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Jairam: Will consider extra safeguards for Jaitapur

March 16, 2011 1 comment

From the Indian Express

March 16, 2011

Even as the nuclear crisis in Japan deepens and concerns over nuclear safety mount across the globe, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh on Tuesday said that additional safeguards and design specifics would be considered for the proposed Jaitapur nuclear plant in Maharashtra. The proposed plant off the Ratnagiri coast has been the target of protests by social and environmental activists.

“Yesterday the Prime Minister made a detailed statement in Parliament. I know the Nuclear Power Corporation is re-looking on its safety systems, re-looking at design,” Ramesh said in response to a query on whether the government was reconsidering the project in the wake of the radioactive leaks being reported in Japan’s nuclear facility following the earthquake and tsunami.

The minister said though the issue was one of concern to all, the issue of safety at nuclear plants was under the purview of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board. He was speaking on the sidelines of a conclave on Business and Climate Change here.

“This appropriately is a subject that has to be dealt with by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board and based on the technical reviews that the NPCIL (Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited) does, we will certainly be in touch with them, and if additional safeguards have to be built in as part of the environmental clearance, we will certainly look at it,” he added.

Meanwhile, the CPM issued a politburo statement, calling for immediate halt to the Jaitapur project. “Given the crisis which has developed in some of the nuclear power reactors in Japan…, it is imperative that the environmental clearance given to the project be withdrawn,” it said.

20 years, 92 quakes: Ground trembles beneath Jaitapur’s feet

March 16, 2011 Leave a comment

Viju B in Times of India

March 16, 2011,

MUMBAI: Fukushima has become part of the local lexicon at Jaitapur. As news of the apocalypse-like situation in Japan reaches the far corners of villages in and around the area, residents have increased their agitation against the proposed 9,900 mw nuclear power plant.

Jaitapur area falls in the seismic zone 3 category, and data from the Geological Survey of India shows that between 1985 and 2005, there were 92 earthquakes.

The biggest earthquake in Jaitapur, recorded in 1993, measured 6.2 on the Richter scale. The ground is unstable, say activists and geologists, and there is no guarantee that the government’s safeguards will protect the people and ecologically sensitive Konkan coast from a nuclear disaster should there be another earthquake.

Environmental activist Pradeep Indulkar said: “The third explosion at the Fukushima plant in Japan on Tuesday confirms that in the event of an earthquake, precautionary measures and safeguards will not avert a disaster. It is better not to have a nuclear power plant in this seismic zone region.”

At Shivane village, 20 km from Jaitapur, Chandrakant Padkar remembers the day the earth shook and the road outside his house vanished. The unreported earthquake took place two years ago, and the village still bears the scars. Now, with the government’s plans to set up the nuclear plant here, the gorge has taken on a more ominous avatar.

Protest against Jaitapur nuclear plant

March 16, 2011 1 comment

Siddharth Gadkari in Pune Mirror

March 16, 2011

With Japan’s nuclear power plant explosions, locals and activists have intensified their agitation against the proposed Jaitapur nuclear power project in Ratnagiri.

The Lokshasan Andolan strongly condemned the project, terming it a fascist onslaught on people meant to crush their resistance. Lokshashan Andolan’s Lal Nishan Party (Leninist) Lokayat held a press conference to address this on Tuesday.

Former Justice P B Sawant, founder of the organisation, criticised  the state saying, “Till before the Japanese  nuclear meltdown, India’s nuclear authorities said that if that earthquake-prone Japan could operate nuclear reactors, then India could definitely do so. However, this disaster clearly shows what could happen in Jaitapur.”

He also said that if a major accident were to take place at Jaitapur-Madban, then the western region of Maharashtra, including Pune, would be radiocatively contaminated even 25 years later.

Quite a large area would also have to be permanently evacuated. “Are we ever going to allow this,” he asked. While  addressing MLAs and MLCs in the central hall of Maharashtra Legislature on Monday, former Atomic Energy Commission chairman, Anil Kakodkar said, “Indian nuclear reactors have ‘engineered safeguards’ which would be activated automatically in case of an emergency.”

Niraj Jain of Lokayat replied with, “Nuclear experts worldwide have described India’s nuclear power plants as amongst the ‘most dangerous in the world’. There have been at least 300 accidents at India’s reactors, for example the accident at Narora in Uttar Pradesh in 1993 and Kakrapar in 1994. How can Kakodkar guarantee the safety of the Jaitapur plant?”

As retired judges, academicians and scientists who support the struggle have been barred from entering Ratnagari, activists plan to stage a Dharna on Thursday, March 17, outside the Pune’s Collectorate, demanding the Jaitapur Nuclear Plant be scrapped.

The government said additional environmental safeguards at the proposed Jaitapur plant can be considered. “What has happened is horrendous. Japan, which is best prepared to deal with earthquakes to lose so much life and property and particularly the nuclear catastrophe is a great concern for all of us,” Jairam Ramesh said in Delhi earlier today.