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

Missed call drive for VVPAT verification follows online plea to "pressure" poll panel

By Our Representative
Several political activists have begun a new campaign, asking concerned citizens to give a missed call on 9667655855 to “support the demand that 2019 Loksabha elections must be declared only after verification of 50% electronic voting machines (EVMs) with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) receipts.” The effort, supported by civil society networks across India, is meant to "further pressure" India's election machinery to ensure that the poll outcome becomes more transparent.

Did Modi own, buy digital camera costing Rs 7 lakh in 1987-88, also used email?

Counterview Desk
In an interview to the news channel News Nation, aired on Saturday last, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declaring that he had approved the air strike despite bad weather because he felt the clouds would hide Indian planes from Pakistani radar is known to have become a laughing stock across India.

Now, top Gujarat "litterateur" close to Modi says: Godse was patriot, so was Gandhi

By Rajiv Shah
A little over a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi criticized BJP candidate from Bhopal Pragya Thakur for calling Nathuram Godse a patriot saying he would never forgive her for the remark, a top Sangh Parivar ideologue, known to close to Modi in Gujarat, has supported her, saying her statement should be seen “within a context.” Thakur won from Bhopal by more than 3.5 lakh votes defeating her nearest rival, veteran Congressman and ex-Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh.

When a neo-nationalist "invaded" hijab clad ladies, Bengali looking scholar in Delhi metro

By Aditi Kundu*
Travelling in Delhi metro on a daily basis to commute from Mayur Vihar to Dwarka, I see diverse people everyday. One can hear them talk about different aspects of life, from kitchen pilitics to national politics. On the morning of May 13, I witnessed a strange incident; disturbing and amusing at the same time.

Terror attacks: Difference in public reactions in India, those in Colombo, Christchurch

By Battini Rao*
Recently, on April 20 during Easter Sunday, more than 250 people were killed in a series of coordinated terrorist attacks in churches and hotels in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Local Islamic organisations Thawheed Jamath (NJT) and Jamathei Milathu Ibrahim (JMI) are held responsible for the attack. Islamic State has also claimed responsibility.

Women lost 88 lakh jobs in 2018: Why Modi "failed" to address their disempowerment?

Counterview Desk
Five human rights leaders Anjali Bhardwaj, Shabnam Hashmi, Purnima Gupta, Dipta Bhog, and Amrita Johri of the Women March for Change have posed 56 questions (alluding to Modi’s claim of 56 inches chest) to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP against the backdrop of his interview with a Bollywood star, which was allegedly masqueraded as a “non-political” conversation.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Disproportionately high death sentences against Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims: UN told

Counterview Desk
In their joint submission to the United Nations Human Rights Committee to meet for the listing of adoption of list of issues at its 126th session, July 1-26, 2019, top Dalit rights organizations have taken strong exception to, among other things, "disproportional application of death sentencing by the judiciary of minorities, such as Muslims, Dalits and Adivasis".

India's 80% construction sites "unsafe", deaths 20 times higher than those in Britain

By Rajiv Shah
The Government of India may be seeking to project India’s construction sector as the country’s second-largest employer of the country after agriculture, providing jobs to more than 44 million people, and contributing nearly 9% to the national GDP, yet, ironically, its workforce is more unprotected than any other industrial sector of the country. Data suggest that the possibility of a fatality is five times more likely in the construction industry  than in a manufacturing industry, and the risk of a major injury is 2.5 times higher.

India sans Modi preferable, Congress worthier recipient of Indians’ votes: The Economist

By Our Representative
In a strongly-worded and crucial commentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the electoral political battle is on, influential British weekly “The Economist”, has declared that “Indians, who are in the midst of voting in a fresh election, would be better off with a different leader”, even as pointing out that that under Modi, “India’s ruling party poses a threat to democracy.”