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

Did Modi promote Dholavira, a UNESCO site now, as Gujarat CM? Facts don't tally

By Rajiv Shah  As would generally happen, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s tweet – that not only was he “absolutely delighted” with the news of UNESCO tag to Dholavira, but he “ first visited ” the site during his “student days and was mesmerised by the place” – is being doubted by his detractors. None of the two tweets, strangely, even recalls once that it’s a Harappan site in Gujarat.

How real is Mamata challenge to Modi? Preparing for 2024 'khela hobey' moment

By Prof Ujjwal K Chowdhury*  Third time elected West Bengal Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee is on a whirlwind tour of Delhi, meeting everyone who matters within and beyond the government, the Prime Minister, the President, some Cabinet ministers, Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, several other opposition leaders, et al.

Labelling a Jesuit a Marxist? It's like saying if you use a plane, you become American

Jesuits: Cedric Prakash, Stan Swamy By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ* A thirteen- fourteen-year-old has many dreams! That's an impressionable age; at the cusp of finishing school. It is also a time when one tastes a different kind of freedom: to go for camps with boys of your own age (not with ones family). Such camps and outings were always enjoyed to the hilt. The ones, however, which still remain etched in my memory are the mission camps to the Jesuit missions in Maharashtra and Gujarat.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

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".

Giant conglomerates 'favoured': Whither tribal rights for jal-jungle-jameen?

Prafull Samantara By Mohammad Irshad Ansari*  The struggle for “Jal, Jungle and Jameen” has been a long-drawn battle for the tribal communities of India. This tussle was once again in the limelight with the proposed diamond mining in the Buxwaha forest of Chhatarpur (Madhya Pradesh). The only difference in this movement was the massive social media support it gained, which actually seems to tilt the scale for the tribal people in a long time.

UP arrest of 'terrorists': Diverting attention from Covid goof-up, Ram temple land scam?

By Advocate Mohammad Shoaib, Sandeep Pandey* That corruption is rampant in police department is a common experience. However, there is another form of corruption which devastates lives of individuals and their families. It has now emerged as a common phenomenon that police more often than not register false cases because of which individuals have to spend number of years in jail.

If not Modi, then who? Why? I (an ordinary citizen) am there! Main hoon naa!

By Mansee Bal Bhargava*  The number of women ministers is doubled in early July from the first term after cabinet reshuffle by the present government led by Narendra Modi. While there were 06 women ministers in the previous term, this term there are 11. The previous two governments led by Dr Manmohan Singh had 10 women ministers in each tenure. Are these number of women ministers something to rejoice in the near 75 years of independence? Yes maybe, if we think that things are slowly improving in the patriarchal system. This change is less likely to achieve gender balance in the parliament otherwise we require more than 11 as per the 33% reservation . This change is also less likely because the men politicians’ inability to handle the country’s mess is becoming more and more evident and especially during the corona crisis. Seems, the addition of more women ministers may be a result of the recent assembly elections where women played a decisive role in the election results. For example

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Effluent discharge into deep sea? Modi told to 'reconsider' Rs 2275 crore Gujarat project

Counterview Desk  In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, well-known Gujarat-based environmentalist, Mahesh Pandya of the Paryavaran Mitra, has protested against the manner in with the Gujarat government is continuing with its deep sea effluent disposal project despite environmental concerns.

Gujarat govt gender insensitive? Cyclone package for fisherfolk 'ignores' poor women

By Our Representative A memorandum submitted to the Gujarat government by various fisherfolk associations of the Saurashtra region of Gujarat under the leadership of Ahmedabad NGO Centre for Social Justice's senior activist Arvind Khuman, who is based in Amreli, has suggested that the relief package offered to the fishermen affected by the Tauktae cyclone is not only inadequate, it is also gender insensitive.