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Archives for : Koodankulam

#India- Kudanankulam Nuclear Plant had technical Snags- AEC #WTFnews

Friday, 01 November 2013 | Kumar Chellappan | CHENNAI, Pioneer

 

English: Construction site of the Koodankulam ...

English: Construction site of the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant Deutsch: Baustelle des Kernkraftwerks Kudankulam (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

Finally the Atomic Energy Commission has conceded that unit-1 of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant in Tamil Nadu had some serious technical problems and certain components had to be replaced.

Addressing the country’s nuclear energy fraternity from the elite Bhabha Atomic Research Centre at Trombay near Mumbai, RK Sinha, chairman, AEC, said the Emergency Core Cooling System (ECCS) of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant being built with Russian assistance had failed.

“Technical support was provided to Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) to find the root cause of the failure of some components of double check valves of the Emergency Core Cooling System of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant and working out solutions. Modified design of valve with indigenously designed components has been fully qualified and installed in the reactor,” Sinha said on Wednesday while delivering the Founders’ Day speech. The Atomic Energy Commission observes October 30 of every year as the Founders Day as the day happens to be the birth anniversary of Dr Homi Bhabha, the father of India’s nuclear programme.

Sinha’s statement comes months after volunteers of the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE), an anti-nuclear brigade campaigning against setting up of Nuclear reactors came out with charges that many components in the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant were made of sub-standard materials. Directors of Zio-Podolsk, a Russian company which supplied crucial components to the KNPP had been arrested by the Russian Police for charges ranging from forgery to cheating.

Sekhar Basu, director, BARC, said the technical support to rectify the ECCS of the KNPP was provided by scientists in BARC.

A Gopalakrishnan, former chairman of AERB, had told The Pioneer that a large number of equipment, components and materials of substandard quality from ZiO-Podolsk had been installed in Unit-1 of the KNPP. He had demanded the constitution of a committee of experts drawn out from various agencies to check threadbare the reactor.

Though the Union Government including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had been claiming since 2011 that the unit-1 of the KNPP would be commissioned in a fortnight’s time, the reactor is yet to reach its full installed capacity of 1000 MW. The reactor went “critical” on July 13 (the technical word to denote the reactor is ready to generate and supply power), it is still facing a lot of uncertainties. RS Sunder, the project director of KNPP told The Pioneer that the reactor would start yielding power to the national grid before December 31 and it would reach its full potential soon.

The agreement for the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant was signed between India and the then USSR in 1988. The reactor has been plagued by a lot of problems and issues since then indicating that imported nuclear reactors are not a viable option for India to meet its thirst for more and more energy.

Even after crossing the criticality stage and getting synchronised with the national power grid for supplying power, the KNPP has been shut down since Tuesday reportedly for further tests.

 

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Koodankulam plant commissioning process tests safety: Russian expert

 

Posted on October 30, 2013 in Biswajit Choudhury | IANS

The unit’s main systems and equipment will be tested in different modes. On completing the required tests at each capacity level, the unit will be stopped for inspecting its condition, and only then the capacity will be increased to the subsequent higher level.The commissioning process at the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) in Tamil Nadu may take up to one year or more as the main accent is on testing safety with gradual increase in capacity levels, a Russian energy expert says.

“The main accent in the course of the commissioning process is made on the safety aspects. All possible deficiencies and deviations are to be observed during this stage,” Alexander Uvarov, the director of Moscow-based nuclear energy think-tank AtomInfo, told IANS in an email interview.

“Duration of the commissioning works may take up to one year and sometimes even more,” Uvarov said.

The first unit at the Russian-aided KNPP was synchronized with the southern power grid last week. It was stopped within two hours when it had achieved generation levels of 160 MW for system inspections. The unit was reconnected three days later on Oct 25.

KNPP had said the 1,000 MW unit will be gradually synchronized with the grid at the higher capacity levels of 50 percent, 75 percent and 100 percent, adding that with every increase in generation, the plant will have to get regulatory approval from the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board.

“Commissioning of a nuclear power plant is a long-term and difficult process. The main task during the start-up activity is to prove that the actual parameters of the equipment and systems do conform to the design requirements,” Uvarov said.

The unit’s main systems and equipment will be tested in different modes. On completing the required tests at each capacity level, the unit will be stopped for inspecting its condition, and only then the capacity will be increased to the subsequent higher level.

“During the commissioning it is also to be proved that the actual characteristics of the core and the unit as a whole do conform to the design parameters,” Uvarov said.

“The commissioning teams are to get assurance of reliable, correct and efficient operation of the equipment, measuring equipment, automatic control systems and control rods,” he added.

The sensitivity around the issue of nuclear safety may be gauged from the fact that agreements with countries like Russia, the US and France to set up nuclear plants are held up because of liability concerns.

Russia’s concerns over the operator responsibility in India‘s nuclear liability law have stalled agreement on Unit 3 and 4 of the Koodankulam project.

“All possible deficiencies and deviations are to be observed during the commissioning stage. The tests are considered to be conducted successfully when the limits and conditions of the safe operation are confirmed,” Uvarov said.

 

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#India – A farce in Koodankulam during PM’s visit to Russia

A farce of connecting the reactors to the grid was played out in Koodankulam this week to make the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh‘s meeting with President Vladimir Putin in Russia less embarrassing. But the reactor tripped within hours, highlighting the dangers of such hasty exercises which undermine procedures and concerns
P K Sundaram

October 23, 2013

At the unearthly hour of 2:45 am, the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) decided to connect  reactor-I to the grid. Was the timing decided by some vaastu experts, as happens often in supposedly high-tech projects in this country, or to coincide with ’s visit to Russia? While one can keep guessing, the whole exercise has exposed the nuclear establishment’s lies, inefficiency and dangerous misadventures.

Even before the jubilation in the media could settle, we learnt that that the  reactor tripped and had to be stopped. The NPCIL claimed that it was ‘routine’ and that the process would be restarted after tests, following which electricity production in  would be gradually increased to the full capacity of 1000 MW. However, the Southern Regional Load Despatch Centre (SRLDC), in its official report, said that there was a secondary system failure after the plant was synchronised for the first time at 2:45 am and that the power plant “tripped due to reverse power.”

Evidently, there is something more to the story than the normal start-up troubles. As recently as on 16 October, the NPCIL said that two condensers got stuck as they had valve problems and that the KKNPP-I would be synchronised in November after attaining 400 MW production capacity. On 22 October, they synchronised the reactor to the electricity grid after attaining just 160 MW production capacity. Some media sources have even reported the output to be just 75 MW. What made the NPCIL hurriedly sync the reactor then?

The Indian PM was on a trip to Russia and the government possibly felt that announcing the synchronisation of KKNPP-I would help finalise the agreement on  3 and 5. Like the US and French nuclear corporations, the  firm Atomsroyexport is not ready to abide by India’s Nuclear Liability Act of 2010 which mandates the operator’s “right of recourse” against the supplier. The liability issue and the high cost of  reactors seems to have prevented any final agreement between the two countries.

On 22 October, the  President announced with fanfare that  would be connected to the grid “within a few hours”. He was reported saying that the reactor would start producing 300 MW of electricity – double the amount announced by the NPCIL at home. The Indian PM heaved a sigh of relief as he had promised Putin, way back on his December 2012 trip to India, that -I would be started “within 2 weeks.” The starting of operations at  has been an unending saga of such 15 days’ promises by the NPCIL, Narayansamy and the PM himself.

However, the tripping of -I suggests much more more than just a hurried attempt to provide a symbolic moment for the PM’s visit. It exposes the hollowness of the claims of NPCIL experts that the repeated delays were a result of their “quest for perfection” regarding safety. Components like valves have been repeatedly found defective and trouble-prone in  and have delayed the commissioning of the plant. The  nuclear supplier Zio-Podolsk‘s Director, Sergei Shutov is in jail for a huge scam involving the supply of sub-standard equipment in the batches that were supplied to India,  and other countries over several years. This gives credence to the fears that have been brushed aside in India’s anachronistic nuclear pursuit.

The petitioners in the  case in the Supreme Court did raise this issue, but the court reposed faith in the NPCIL to judge on such technical issues. The NPCIL and the secretive nature of the nuclear industry have not allowed much of independent nuclclear expertise to flourish in India. As a result, the NPCIL misled the court even on basic issues: it has no expertise on Pressurised Water Reactors (PWR) in and it passed off the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) safety manuals related to a totally different design – Pressurised Heavy Water Reactor (PHWR) – as a proof of its diligence and sincerity. Similarly, several other very crucial questions were overlooked: the non-adherence of recommendations of the post-Fukushima safety review, the non-availability of adequate water supply in , the exemption of nuclear liability for -I, and the non-adherence to Environment Impact Assessments and Coastal Regulatory Zone stipulations on the flimsy ground that these stipulations came into existence after the reactor project was started!

Far from being the product of a holistic policy for the country’s energy needs, India’s nuclear pursuit is based on international agreements animated by the pursuit of legitimacy for its nuclear weapons and ensuring a seat on the high table in exchange for nuclear deals. There is an unmissable pattern –  environmental clearance for Jaitapur was given in 2010 when the then French President Nicholas Sarkozy was visiting India, Nuclear Liability Act was hastily finalised during Hilary Clinton’s visit, liability exemption for Mithi Virdi project in Gujarat was given during ’s visit to US last month and a shoddily done synchronisation of -I was done during the PM’s visit to Kremlin.

The livelihoods and lives of its own people have become international bargaining chips for the government. Much like the country’s other resources – mines, rivers, forests, food, health and education – that the Indian ruling elite is happily offering at the altar of its own brand of ‘development’.

We must not forget that the Fukushima nuclear accident has taken a much worse turn in Japan in the last few months. It has been forced to shut again two of the 54 reactors that were restarted after a complete shutdown following the accident in March 2011. The lesson we can draw is that nuclear plants simply cannot be run in a transparent and safe manner. The stress-tests following Fukushima have forced full or partial reversal of nuclear projects in many countries and international surveys have reported widespread popular disapproval of the nuclear industry.

Despite the backlash against the  plant, India sent psychologists to ‘counsel’ the protesters and slapped sedition charges of colonial vintage when that didn’t work. Thousands of activists and villagers in Tamil Nadu continue to face fictitious criminal charges, which the Supreme Court ordered to be removed. Meanwhile, India’s democracy and safety are threatened by an ill-conceived, unsafe, expensive, non-transparent and unaccountable nuclear expansion plan.

The author is Research Consultant with the Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace (CNDP) and can be contacted at[email protected]

  • #999; padding: 2px; display: block; border-radius: 2px; text-decoration: none;" href="http://www.kractivist.org/india-koodankulam-to-think-live-and-act-non-violently-mustread/" target="_blank"> #India – Koodankulam: To Think, Live And Act Non-Violently #mustread

 

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#India – RTI information came in handy for Kudankulam protesters

English: Construction site of the Koodankulam ...

English: Construction site of the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant Deutsch: Baustelle des Kernkraftwerks Kudankulam (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

TNN | Oct 16, 2013,

MADURAI: How could the protesters rallying against the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) raise significant points challenging the project? How could the public be effectively mobilised after they were apprised about the risks from a nuclear plant? The people behind the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE), which spearheaded the protests, effectively utilised the Right to Information (RTI) Act to extract crucial information over nuclear safety.

To procure information under the RTI Act was challenging for the PMANE activists, though the stated procedure itself is simple. As they found it tough to deal with agencies related to nuclear energy, a dedicated team was set up to obtain the relevant information using the RTI Act. It sent more than 100 RTI applications to the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL), Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB), department of atomic energy (DAE) and Prime Minister’s office, seeking information on the safety features of the nuclear power plant.

PMANE activist, M Pushparayan, said it was through RTI they came to know that a reactor pressure vessel in the power plant had a welded portion which could pose a serious threat. Besides, they confirmed that several equipment for the power plant were bought from many countries other than Russia.

“PMANE had to rely on RTI as organisations dealing with nuclear energy do not supply information easily,” Pushparayan pointed out.

PMANE coordinator S P Udhayakumar explained how the officialdom try to bypass RTI queries. “Despite filing the RTI applications, the officials don’t provide relevant information. They tend to evade the queries by any possible means. Many a times, they supplied useless information,” he said. Udhayakumar recalled one such petition asking about the list of equipment procured for the Kudankulam plant, but they received a huge bundle of papers with irrelevant answers. “They tried clogging us with irrelevant information but I strongly believe that something is better than nothing,” he said. “At least, we can seek information from the government under the RTI Act. But much more has to be done to make the Act useful for the public,” he said.

Overall, the anti-nuclear activists are content that they managed to get some useful information which paved way for the public debate over nuclear energy. “We were able to bring about the public debate on nuclear safety with the information we were able to get,” Pushparayan said.

 

 

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#India – Koodankulam: To Think, Live And Act Non-Violently #mustread

By Anitha.S

12 October, 2013
Countercurrents.org

The team from Koodankulam -Melrit and Nisha with their slogans in Kochi 

This trip and interaction with people’s groups involved in resistance and struggle along with those spreading new thoughts on healthy and slow food and ways to treat the body softly reinforced our resolve to continue the fight for a Nuclear free world. We, the women of the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy based in Idinthakarai village near the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant in Tamil Nadu travelled all the way to Kochi in Kerala to address a large gathering of people on the path of healing their bodies through natural means without drugs and medicines. We also interacted with Michael Nagler of the Metta Centre of Non-violence which promotes the thought about peaceful resistance based in California. They were especially keen to meet the people involved in the peaceful protest against the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant for so many years. We felt honored to see the team from California who knew so much about us.

This trip was special for us as we were able to be with 2 unique, powerful and crucial struggles in Kerala against unjust development similar to ours with reference to the participation of the community especially women and children. The first visit was to inaugurate the 1000th day of struggle against the Waste Treatment Factory of Vilappilsala near Thiruvananthapuram where the people were able to shut down the toxic factory that the Corporation set up to treat the city waste. The untold distress of the community and the impact on soil, air and water has been in the news for a decade. In November 2012, some of us had come to Thiruvananthapuram to attend the Women’s meet FROM Koodankulam To Vilappilsala where 300 women from various women’s groups listened to the Women’s voices from both places. Xavieramma who was jailed for almost three months last year after the Police attack on our village inaugurated the Vilappilsala meet. The resolve of the people of this village and their co-operation with the support of the local Panchayat is what made it a success story.

The second area where we went was to Katikudam where too the notorious Nita Gelatin Company has been polluting the air, water and land of the village Katikudam in Thrissur along with the river Chalakudy and many villages downstream. The horrible stories of the stench which creates discomfort in children along with incidence of bronchial problems and cancers ever since the factory started discharging untreated effluents into the environment was scary to see for oneself. The recent attack by Police and the Company on the peaceful protestors including damage to property reminded us of the carnage last year on us. The pollution of drinking water and the river along with irreversible damage to the soil and air with chemicals whose levels were much more than permissible was shocking. The support that Government and agencies like Pollution Control Board were giving the Company functioning in the area without the permission of the Local Panchayat was an eye opener for us.

We were surprised at the way the 4 groups we met- the Metta Centre and Michael Nagler from as far away as California, the people healed by the Nature Life Movement in Kerala, the People’s Movement against toxins of Waste Treatment in Vilappilsala and the impact of pollution by Nitta Gelatin Factory in Katikudam were linked to us through the message and means of non-violence and peace while addressing issues that have violent and cruel impacts on human lives, water, air and soil that sustain life and livelihoods. We were also reassured that there is so much of hope and determination in spite of many setbacks and failures that bound us together. The people suffering from many ailments spoke of the non-violent way in which the body can come back to life without toxins. The people especially women of Vilappilsala shared the way in which they would join the struggle front each evening giving a share of their daily income. The people of Katikudam boiled tapioca for us grown in their still fertile land while remembering the lush and rich crops they used to have in the riverbed.

We would like to share with you the disturbing news that many attempts are being made by unseen forces to break our strength and unity. Each day many bombs made locally are implanted in our villages to fuel and fire our age old community clashes, all of which had disappeared with the Anti-Nuclear Movement. The cases against us have not been removed in spite of the Supreme Court directive.We are in the midst of uncertainity as the lies about operation and production are being spread all over. Yet we are standing strong.

This trip has given us new energy and strength.

We carry back with us the message of Gandhiji written on the brochure of the Metta Centre
“The undreamt of is daily being seen. The impossible is ever becoming possible”

Anitha.S in conversation with Melrit, Xavieramma, Nisha, Malar from Idinthakarai at Kochi on 5th October. 

 

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#India – Fishing community wants to continue Kudankulam Nuclear plant stir

 

By Newzfirst10/7/13

 

Chennai – Leaders of fishing community from three districts in Tamil Nadu have asked the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) to carry on its protest against the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) and the beach sand mineral mining companies, said an activist.

“We have been asked to carry on our protest against Kundankulam nuclear plant and the beach sand mineral mining companies by the fishing community from Tirunelveli, Tuticorin and Kanyakumari districts,” M. Pushparayan, a PMANE leader said on Monday.

The PMANE leaders have decided to meet Chief Minister J.Jayalalithaa to apprise her of the developments in the region.

PMANE claims that both KNPP and the beach minerals mining companies offer freebies and handouts.

 

read more here- http://newzfirst.com/web/guest/full-story/-/asset_publisher/Qd8l/content/fishing-community-wants-to-continue-kudankulam-n-plant-stir/

  • #999; padding: 2px; display: block; border-radius: 2px; text-decoration: none;" href="http://www.kractivist.org/india-kudankulam-anti-nuclear-activists-demand-action-against-police-officials/" target="_blank"> #India – Kudankulam anti-nuclear activists demand action against police officials

 

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#India – Anti Koodankulam voices echo on Gandhi Jayanti

By Express News Service – CUDDALORE / TIRUCHY

Published: 03rd October 2013 10:23 AM

Last Updated: 03rd October 2013 10:23 AM

Members of various political parties and anti-nuclear outfits participated in protests in various parts of the state against the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project on Wednesday.

In the massive agitation held in front of the Cuddalore collector’s office, K  Venkatraman of Tamizh Desa Podhuvudamai Katchi said “Gandhiji advocated for sustainable development and adopted non-violent path to fight for independence. We have chosen his birthday to hold this State-wide agitation on Koodankulam as this matter is also related to pressing for sustainable development and is a non-violent protest.”

He said that Koodankulam people did not involve in any violence throughout their struggle. But about 1,000 cases had been slapped against them. They are protesting only against the anti-Tamil Nadu attitude of the Centre. Hence, the State should withdraw all the cases against the Koodankulam protesters.

Founder of Tamizhaga Vazhvurimai Katchi (TVK), T Velmurugan said, “We have two main demands. One is shutting down of nuclear plant in Koodankulam and secondly all the cases against the protesters should be withdrawn.  He said that the project was a danger to southern part of Tamil Nadu. Hence, all the parties and movements should unite in opposing the project.

The members of People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy, besides the workers of parties including the MDMK and PMK, took part in the demonstrations in various parts of the State.

In Tiruchy, the protest was held near Anna Statue in Chinthamani. A Abdul Hakkim, district president, Manithaneya Makkal Katchi led the protest.

Protests, attended by hundreds of activists were reported from Karur, Pudukottai, Udhagamandalam and Tirunelveli and Thanjavur.

In Thanjavur, P Maniyarasan, general secretary of TDPK cited the example of Japan that shut down the last nuclear reactor recently. He also highlighted the decision of Germany to do away with the nuclear power.

In Karur, the protest was led by district division convener of Nam Thamizhar katchi, Murali.

About 150 members of People’s Movement Against Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project participated in the agitation in Pudukottai town.

 

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#India – Anti-nuclear activists booked in bomb case #WTFnews

Anti-nuclear poster

By Express News Service – TIRUNELVELI

Published: 26th August 2013

High tension prevailed in Idinthakarai and its surrounding villages on Sunday after Koodankulam police registered cases against 65 persons, including  PMANE coordinator S P Udayakumar and other leaders like M Pushparayan, M P Jesuraj, Mukilan, Milton and Rajalingam, in connection with the hurling of country made bombs at Idinthakarai and Tsunami colony on Saturday night.

Police said that based on a complaint given by Sahaya Kapoor, a resident of Idinthakarai and a sub-contractor of the KKNPP, cases under sections 147, 148, 294 (b), 307 of IPC and sections 3 and 4 of Indian Explosives Substances Act were registered against 65 persons, including PMANE activists.

Reacting to the action, S P Udayakumar charged that the police have foisted cases against him and the PMANE members in an effort to divide the anti-nuclear plant protesters and the local community at Idinthakarai.

He said that Sahaya Kapoor along with a few of his associates some time back had distributed fishing nets worth `50,000 to a group of fishermen from Idinthakarai and other villages, which was reportedly offered by the nuclear plant.

Udayakumar said that after the PMANE exposed the malpractice involved in the distribution of fishing net and demanded action against Kapoor and his team, fishermen from Idithakarai kept away from sea on Saturday protesting the fraud.

In this backdrop, a group of four hurled county made bombs on the coastal village at night. However, Mary, a 75-year-old resident of Mela Street, Idinthakarai, along with two other women, Amali (70) and Lilly Pushpam (58), saw the quartet hurling the bombs.

Mary in her complaint, said that while she, along with two other women, was going to the Lourde Madha Church at 10.30 pm. On the way they saw four persons moving on two two-wheelers near the west bus stand shouting “We will not rest until the village is destroyed.” Later the four-member gang hurled two country made bombs and moved towards Idinthakarai Tsunami Colony. The sound of bomb explosion was heard from that location, she alleged.

She identified the miscreants as (Sahaya) Kapoor (33), Sacrates alias Mutti (36) Lawrance (38) and Sandeep (22), all natives of Idinthakarai, who were residing in nearby Parameswarapuram.

  • #999; padding: 2px; display: block; border-radius: 2px; text-decoration: none;" href="http://www.kractivist.org/press-release-the-ins-sindhurakshak-catastrophe-and-the-koodankulam-prayers/" target="_blank">Press Release – The INS Sindhurakshak Catastrophe and the Koodankulam Prayers
  • #999; padding: 2px; display: block; border-radius: 2px; text-decoration: none;" href="http://www.kractivist.org/2013/07/09/gujarat-puts-stamp-on-death-certificate-of-people-living-near-mithi-river-wtfnews/" target="_blank"> #Gujarat puts stamp on death certificate of people living near Mithi River #WTFnews

 

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Press Release – The INS Sindhurakshak Catastrophe and the Koodankulam Prayers

People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE)

Idinthakarai 627 104
Tirunelveli District                                                                              For immediate release
                                                                                                            August 15, 2013
The People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) would like to express our heartfelt condolences to the families of the 18 crew members who have died in the submarine INS Sindhurakshak catastrophe. There were series of deafening explosions in the submarine and no one knows what triggered those explosions.  The submarine was engulfed in a huge fire and nobody knows why the manual and automatic alarm systems did not work during the emergency. The Russian company Zvyozdochka, that specializes in repairs and recycling of nuclear submarines, has just completed modernizing and upgrading the vessel at an whopping amount of some Rs. 450 crores over the past three years.
Obviously several questions arise out of this tragedy.
[1] The Sindhurakshak was built by the Admiralteiskiye Verfi shipyard in St Petersburg in 1995. Why did we have to modernize and upgrade it in just 15 years? What caused the fire in 2010?
[2] Why did it take three long years for Zvyozdochka to do their work and what exactly did they do in the submarine for the past three long years at an exorbitant cost?
[3] Why did it cost Rs. 450 crores of poor Indian people’s tax money to refurbish the submarine? The submarine’s original cost price was only Rs. 400 crores. Does anyone in India do any accounting and auditing of all these military procurements and upgradation projects?
[4] The seven Russian specialists who had serviced the submarine were in a hotel when the accident occurred and they remained safe and sound. While we are happy that these men are safe and sound, we wonder why Indian lives were left unprotected and unsafe?
Naturally, our attention turns to the Koodankulam nuclear power project (KKNPP).
[1] The project was proposed and planned in the mid-1980s and modified by several follow-up agreements. As per the revelations of Dr. M. R. Srinivasan, a former Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) chief, the Indian nuclear authorities fiddled with the original design of the reactor pressure vessel (RPV) and did an unauthorized refit. Why did the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) have to modernize and upgrade the Koodankulam reactors it in just a few years? What do the Site Evaluation Report (SER) and the Safety Analysis Report (SAR) of Units 1&2 say about the Koodankulam reactors? Why does the NPCIL refuse to share these reports with the public even after the Central Information Commission (CIC) has ordered to share? Why does the NPCIL obtain a stay at Delhi High Court against the CIC order? Nobody knows!
[2] The KKNPP Unit-1 was supposed to have been commissioned in 2007. Now it is 2013. Why did it take six long years for the Russian Rosatom to complete the project? The Unit-1 has not produced electricity to burn even a zero-watt bulb yet. Why? Nobody knows!
[3] The original cost estimate of the KKNPP project was some 13,000 crores.  Now the NPCIL says that they have overspent some 4,000 crores due to “Interest During Construction” (IDC) and the final estimate of the project is almost 18,000 crores. Does anyone in India do any accounting and auditing of all these unexplained cost overrun? Nobody knows!
[4] Scores of Indians have lost their lives in the KKNPP projects but there has never been any Russian casualty so far. We do not wish anything bad for our Russian friends; in fact, we wish them well. But we do wonder if Indian life is not as valuable as Russian or American or French lives? Why do Indians get killed everywhere? The governments of India and Russia signed a secretive Inter-governmental Agreement (IGA) in 2008 about the Koodankulam project’s liability. This report has not been revealed to the public. Is it because Indian life is worthless? Nobody knows!
And finally, why does the Indian government keep losing our Indian citizens’ hard-earned tax money on subsidizing the Russian economy by buying all the brittle and fragile Russian fighter planes, ships, submarines and nuclear power plants that suffer time overrun and cost overrun? Nobody knows!
The Mumbai tragedy makes the people of Tamil Nadu and Kerala to sit up and look up to the sky. What is in store for us? Nobody knows!
The Struggle Committee
PMANE

 

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Does The Supreme Court of India Care About Indian Lives?

English: Internationally recognized symbol. De...

 
The reasons behind clearing the Koodankulam nuclear plant defy logic and democratic principles

 

BY  SP UDAYAKUMAR  IN CULTURE

This week, a bench of the Supreme Court (SC) cleared the commissioning of the nuclear power plant at Koodankulam, against which the residents of the area have been protesting for the last 630 days. We find this verdict to be highly unfortunate, and feel that it doesn’t take into account the value of Indian lives.

Ten days before the judgment, our supporters Poovulagin Nanbargal (friends of the earth) filed an affidavit before the Court that ZiO-Podolsk, which has supplied much of the equipment to the plant, is a discredited and corrupt company. Sergei Shutov, the procurement director of the company, was arrested in February 2012 on charges of using substandard metal in their equipment. When we filed an RTI with Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) this January, they denied having received equipment from ZiO-Podolsk, and it was only after repeated enquiries that the NPCIL was forced to admit the truth. This is a very serious matter; if anything were to go wrong, crores of lives would be lost. Yet, the SC refuses to consider this issue while announcing its verdict.

Even accepting, for the sake of argument, that this matter came to light after the Court reserved its judgment, and thus cannot be admitted, what about waste management? The Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) told the Court that the waste would be buried under the Kolar gold fields in Karnataka, but the plan was dropped after the residents protested. And that was that. The Court didn’t ask again what alternative the DAE had, and passed its judgment without settling the question. So what happens to this highly toxic waste?

As for liability, an inter-governmental agreement of 2008 holds that the Russians would not be liable in case the faulty equipment malfunctions. What a great deal! You buy whatever rubbish they give you, and you exempt them from liability. So much money has been stolen by both rich Indians and Russians, and the poor locals have to bear the brunt of the greater risk. Who is liable? Is Manmohan Singh liable? He might not be in power two months from now. Would it be the DAE? The KKNPP site director Kasinath Balaji has disappeared, and someone else is in his post. The NPCIL? SK Jain, who was the chairman, is now leading a cushy life in Tokyo as the chairman of the governing board of the World Association of Nuclear Operators. Who will be here to answer for something going wrong? We do not trust these bureaucrats and officials, and now we can’t even trust the SC. If the SC cared about Indian lives, it should have asked these questions.

But no, the Court says that a balance has to be struck between the right to life and sustainable development, that the larger public interest should prevail over minor inconveniences caused to local people. If the inconvenience is really minor, why don’t they build the plant near Parliament? The “larger public interest” it speaks of is nothing but the interests of large corporations for which poor fishermen, women and children should apparently sacrifice their lives and livelihoods.

Regardless, our struggle continues. We may not be successful in closing the plant tomorrow, or in the next few months, or few years. We are patient. We shall persevere. For we have persevered despite the government’s campaign to spread lies and libel us. They have claimed that those who oppose the Koodankulam plant are foreign stooges and that we receive money from abroad. VS Achuthanandan, the former chief minister of Kerala, opposes the plant. Did he take money from abroad? Dr A Gopalakrishnan, the former head of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, has written extensively against the plant. Does he do so for foreign money? Admiral (Retd) Ramdas opposes the plant. Medha Patkar is against it. So is Aruna Roy. Who paid them? Why, when such luminaries have stood up against the government’s anti-people stance, should nameless, faceless Udayakumar be singled out by the Americans for payments?

I don’t take the government’s vilification seriously, because I have nothing at stake. I am not trying to join politics, and I don’t need a certificate of approval from anybody. It’s not me anyone should be worried about, but the people of Idinthakarai, of Koothankuli, of other villages that will be affected, who have lost so much because they chose to take a stand. They have lost their incomes, they have been arrested, they have been attacked by the police. With the opening of the plant, things will only get worse.

But we persist, because we firmly believe that we are fighting for the good of our country, for which we have an enormous amount of love. India needs development, we agree, but in seeking that development, we must not undermine our natural resources, or the basic health of our people and our nutrition security. What are our priorities, after all? Half of our population lives under 20 a day, half of our population barely has any sanitation. We don’t have the basic necessities. People are dying for want of safe drinking water. Instead of addressing these issues, why does our government persist in its obsession with nuclear power, which only adds to the suffering of the poor? Yes, we need electricity, but there needs to be leadership in how we go about harnessing it. If a country like Germany can develop so much electricity from solar power, why can’t we? We have been vilified as fighting against the interests of our country. We have been called Luddites standing in the way of progress. But it must be made clear that we are not against electricity, only nuclear power. We are not against development that benefits Indians, but against that which benefits corrupt Russian companies. We want our people to live as human beings, in a State that does not compromise their safety or on the basic necessities of life.

The greatest challenge we have faced in the course of our protest is the power differential between the people and the State. We celebrate our country as the world’s largest democracy, but its people are hopelessly powerless. Nobody listens to the people. The Parliament wastes our time, energy and resources. Even to ask a question in Parliament, we must bribe MPs, and even when they ask the question, it is just a ritual. No serious debate takes place. This democracy we speak of is a sham. It works only to cheat the poor of their rights.

 

 

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  • #999; padding: 2px; display: block; border-radius: 2px; text-decoration: none;" href="http://www.kractivist.org/cndp-statement-on-koodankulam-reaching-criticality/" target="_blank">CNDP Statement on Koodankulam Reaching Criticality
  • #999; padding: 2px; display: block; border-radius: 2px; text-decoration: none;" href="http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/08/05/the-supreme-court-of-indias-judgment-on-the-kudankulam-nuclear-plant/" target="_blank">The Supreme Court of India’s Judgment on the Kudankulam Nuclear Plant

 

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