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‘Uranium not needed for 2030’

February 6, 2011 Leave a comment

From the Times of India

February 6, 2011

ALLAHABAD: The nuclear treaty was needed because the uranium deposits in the country would not last beyond 2020, but now we would have many new nuclear reactors, by the cooperation of the French and Russian. This will increase the nuclear power generation by over 10 times as compared to the present level, said Prof JP Mittal from the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai.

Prof Mittal was a visit to the Allahabad University on Saturday. He was the chief guest in a seminar organised by the chemistry department.

Speaking to TOI, he said, “After 2030 India would not need any uranium as the nuclear fuel as by then it would be able to use thorium as the nuclear fuel, research for which is being carried on for the past 25 years. The deal would help the country bridge the gap of uranium, needed for nuclear power generation after 2020.” He added that since India has the biggest Thorium deposits in the black sands of Kerala coast, we would become self-reliant in producing nuclear power.

How could you match the GDP growth, as predicted by the government, without having the needed power and if the country goes with thermal energy, it will again result in increasing the carbon emission, Prof Mittal said.

About the recent controversy regarding the Jaitapur nuclear power project in Maharashtra, Prof Mittal said nuclear power plants are located at least 200 miles away from the coal mines and the potential areas are not just picked up randomly. There is a site selection committee which suggests names of a place after taking into account various factors like flora and fauna, number of people that would be displaced, etc. The same was done in terms of Jaitapur, which is a new proposed 9900 MW power project of Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) at Madban village of Ratnagiri district where six nuclear reactors would come up with the help of France. It will be the largest nuclear power generating station in the world by net electrical power rating once completed, he added.

Nuclear Power Subsidies: The Gift that Keeps on Taking

February 1, 2011 Leave a comment

Report from the Union of Concerned Scientists

Link to pdf of Report

Government subsidies to the nuclear power industry over the past fifty years have been so large in proportion to the value of the energy produced that in some cases it would have cost taxpayers less to simply buy kilowatts on the open market and give them away, according to a February 2011 report by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

The report, Nuclear Power: Still Not Viable without Subsidies, looks at the economic impacts and policy implications of subsidies to the nuclear power industry—past, present, and proposed.

How would you like your subsidy?

Nuclear power subsidies vary by type of ownership (public or private), time frame of support (legacy, ongoing, or new), and the type of cost (or “attribute of production”) they address—from startup capital to decommissioning and waste disposal. Subsidies can take many forms, including tax breaks, accident liability caps, direct payments, and loan guarantees.

While the exact value of these subsidies can be difficult to pin down, even conservative estimates add up to a substantial percentage of the value of the power nuclear plants produce—approaching or even exceeding 100 percent in the case of legacy subsidies and subsidies to new privately-owned reactors

Subsidies prove addictive

Subsidies were originally intended to provide temporary support for the fledgling nuclear power industry, but the promised day when the industry could prosper without them and power from nuclear reactors would be “too cheap to meter” has yet to arrive. It is unlikely to arrive any time soon, as cost estimates for new reactors continue to escalate and the nuclear power lobby demands even more support from taxpayers. Piling new subsidies on top of existing ones will provide the industry with little incentive to rework its business model to internalize its considerable costs and risks.

Nuclear subsidies effectively separate risk from reward, shifting the burden of possible losses onto the public and encouraging speculative investment. By masking the true cost of nuclear power, subsidies also allow the industry to exaggerate its economic competitiveness; consequently, they diminish or delay support for more economical and less risky alternatives like energy efficiency and renewable energy.
Recommendations

The report concludes with a dozen recommendations for policymakers, including reducing subsidies to existing reactors, adopting market-oriented approaches to uranium mining royalties and waste management financing, and incorporating the costs of preventing nuclear proliferation and terrorism into economic assessments of new reactors.

The Kanyakumari Declaration

June 7, 2009 Leave a comment

Statement of The National Convention on “The Politics of Nuclear Energy and Resistance,”
June 4-6, 2009, Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu, India

by National Alliance of Anti-nuclear Movements (NAAM)

From South Asia Citizens Web

We, the undersigned organizations, peoples’ movements and concerned citizens committed to building a world free from nuclear exploitation, nuclear business, nuclear power and nuclear weapons, do hereby declare the following:

1. In the context of the unprecedented threats facing the world due to global warming and the rapid depletion of conventional energy sources, the nuclear establishment is most opportunistically pushing nuclear energy as a climate-friendly energy source. However, all the activities associated with nuclear power generation – the mining and processing of uranium, the building of nuclear power stations involving huge amounts of cement and steel, the long construction process, the decommissioning of plants and the handling of radioactive waste – are highly unsafe and expensive, and cause enormous climate-changing pollution. Nuclear energy is not cheap, safe, clean or sustainable. It also does not offer a solution to our energy problems.

2. The government of India is aggressively expanding nuclear power generation and enhancing nuclear business with countries such as the United States, Russia, France, Kazakhstan and others without any regard for norms of democratic decision making. We express outrage over the fact that the newly-elected UPA government is conveniently choosing to interpret the verdict of the recent elections as a mandate for nuclearization.

3. A highly populated country like India does have an increasing need for energy. But for that very reason the energy options we choose must be economical, sustainable, safe and environmentally-friendly. Moreover energy distribution must be made more equitable, just and efficient.

4. In India, huge resources have already been wasted on nuclear power projects that are expensive, inefficient, hazardous and also potentially catastrophic. The Indian nuclear establishment has expressed interest in amending the Indian Atomic Energy Act, 1962 to facilitate privatization. While private companies will make money, Indian taxpayers and ordinary citizens will bear the cost of dealing with all the liabilities such as nuclear waste, decommissioning, possible accidents, public health issues and other dangerous consequences.

5. The workings of the nuclear establishment in the country are shrouded in mystery and protected by draconian laws of official secrecy in complete contradiction to our constitutional right to information. Legislation as secretive and repressive as the Indian Atomic Energy Act, 1962 should have no place in a democracy.

6. Nuclear energy establishments such as the Indian Rare Earths (IRE) in Kerala and Tamil Nadu, Kalpakkam, Rawatbhatta and Jadugoda have already created major health problems for local citizens.

7. India’s nuclear program has been and continues to be vigorously resisted by the people of this country whose struggles in the past have stopped two nuclear power stations – Peringome and Kothamangalam – from coming up. This convention declares total support and solidarity to the struggles of people resisting the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant in Tirunelveli district, Tamil Nadu. It also declares support and solidarity to people in all other parts of the country such as Jadugoda, Meghalaya, Haripur and Jaitapur who are struggling against uranium mining and nuclear power plants.

In view of the above, we, the gathered participants of the National Convention on “The Politics of Nuclear Energy and Resistance” demand that:

1. Immediate compensation and health facilities be provided to people suffering from radiation illnesses such as cancer, genetic disorders, skin diseases, reproductive health problems and other major health effects caused by nuclear establishments, nuclear mining and fuel sites and other allied nuclear industries and activities.
2. All persons living in the vicinity of nuclear establishments and nuclear fuel sites be declared potentially radiation-affected and that clear-cut mechanisms be evolved for appropriate compensation.
3. All activities related to the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant be immediately stopped.
4. The proposed nuclear power plants at Haripur (West Bengal), Mithi Virdi (Gujarat), Madban (Maharashtra), Pitti Sonapur (Orissa) and Kovada (Andhra Pradesh) be immediately scrapped.
5. The draconian Indian Atomic Energy Act, 1962 be revoked forthwith.
6. The Right to Information (RTI) Act be amended to apply to all aspects of the nuclear establishment.

M. Sebastian Varma, Kanyakumari District Fisher Sangam Federation.

P. Kishan Rao, Forum for Sustainable Development (FSD), Hyderabad.

Dr. K. S. Lakshmi, Movement Against Uranium Project, Hyderabad.

Advocate K. Nandini, Jagriti Lawyers Forum, Kochi.

A. Mathias, Karungal, Kanyakumari.

J. Sahayaraj, T.M.S.S.S, Tuticorin.

Sandhya Banda, Hyderabad.

B. Amalapushpam, Ahilam, Kanyakumari.

B. Sakunthala, Ahilam, Kanyakumari.

N. Mohamed Ansari, SEWA Union, Trivandrum.

K. Sajaya, Hyderabad.

R. Sowmini, Ahilam, Kanyakumari Dist.

Thomas Mohan, School of International Relations & Politics, Kottayam.

Advaita R. Prasad, School of International Relations & Politics, Kottayam.

Y. Nirmala, Hyderabad.

Dr. S.P. Udayakumar, People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy, Nagercoil.

K.M. Seethi, Kottayam.

M. Krishna Moorthi, D.F.F.W.U. Tuticorin.

George Gomes, D. F. F. W. U., Tuticorin.

A. Muthukrishnan, Madurai.

Ajit Muricken, Mumbai.

Karuna Raina, Bangalore.

Itty Abraham, Trivandrum.

Jagadish G. Chandra, Bangalore.

K. P. Sasi, Bangalore.

S. Sudha, SAHAHEEVAN, Bangalore.

J. Christopher, JASUL, Kanyakumari Dist.

C. Boaz, Kanyakumari Dist.

Assunta, CHEERS, Thoothukudi.

Dr. Elsey Jacob, Nava Jyothi, Kanyakumari Dist.

R. S. Lal Mohan, Conservation of Nature Trust, Nagercoil.

Gnana Surabhi Mani, Madurai.

K.P. Thava Singh, Madurai.

S. Paramarthalingam, Nagercoil.

V. Shahul Hameed, Nagercoil.

N. Balasubramaniam, Kanyakumari Dist.

R. Mohan Dhas, Nagercoil.

P. Karthika, Nagercoil.

M. King Thanesh Kumar, Madurai.

S. Dhanraj, PEAL, Madurai.

D. B. Jayalaxmy, Neyyoor.

D. B. Vijayalaxmy, Neyyoor.

Ravila Kamaraj, Kanyakumari Dist.

Fr. S. Antony Claret, Parish Priest, Kurumpanai.

A. Samuel Dinagaran, Sirumugai.

N. Sudandiran, Sirumugai.

V.T. Padmanabhan, Mumbai.

A. Ravi, Thatikkarankonam.

T. B. Dinesh, Bangalore.

Vidya Parthasarathy, Bangalore.

S. Eason, Sangamam, Kanyakumari Dist.

D. Gabriele, Madurai.

Nalini Nayak, Trivandrum.

S. Bharathidasan, Arulagam, Tirunelveli Dist.

Y. David, Madurai.

M.K. Ajithkumar, Nagercoil.

V. Antony Dhason, Kanyakumari Dist.

P. Saravanabavan, Nagercoil.

S.M. Prithiviraj, Nagercoil.

Sahadevan. K, Anumukti, Surat.

Ranjana Mandal, Surat.

P. Alexander, Nagercoil.

William Stanley, Semiliguda, Orissa.

K.C. Santhosh Kumar, Thrissur, Kerala.

Fr. Benny Benedict, Thrissur, Kerala.

Surendra Gadekar, Sampoorna Kranti Vidyalaya, Gujarat.

Adv. M. Vetri Selvam, Sathur.

K. Ramachandran, Public Health Forum, Kerala.

M. Rajan, Arulakam, Tirunelveli Dist.

C. Berlin, Neithal Makkal Iyakkam, Karungal.

Vilas Shende, Mun Memoral Hospital, Nagpur.

Rajani Shende, Nagpur.

Adv. Prakash Meghe,Nagpur.

Kajal Meghe, Nagpur.

Vijayanand, Chennai.

C. Mukesh, Nagercoil.

M.C. Arunan, Mumbai.

Prasanna Kumar, Bangalore.

Gopalakrishnan, Bangalore.

Sageendratheertha, Bangalore.

A.J. Thivagar, Nagercoil.

Adv. S. Sivasubramanian, Koodankulam.

B. Walter Kennedy, Kanyakumari Dist.

R. Arihara Suthan, Nagercoil.

A. Jenifer Raj, Thoothukudi.

M. Rubitta, Kanyakumari.

M. P. Jesuraj, Tirunelveli Dist.

A.S. Ravi, Koodankulam, Tirunelveli Dist.

Anivar Aravind, Bangalore.

C. Saratchandran, Tripunthura.

J.J.B. Venis, Kovalam, Kanyakumari.

P. Baburaj, Trivandrum, Kerala.

K. Satish, Trivandrum, Kerala.

Anil Chaudhary, New Delhi.

Wilfred. D, New Delhi.

Achni Vanaik, New Delhi.

Magline, Costal Women’s Movement, Kerala.

I. Rajesh, Kanyakumari.

Y. Marytheras, Thuckalay.

M. Deedee, Kanyakumari.

Lidwin, Women’s Collective, Nagercoil.

J. Joseph Suresh, Kanyakumari Dist.

Mr. L.A Arul Raj, SHED, Kanyakumari Dist.

A. Isye Singh, Social Welfare Associate, Kanyakumari Dist.

John P. Rayan, Tuticorin.

G. Anton Gomez, President, National Union of Fishermen, Tuticorin.

J. Verdin, Koottapuli.

J. Angel, CHEERS, Koottapuli.

A. Initha, Tirunelveli Dist.

K. Nija, Kanyakumari Dist.

M.G.S. Maharajan, Kanyakumari Dist.

Mrs. Meera Udayakumar, Nagercoil.

K. Zechariah, Erukkanthurai.

Areva offers India stakes in Uranium mines

June 6, 2009 Leave a comment

From Bloomberg via Times of India

June 6, 2009

Areva SA, the world’s biggest maker of atomic reactors, has offered India stakes in African uranium mines to ensure supplies for fuel-starved plants, the head of the nation’s monopoly nuclear generator said. State-run Nuclear Power Corp of India is considering investing in as many as four mines, including projects in South Africa and Nigeria, chairman Shreyans Kumar Jain said.

Patricia Marie, a spokeswoman for Areva in Paris, didn’t immediately comment when contacted. “Some of the mines that we have been offered stakes in are already producing and some have yet to be developed,” Jain said. “We may invest up to 26% of the project cost,” he said, declining to give more details about the mines or how much the company would spend on the proposed acquisitions.

Nuclear Power is also seeking long-term supply contracts from Kazakhstan, Canada and Brazil as it orders reactors worth at least $14 billion from overseas, Jain said. India needs to invest in uranium assets to ensure fuel for a planned 14-fold increase in nuclear generation capacity by 2030 after a three- decade ban on supplies to the country was lifted last year.

Australia, home to the world’s biggest-known uranium reserves, has refused to sell the fuel to the country because it hasn’t signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Buying shares in Areva’s mines will help boost supplies for locally built atomic plants as domestic reserves of uranium are insufficient for India’s requirements, Jain said on Thursday.

Nuclear Power may spend more than a planned $1.2 billion to buy equity in overseas uranium mines, including those in Russia and Kazakhastan, he said. Uranium Supply Areva, which is building the first large-capacity atomic project in India with overseas equipment, will also supply uranium to run the reactors for 60 years, chairperson Anne Lauvergeon said in February after signing a preliminary sales agreement.

Nuclear Power will buy two Areva reactors of 1,650-megawatt capacity each and may increase the number to six, according to the preliminary agreement. The project will be built at Jaitapur in the western state of Maharashtra and Nuclear Power may complete acquiring almost 1,000 hectares of land for it in the “next few months,” Jain said.

The two companies are waiting for France’s parliament to approve an inter-governmental agreement before raising 3 billion euros ($4.2 billion) for the project, he said. A final accord may be signed next year after obtaining French parliamentary and regulatory approvals, Jain said.

India, facing uranium fuel shortage, presses on with nuclear power programme

June 15, 2007 Leave a comment

T.S. Subramanian in The Hindu

June 15, 2007

CHENNAI: Firm plans are under way to press ahead with India’s indigenous nuclear power programme should, for some reason, the proposed Indo-U.S. nuclear agreement not come through. The focus in the immediate future will be on pressurised heavy water reactors (PHWRs) that have become the workhorse of the Indian nuclear power programme. These PHWRs use natural uranium as fuel, and heavy water as coolant and moderator.

S.K. Jain, Chairman and Managing Director of the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL), which designs, builds, and operates nuclear power reactors in India, told The Hindu : “As far as the indigenous PHWR programme is concerned, it is moving at the right pace, and the future is bright.”

Preparations are on course for the fifth nuclear power reactor at Rawatbhata in Rajasthan to reach criticality in August or September 2007. “Work is also progressing well,” Mr. Jain said, on two more heavy water reactors — Rajasthan-6 and Kaiga-4 in Karnataka — to be started up by March 2008. These three reactors have a capacity of 220 MWe each.

Mr. Jain noted that India would take a big step forward in its indigenous nuclear power programme when excavation will begin by the end of 2007 for two PHWRs of 700 MWe each at Kakrapar in Gujarat. “The design of the 700 MWe PHWR has been completed. Detailed engineering is in full swing.” These will be the biggest PHWRs to be built by the NPCIL.

India currently has 17 operating reactors, with a total installed capacity of 4,120 MWe. Of these, 15 are PHWRs. The other two are light water reactors (LWRs) built by the U.S. at Tarapur in Maharashtra. These LWRs use enriched uranium as fuel, and light water as coolant and moderator.

Real challenge

The real challenge is the nuclear fuel constraint. If the capacity factor of the indigenous PHWRs was at a high of 90 per cent in 2002-03, it has declined to 65 per cent. This reflects the serious shortage in the supply of natural uranium to fuel the PHWRs.

The opening of new uranium mines and mills has lagged behind the demand for the metal. There are uranium mines at Jaduguda, Turamdih, Bhatin, and Narwapahar, all in Jharkhand. A mill is operating at Jaduguda for processing the natural uranium into yellow cake, which is sent to the Nuclear Fuel Complex at Hyderabad to be fabricated into the fuel bundles that power the PHWRs.

According to Ramendra Gupta, Chairman and Managing Director of the Uranium Corporation of India Limited, the situation will soon be under control when a new mill at Turamdih for processing the natural uranium into yellow cake “will be commissioned for trial run” by the end of June 2007. A new mine at Bandurung in Jharkhand is already producing natural uranium ore, and the stockpile will be sent to the Turamdih mill once it is commissioned.

Land acquisition

“We have started the construction of a new mine at Mouldih, also in Jharkhand,” Mr. Gupta said. Environmental clearance has been given for constructing a uranium mine and mill near Thummalapalli in Kadapa district, Andhra Pradesh. Land acquisition is on.

A public hearing was held at Nongbah Jynrin in Meghalaya on June 12 on a uranium mine and mill to be set up near Domiasiat. “We will get over the mismatch era in the near future,” said Mr. Jain.

Five reactors are now under construction. They include the fifth and sixth PHWRs at Rajasthan, and the fourth at Kaiga, each with a capacity of 220 MWe. The NPCIL is also building two LWRs, each with a capacity of 1,000 MWe, at Kudankulam, Tamil Nadu.

The Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Limited (BHAVINI), a public sector undertaking of the Department of Atomic Energy, is building a 500-MWe Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR) at Kalpakkam in Tamil Nadu. These six reactors will have a total capacity of 3,160 MWe.

Of these six, Rajasthan-5 will attain criticality in August or September 2007. Rajasthan-6 and Kaiga-4 will be started up by March 2008. The PFBR will be commissioned in 2010.

The NPCIL has had a difficult time, over the past year-and-a-half, with the delay in the arrival of equipment from Russia for the two reactors at Kudankulam.

S.K. Agrawal, Director (Projects), NPCIL, told The Hindu : “The situation is under control now. Things are picking up. All the major equipment for both the units has arrived. Civil works had been completed 100 per cent for both the units.” Major equipment in the reactor building, including equipment for the nuclear steam supply system for unit-1, has been erected.

Installation on

“We are pulling up unit-2 to follow unit-1 closely,” Mr. Agrawal added. “Electrical systems are in an advanced stage of installation for this unit. Close monitoring is going on.” With “all-out efforts being made” to speed up the work, Kudankulam-1 will be operational in 2008 and its twin six months later.

As far as the new projects are concerned, the breaking of ground for the construction of two PHWRs of 700 MWe each will take place at Kakrapar by the end of 2007, and in Rajasthan for two more PHWRs of similar capacity in 2008. “Environmental clearance has been obtained for the projects at both the sites,” Mr. Agrawal explained.

Public hearing

A public hearing was held on June 2 at Tirunelveli for the construction of two more Russian LWRs of 1000 MWe each at Kudankulam (units-3 and 4).

In anticipation of the Indo-U.S. civilian nuclear agreement fructifying, pre-project activities are going on at Jaitapur in Ratnagiri district in Maharashtra for building two LWRs of 1,000 MWe each. According to informed sources, “If the agreement does not come through, we will build four more PHWRs of 700 MWe each at the existing sites. The next three years will be tough. After that, the situation will be under control.”