is expected to be commissioned during 2020. Under the first phase, 2×700 MW units (1,400 MW) are proposed to be set up at an estimated cost of Rs 14,500 crore.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/work-on-fencing-starts-at-region-s-first-nplant/1107370/0

 

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.

 

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