#India – High Power, Yelllow Oscar Winner film on Tarapur Atomic Power Station


 

NEW DELHI, June 7, 2013, The Hindu

Power play

Budhaditya Bhattacharya

  • A still from 'High Power'.
    A still from ‘High Power’.
  • A still from 'High Power'.
    A still from ‘High Power’.
  • Pradeep Indulkar.
    Pradeep Indulkar.

Pradeep Indulkar talks about “High Power”, which won a Yellow Oscar at the Uranium Film Festival recently

Having worked for 12 years with the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Pradeep Indulkar is an unlikely candidate for directing a film opposed to nuclear power. His High Power, a 27-minute documentary about the health issues faced by residents of Tarapur, a town in Maharashtra, and home to the Tarapur Atomic Power Station, recently won the Yellow Oscar in the short film category in the Rio de Janeiro leg of the Uranium Film Festival. Films from all over the world which shed light on the problems associated with nuclear energy are screened and discussed here.

Having quit BARC in 1994 owing to health problems, Indulkar, a mechanical engineer, worked in the field of environment education, which would have doubtless served him well during the making of this film. In 2009, he came across the struggle against the Jaitapur nuclear plant, and joined it. This steered him towards Tarapur, the oldest nuclear power plant and the closest to Mumbai.

“The govt. was showing a very rosy picture of Tarapur on TV, so a few of us thought of going there and interviewing the people…That material was very strong, people were talking from their heart, and instead of showing it on a news channel, I thought it could be made into a documentary,” Indulkar informs. Combining his passion for storytelling from his college days with a new found interest in the documentary format, Indulkar set sail.

After a few more interviews, a narrative emerged, which sees the goings-on at Tarapur through the eyes of a city dweller who returns to his native village. The documentary focuses on the acute situation there, and the everyday nature of morbidity. “Rate of death due to cancer is increasing; the other major problems are loss of fertility, stillbirths and deformed babies. Paralysis and heart attacks caused by high blood pressure are also on the rise,” the director informs. With these, the documentary also examines issues of rehabilitation and loss of livelihood.

Like most documentary filmmakers, Indulkar faced a shortage of funds while making the film. “In the making of a documentary on some critical issues the main problem a documentary maker faces is the funding. Though we have a few funding agencies they mainly give funds to informative and educational films. But documentary is the genre of film which brings out the truth and most of the times the truth is a bit bitter, which some agencies do not wish to support,” he says.

He was helped out by a number of people who agreed to be a part of the film on an honorary basis. While Tom Alter and Vikram Gokhale did the voiceovers in English and Hindi respectively, a Marathi film producer funded the editing of the film.

The film is yet to obtain a clearance from the Censor Board of Film Certification in India, which means it cannot be shown publicly in India yet. Meanwhile, Indulkar is working on finishing the film he had started a few years ago, about the heritage structures of Mumbai.

 

Yellow Oscar for Indian film at Uranium Film Festival


A documentary on the people displaced by the coming up of Tarapur Atomic Power Station, India‘s first nuclear plant near Mumbai, has bagged the Yellow Oscar at the Uranium Film Festival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The 27-minute documentary, titled “High Power”, was the maiden directorial venture of Pradeep Indulkar, an anti-nuclear activist from Ratnagiri, coastal Maharashtra.

“My documentary received unprecedented response at the festival and was screened several times, besides special screening in Rio de Janeiro colleges. The issue tackled in it is true for almost all the nuclear plants and the truths they leave behind,” Indulkar told IANS from Brazil.

Chandrasen Arekar, a displaced farmer from Tarapur, Thane district, received the award to a thundering ovation, from the chief guest, Junko Watanabe, the last survivor of Hiroshima nuclear holocaust during World War II.

In his acceptance speech, Indulkar said that apart from all the sorrows and distress highlighted by the documentary, the Yellow Oscar was a golden moment in his life as a filmmaker.

“I accept this award on behalf of all nuclear project affected people of Tarapur and I dedicate it to all those farmers and fishermen who lost their land, home and livelihood for the nuclear power plant,” Indulkar said at the awards ceremony Sunday night in the Brazilian capital.

Incidentally, Indulkar is among the leading personalities opposing the proposed 9,900 MW Jaitapur Nuclear Power Plant coming up with French collaboration in Ratnagiri.

Bouyed by the response to the documentary, Indulkar has submitted it for several international film festivals including India-Japan Film Fest in Japan, a film festival in Stuttgart, Germany and later at the Mumbai International Film Festival.

About the release of the documentary in India, Indulkar said the Indian censors have restricted the movie release only through DVD.

source-  http://www.beyondnuclear.org

Date

 

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.”

 

#India- Nuclear radiation impact being ignored? #disability #healthcare


Date: 24 March 2013
Dilnaaz Boga, March 24, 2013 , DNA

On his recent visit to Mumbai, Nobel Laureate Dr John Byrne, Director of the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy, said that every society has to make a basic decision as far as use of nuclear power technology went.

“US has not ordered a nuclear plant in 35 years. There has been a record of incidents all over the world unanticipated by engineers and scientists and that is why so many countries have had to rethink the viability of nuclear technology.”

But some Indian scientists feel otherwise, despite the fact that the ‘Interim Report on Tarapur’ has found indicators which show radiation-related problem among employees of Tarapur Atomic Power Station (TAPS) and villages close to it. The World Nuclear Association expects India’s nuclear capacity to grow fourfold from its present capacity of 5,000 MW to 20,000 megawatts by 2020, making it the third-biggest market after China and Russia.

Health impact of radiation

Public health care centres’ doctors, locals, physicians in the vicinity and the medical supervisor were interviewed by scientist Dr V Pugazhenthi from Tamil Nadu, who is renowned for this credible studies on the health impact of radiation around the Kalpakkam nuclear site. He is also one of the members of people’s expert committee in the ongoing anti-nuclear movement in Koodankulam.

Cancer, goitre, infertility, mental retardation common

“I found 100 cases of cancer in 2010 among TAPS employees. Local physicians said that incidents of cancer have been on the rise in the area in the last few years, particularly hepatoma, ovarian cancer, bone cancer, breast cancer and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. But there has been no intervention for the victims,” he added.

Cancer victims fear being ostracised so that they don’t tell anyone about it, he added.

“We are trying to decrease the exposure among workers at the plant,” said MoS Rajendra Gavit to DNA.

“Technologically, this system is out of sync, and it is economically less competitive if you switch to other energy sources,” Byrne explained.

Director Rajan Badwe of Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, where patients from Tarapur and its surrounding villages are directed told DNA, “Cancer cases are not on the rise. If at all if there is any rise, it’s a small one and it is similar to any other area.”

Goitre cases have also been found in the surrounding villages, local physicians corroborated in the report. “A casual walk through the villages helped me identify 15-20 Goitre cases. TAPS doctors had carried a survey on thyroid problems by the medical superintendent denied it,” said Dr VPugazhenthi, who had conducted a survey in Chinchani village, 8km from the plant.

Back then, 40 cases of infertility were reported by a local doctor in the survey. “Spontaneous abortions, still births, hormonal imbalances in women in the form of excessive bleeding, decreased birth weight and birth defects on the rise,” elaborated Dr V Pugazhenthi.

RK Gupta, who worked for BARC for over 30 years in the fuel reprocessing division in the plutonium plant has been exposed to radiation, said, “Exposures are a regular affair. Workers have died of skin diseases and cancer. Despite this, international rules for workers are not fully implemented. There is a silence about this as people compromise because of their economic condition. Even contaminated tools that are stolen and scarp metal slow poison people. Just like people get poisoned from fish exposed to radiation very far from the site.”

Cases of mental retardation, including Down’s Syndrome, autoimmune arthritis, particularly rheumatoid arthritis, were found in villagers along with high instances of cataract and myopia at a young age.

No new health study has been commissioned in the area.

 

#India- When life is cheaper than nuclear power


Published: Monday, Jan 7, 2013, 10:00 IST
By Dilnaz Boga | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
Members of New Socialist Alternative protest against nuclear power in Bangalore on Wednesday, October 24, 2012. (Pic used for representational purpose only)
Anantha Subramanyam K | DNA

Poonam Hambire, a resident of Ghivali village, 12km from Boisar in Thane district, is at the forefront of the anti-nuclear agitation against the Tarapur Atomic Power Station (TAPS). “Women have to come forward as false cases are slapped against the male protesters in Tarapur,” she alleges.

Her village lies within the 1.6km radius around one the country’s oldest nuclear reactors built by General Electric in the 1960s. It’s the same model as Japan’s Fukushima reactor. The effects of radiation are obvious in every home not only in Ghivali but also in the neighbouring villages.
At Hambire’s home, her eight-year-old nephew’s garlanded photo adorns the wall. “He died of lung cancer, but we couldn’t get his medical reports from the government heath centre. It’s hard to talk about it as his father who is employed at the plant will lose his job. None of the sick villagers get their medical papers,” she claims.

Grievances galore
Most of India’s 20 reactors are on the list of the most unreliable 50 in the world and are being monitored by the IAEA, says former navy captain Dr Buddhi Subbarao, who has a PhD in nuclear technology from IIT-B and is an advocate in the Supreme Court.

The decommissioning cost of a nuclear reactor (about $300 million-5.6 billion) is more than the cost of construction and commissioning. That’s why TAPS hasn’t been decommissioned despite the American manufacturers’ advice to the government to do so in 1995, Subbarao adds.

Ramakrishna Tandel, secretary, Maharashtra Machimar Kruti Samiti, who has led the fishermen’s community in the area for years, says, “The mangroves have dried due to the hot water released from the plant’s cooling system. We have found boiled fish 2km away from shore. The breeding patterns of the fish have also changed and our businesses have collapsed.”

“Forget listening to our grievances, they don’t even let us stand at the gate. We are sandwiched between TAPS and the sea. Earlier, we had 28 boats, and 10 families would live off each boat. Now, we have just one,” he adds. The government has proposed 14 more nuclear plants in the area.

The discharge has increased considerably after TAPS 3 and 4 started, say villagers. The adjoining sea and creek continue to bear the brunt and many species of fish have diminished completely. Chronic illnesses are on the rise, observes environmentalist Girish Raut.

Nuclear troubles
All nuclear-spent fuel from India is being brought to BARC, Tarapur, for reprocessing and later, cooling, storing and intermediate burial-storage, amounting to high concentration of nuclear activity material in Tarapur. Tandel explains that NPCIL has no evacuation routes for the villagers in case of emergency, or even any medical facilities, food or a shelter plan. Also, residents of Palghar and Dahanu are also at high risk. “Hence, we are opposing the expansion of the facility and the port that Jindal is going to build here,” says Tandel.

Every fortnight, the authorities take samples of soil and water for testing from the villages in the plant’s vicinity, but the results are never shared with the inhabitants.

A 40-year-old maintenance mechanic from the neighbouring village of Pofran, who works at TAPS, complained about pain in his joints. “About 29 of us have been employed on contracts so we get no medical treatment. I earn Rs300 a day; how will I spend on doctors? We have to live with what we suffer from,” he says.

“People don’t talk about cancer here due to the stigma. Who will give their daughter’s hand in marriage to such a family?” asks deputy sarpanch of Ghivali Sunil Prabhu. Take the example of Prakash Ambhire, 47. He died of eye cancer last November. “He worked as a helper in the plant. He didn’t get any treatment and there are no case papers. He is survived by his aged mother, a son and three daughters,” Prabhu adds.

RK Gupta, 73, who worked with BARC’s fuel reprocessing division of the plutonium plant as an engineer and has been exposed to radiation, is suffering from its after-effects.

“Labourers and contractuals are appointed from the roadside. There is no proper health procedure. They die on the roadside after their contracts are through. But employees are treated differently. I was over-exposed and I am handicapped now. I was diagnosed early but I am suffering because of medical negligence. I have psoriasis,” he says.

Apathetic state
Rajendra Gavit, minister of state for tribal development and labour affairs, who addressed the fishing community on World Fisheries day last month, said, “Project-affected people will get permanent jobs in the plant. We are fighting to make 200 workers permanent every year.”

Gavit added, “I realise the issue about cancer and radiation. Doses (radiation) for the employees need to be reduced. We have been trying for their safety all these years. Now, we are trying to decrease their exposure.” At TAPS, contractual labourers may be exposed to 1,500 doses in two months and employees to 1,000 a year.

Vivek Sundara, an anti-nuclear protester, says, “Studies from all over the world show that any kind of radiation is bad. If it’s harmless like the government says, then why are women told not to breastfeed after mammogram? Government needs to stop using nuclear energy and switch to more sustainable and eco-friendly forms. This toxicity will last for millions of years,” he adds.

Scientist Dr V Pugazhenthi, who had conducted a survey in Chinchani village, 8km from the plant two years ago, said cases of neuroblastoma can be attributed to radiation. “Even 40km away from the plant cases of unexplained anaemia, Down’s Syndrome, tumours, high rate of abortions and miscarriages and multiple myeloma are seen.”

 

Dear Prime Minister, are you listening to the right people, Sir?


REBUTTAL TO ‘SAFETY’ CLAIMS MADE BY PM MANMOHAN SINGH ON MAY 16, 2012

Anuj Wankhede

The Prime Minister of India – on Wednesday May 16, 2012- made a statement on the floor of the House regarding the safety of the civilian nuclear facilities in the country.

Even WITHOUT a natural disaster, here is a list of publicly available Civilian Installation incidents that have already occurred within the country.

How dare he mislead the nation in this way? Nuclear accidents are not road and railway accidents, which happen almost daily in our country.

Why are you considering data only AFTER Fukushima? And telling the House that we are safe?

Here is our previous to Fukushima record –

4 May 1987 – Kalpakkam
Fast Breeder Test Reactor at Kalpakkam.
Refueling accident ruptures the reactor core resulting in a two-year shutdown.

10 Sep 1989 – Tarapur, Maharashtra
After operators at the Tarapur Atomic Power Station find reactor leaking radioactive Iodine at more than 700 times normal levels, repairs to the reactor take more than a year.

13 May 1992 – Tarapur, Maharashtra
A malfunctioning tube causes the Tarapur Atomic Power Station to release 12 curies of radioactivity.

31 Mar 1993 – Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh
The Narora Atomic Power Station suffers a fire at two of its steam turbine blades, damaging the heavy water reactor and almost leading to a meltdown.

2 Feb 1995 – Kota, Rajasthan
The Power Station leaks radioactive helium and heavy water into the
Rana Pratap Sagar River necessitating a two-year shutdown for repairs.

22 Oct 2002 – Kalpakkam
Almost 100 kg radioactive sodium at a fast breeder reactor leaks into a purification cabin, ruining a number of valves and operating systems.

Sir, you ‘may’ be a honorable man. But then who is giving you wrong information? As a man of economics, you may not be aware of the seriousness of these incidents.

We, the citizens of the country, fear for the worst, especially considering the disastrous experiences of past accidents and natural disasters in India.

We do not expect timely relief.

We do not expect evacuation.

We do not expect rehabilitation.

We do not expect compensation.

We do not expect justice.

We do not even expect truth from the establishment.

We ONLY EXPECT YOU TO STOP THIS NUCLEAR MADNESS.

We will tell you the ways to progress without Nuclear Energy. We have enough scientists who say NO to nuclear power and who are willing to show you the way.

Are you listening, Sir?
Your democracy asks you!

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