Skip to main content

Mithi Virdi nuclear plant "shifted out" of Gujarat ahead of Modi visit to US: Ex-power secretary, Govt of India

By Our Representative
Has the nuclear power project, being planned on South Saurashtra coast of Gujarat, been shifted out? It would seem so if one of the top ex-bureaucrat, EAS Sarma, former union Power Secretary, Government of India, is to be believed. The move comes just ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's US visit on June 7-8. 
In an article in a well-known anti-nuclear site, Sarma has said, as a result of "concerted public opposition in the Prime Minister’s home state, Toshiba Corp’s Westinghouse Electric seems to have now decided to relocate its proposed nuclear power project (6x1000Mwe capacity) at Mithi Virdi in Gujarat to a site in Andhra Pradesh."
Says Sarma, "While the people of Gujarat deserve commendation for forcing Westinghouse to shift its project away from their State, this move implies that Andhra Pradesh will soon get converted into a potential nuclear disaster zone without any tangible benefits to the people."
According to Sarma, "The residents in and around Kovvada village, especially the fishing community in Srikakulam district, feel considerably apprehensive at the bleak prospect of losing their fertile agricultural lands and losing their access to the sea for fishing, in addition to being exposed to the potential dangers of a nuclear power project ( 6x1000Mwe capacity) being set up by General Electric company."
"While the three proposed nuclear power projects in Andhra Pradesh will result in immediate displacement of people", Sarma says, it will destroy "fertile agricultural lands" and exose people to "radiation hazards", with the the "so-called benefits expected from them will not accrue in the foreseeable future."
Pointing out that in Andhra Pradesh, large tracts of agricultural land have already been diverted for industrial corridors, SEZs, power projects, ports, airports etc., Sarma says, though the Land Acquisition Act, 2013 requires that the states should prescribe limits on acquisition of agricultural land, the Andhra Pradesh government "has not cared to prescribe any such limits."
Pointing out that global experience shows a nuclear power project will take more than a decade to complete, Sarma says, "The six reactors at Kovvada will cost anywhere around Rs 4-7 lakh crore and, without taking into account the cost of decommissioning the reactors at the end of the project life, the levelised unit cost of electricity is estimated to be around Rs 16-26 per kilo-watt-hour."
"There is no technology today for satisfactorily processing the radioactive waste. The the cost of waste management therefore cannot be quantified. Even without taking it into reckoning, the cost of nuclear electricity is going to be unconscionably high", he says.
"Moreover", Sarma says, "Since all these nuclear power projects will use imported reactors and imported fuel, it will considerably erode the energy security of the country."
And, "since all these reactors will be purchased through highly non-transparent procedures without competitive bidding, not only the costs are going to be heavily padded but also there will be scope for corruption", he underlines.
Sarma warns, "The civil nuclear liability law enacted by the government in our case has placed a very low cap on the liability that could be passed on to the reactor suppliers but the latter are not prepared to bear even such a limited liability."
"Under pressure, it is likely that the Government of india will finally bow down to the wishes of the reactor suppliers and find ways to exempt them from the liability, thereby creating scope for the latter to cut corners on the safety features of the reactors", he adds.

Comments

TRENDING

Top upper caste judges 'biased' towards Dalit colleagues: US Bar Association report

By Rajiv Shah  A high profile report prepared by the influential  American Bar Association (ABA) Center for Human Rights , taking note of the fact that “in the 70-year history of the Indian Republic, only six Dalit judges have been appointed to the Supreme Court”, has taken strong exception to what it calls “lack of representation of Dalits” in the legal profession and the judiciary.

Unlike other revolutionaries, Hindutva icon wrote 5 mercy petitions to British masters

By Shamsul Islam*  The Hindutva icon VD Savarkar of the RSS-BJP rulers of India submitted not one, two,or three but five mercy petitions to the British masters! Savarkarites argue: “There are no evidences to prove that Savarkar collaborated with the British for his release from jail. In fact, his appeal for release was a ruse. He was well aware of the political developments outside and wanted to be part of it. So he kept requesting for his release. But the British authorities did not trust him a bit” (YD Phadke, ‘A complex Hero’, "The Indian Expres"s, August 31, 2004)

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Whither SDG goal? India's maternal mortality rate fall target 5.5% per yr, actual 4.5%

By Srinivas Goli, Parul Puri* The maternal mortality ratio (number of maternal deaths per one lakh live births) is a key and sensitive parameter used by health policymakers to monitor maternal health conditions in particular and women's status in general in a country.

Fresh efforts to subsume Buddhism within Hindu fold 'undermining' Ambedkar

By Aviral Anand*  From Yeola in 1935, when Dr Ambedkar announced that he would not die a Hindu, to Nagpur in 1956 when he converted to Buddhism, is a considerable distance in time. But, there was in him a need to make a public announcement in 1935 about moving away from Hinduism. 

How green revolution led to 'deterioration' of Punjab economy, land, air and water

By Dr Gian Singh*  A recent research paper, based on a survey of 320 farming families in four districts of Punjab, has tried to show that high crop densities and the use of inputs have led to degradation of land, air, water and humans through a rich agricultural structure. Although mechanization has increased agricultural productivity, it has also caused environmental degradation.

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam* In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Reverse progress in fight against hunger? 15.3% of India undernourished: GHI

By Harchand Ram*  Every year October 16 is observed as World Food Day to celebrate the date of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. In the year 2021, the theme for World Food Day is “Our actions are our Future-Better Production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life”.

Abysmal deficit of water, food waste recycle treatment 'impacting' Chennai life

By Simi Mehta*  We are living in a state where the most basic needs like food and water are not assured to the people residing in the urban areas, which account for the biggest sources of food and water wastage. Socio-economic inequality in society which is pervasive in urban areas is one of the main reasons for this.