Skip to main content

Shifted from Gujarat to Andhra, questions raised on N-project's viability: Lack of eco-nod for developer Westinghouse

By Our Representative
DiaNuke.org, a team of dedicated researchers and activists claiming to be a one-stop resource for nuclear information, analysis and discussions, has strongly protested against the proposed visit of officials of the US-based nuclear corporation Westinghouse to "resuscitate" the plan the Kovvada nuclear project planned on Andhra Pradesh coast, saying, the local communities see it as a threat to their environment, health, livelihood and traditional lifestyle.
In a strongly-worded statement, DiaNuke.org has said, "The six-reactor project to be set up by Westinghouse even as it has become a disastrous financial liability for its parent company Toshiba, has faced strong grassroots resistance ever since its inception",pointing out, "Initially, Westinghouse-Toshiba had sought to build the AP1000s in Gujarat, but was chased out by enormous public opposition and shifted its plans to Kovvada."
According to DiaNuke.org, "At the Kovvada site, GE-Hitachi were given a contract to build reactors but they pulled out after refusing to commit to paying liability in case of a potential accident in the future", adding, "The financially destitute Westinghouse wants to supply India with six 1,208 MW reactor units of its AP1000 design."
"However", DiaNuke.org notes, "The AP1000 design is untested and has run into regulatory issues, massive cost and time over-runs and serious safety questions in the US, UK, China and other countries. Westinghouse has no business preying upon communities in India by pushing its untested nuclear technology on an unwilling population."
Calling the project "an all-round disaster-in-the-making", DiaNuke.org says, "It threatens to destroy the fragile ecology of India’s eastern coast, and endanger the safety of people in densely populated areas. It will disenfranchise thousands of people in local communities by depriving them of traditional livelihoods."
Pointing out that it was in 2008 that the US-India nuclear deal openee the way for nuclear companies like Westinghouse seeking to maintain a foothold in a precipitously falling global nuclear market, DiaNuke.org says, "The deal, first introduced in 2005 by then US President George W Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, lifted a three-decade US moratorium on nuclear trade with India."
Ever since, DiaNuke.org says, "The Indian government has finalised nuclear agreements as part of its geo-political strategy, without ever doing its homework on the environmental impacts, cost-benefit analysis, safety assessment or any democratic consultation on the energy future of the country."
"Furthermore", it adds, "The US government has been pressuring India to do away with the provisions of its domestic nuclear liability law": which provides for "limited protection to the potential victims in case of a nuclear accident", with the Indian government trying to "comply with US demands and to undermine the Act through back-door deals, including providing for an insurance pool created by public-sector companies."
Claiming that "Westinghouse has a lamentable track record in the US", DiaNuke.org says, "One of its two projects — to build two AP1000 reactors in South Carolina — has already been abandoned, leaving ratepayers with a $9 billion debt burden. The two plants were so massively over budget and behind schedule they were predicted to have cost at least $26 billion if completed, nearly three times the original projected price of $9.8 billion."
*A second Westinghouse US project for two AP1000 reactors in Georgia is more than five years behind schedule", DiaNuke.org says, adding, "Costs there have at least doubled and are predicted to rise to more than $27 billion, double the initial estimate of $14 billion. It was re-evaluated late last year and given the continued green light, but it is ratepayers again who will bear the burden of the project’s vast expense."
DiaNuke.org predicts, "If Westinghouse is permitted to go forward with the Kovvada project, India can anticipate interminable delays, massive cost overruns and environmental contamination at best; a nuclear disaster at worst, if indeed the project ever gets completed, which is doubtful. What is more likely is that Kovvada’s economy and ecology will have been ruined and time will have been wasted that would have been better used installing cheaper, cleaner and safer renewable energy."
Contending that "no Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) has been conducted even after 10 years of the announcement of the Kovvada project", DiaNuke.org asserts, "Situated in Srikakulam District on the shores of Bay of Bengal, this project would endanger the precious bio-diversity of the region and the surrounding environment.
It adds, "The project does not even make economic sense. The effective cost of electricity from the nuclear plant in Kovvada will be at least 4 times the current market tariff in India. The latest open bids for decentralised solar have been even cheaper than existing thermal power."
Meanwhile, eminent civil society groups of the United States, India, Japan, Germany, Australia and Taiwan have begun raising their voice against the Westinghouse project in India. These include National Alliance of Anti-nuclear Movements(NAAM), People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE), Poovulagin Nanbargal, Lokayat, from India; Nuclear Information and Resource Service(NIRS), Beyond Nuclear, Coalition Against Nukes(CAN), and, On Behalf of Planet Earth, based in US.
Then there are Bürgerinitiative Umweltschutz Lüchow- Dannenberg from Germany; Civil Action Against ODA and Export of Nuclear Technology and No Nukes Asia Forum from Japan; Friends of the Earth Australia, Homemakers United Foundation, Mom Loves Taiwan Association, Taiwan Environmental Protection Union from Taiwan;, and Nuclear-Free Bataan Movement from Philippines.

Comments

TRENDING

What's Bill Gates up to? Have 'irregularities' found in funding HPV vaccine trials faded?

By Colin Gonsalves*  After having read the 72nd report of the Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on alleged irregularities in the conduct of studies using HPV vaccines by PATH in India, it was startling to see Bill Gates bobbing his head up and down and smiling ingratiatingly on prime time television while the Prime Minister lectured him in Hindi on his plans for the country. 

Muted profit margins, moderate increase in costs and sales: IIM-A survey of 1000 cos

By Our Representative  The Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad’s (IIM-A's) latest Business Inflation Expectations Survey (BIES) has said that the cost perceptions data obtained from India’s business executives suggests that there is “mild increase in cost pressures”.

Magnetic, stunning, Protima Bedi 'exposed' malice of sexual repression in society

By Harsh Thakor*  Protima Bedi was born to a baniya businessman and a Bengali mother as Protima Gupta in Delhi in 1949. Her father was a small-time trader, who was thrown out of his family for marrying a dark Bengali women. The theme of her early life was to rebel against traditional bondage. It was extraordinary how Protima underwent a metamorphosis from a conventional convent-educated girl into a freak. On October 12th was her 75th birthday; earlier this year, on August 18th it was her 25th death anniversary.

Govt putting India's professionals, skilled, unskilled labour 'at mercy of' big business

By Thomas Franco, Dinesh Abrol*  As it is impossible to refute the report of the International Labour Organisation, Chief Economic Advisor Anantha Nageswaran recently said that the government cannot solve all social, economic problems like unemployment and social security. He blamed the youth for not acquiring enough skills to get employment. Then can’t the people ask, ‘Why do we have a government? Is it not the government’s responsibility to provide adequate employment to its citizens?’

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

IMA vs Ramdev: Why what's good or bad for goose should be good or bad for gander

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD* Baba Ramdev and his associate Balkrishna faced the wrath of the Supreme Court for their propaganda about their Ayurvedic products and belittling mainstream medicine. Baba Ramdev had to apologize in court. His apology was not accepted and he may face the contempt of court with harsher punishment. The Supreme Court acted on a public interest litigation (PIL) moved by the Indian Medical Association (IMA).

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site satyagrahis.in. The satyagraha.in article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the satyagraha.in article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

Youth as game changers in Lok Sabha polls? Young voter registration 'is so very low'

By Dr Mansee Bal Bhargava*  Young voters will be the game changers in 2024. Do they realise this? Does it matter to them? If it does, what they should/must vote for? India’s population of nearly 1.3 billion has about one-fifth 19.1% as youth. With 66% of its population (808 million) below the age of 35, India has the world's largest youth population. Among them, less than 40% of those who turned 18 or 19 have registered themselves for 2024 election. According to the Election Commission of India (ECI), just above 1.8 crore new voters (18-and 19-year-olds) are on the electoral rolls/registration out of the total projected 4.9 crore new voters in this age group.

Indians witnessing 'regression to Hindutva politics' under Modi ahead of elections

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  The forthcoming general election in India, scheduled from April 19, 2024, to June 1, 2024, to elect the 543 members of the 18th Lok Sabha and the new Government of India, carries immense significance for the preservation of India's identity as a liberal, secular, and constitutional democracy.

An equine landmark, Cheltenham Gold Cup centenary 'epitomized' heights unparalleled

By Harsh Thakor*  The Cheltenham Gold Cup  is the most prestigious jumping race in the British Isles Steeplechasing calendar and the Cheltenham festival, a cynosure of every English and Irish racegoer. Few sporting events match or surpass the sheer intensity, competitiveness and joy that radiates its legacy. Few moments are more pulsating than witnessing a Gold Cup or a Cheltenham festival. In addition to that the race is run amidst the background of an evergreen English countryside, encircled by hills and pastures, giving a sensation of a paradise or heavenly location.