Press release – January 12, 2012

Mumbai, January 12, 2012: According to a paper co-authored by Professor Dr. Roger Bilham of University of Colarado and Professor Dr. Vinod Gaur of Indian Institute of Astrophysics, an earthquake, the magnitude of 6 plus on the Richter scale, can occur in Jaitapur. The paper was published in Current Science, a prestigious Indian journal published by Current Science Association and the Indian Academy of Sciences.

While briefing the audience at a conference organized by the environmental organisation Greenpeace, Dr. Bilham said, “Since Jaitapur lies in the same compressional stress regime that has been responsible for generating both the Mw=6.3 Latur and the Mw=6.4 Koyna earthquakes in the past five decades it can be argued that a similar sized could possibly occur directly beneath the power plant. The probability of this earthquake occurring is low but it is nevertheless possible, and is an important consideration in the design of a safe power plant.”

He added that it was not possible to confidently say that an earthquake of a high magnitude would not occur in Jaitpur as one needs to examine reliable data spanning many centuries in order to do so. This is due to the long gaps between earthquakes. With regard to Jaitapur, the available data that can be relied upon only extends to last 200 years – a small time in geological history”.

The Jaitapur area comes under Ratnagiri district which falls in the seismic zone 4 (High damage) category with zone 5 being the highest (2). The area has witnessed 92 earthquakes within 1985 to 2005 (3).

According to Pradeep Indulkar, “the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) prepared by NEERI does not address the true seismicity of the region by claiming it to be zone 3 as opposed to being zone 4. To build a nuclear plant in a seismic zone 4 according to the specifications of zone 3 would be disastrous not just for the people living in the vicinity of the nuclear plant but also for the country. It would be a disaster waiting to happen”.

Pravin Gavankar of Janhit Sew Samiti, Madban and Dr. Milind Desai , Madban have filed an application calling for the cancelation of environmental clearance in the National Green Tribunal. The next hearing would be on the 24th of January.

End —

Notes to Editor

1- Historical and future seismicity near Jaitapur, India by Dr. Roger Bilham and Dr. Vinod Gaur,%20India.pdf

2- National Disaster Management Authority, Government of India: Ratnagiri Earthquake zone 4

3- 92 earthquakes in 20 years (Times of India report)


Dr. Roger Bilham:

Professor of Geological Sciences at University of Colorado and has extensively studied the seismicity of the Indian sub-continent. He has co-authored about 60 papers on earthquake and seismicity.

Dr. Vinod Gaur:

Distinguished Professor Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore. Also Adjunct Professor Indian Institute of Science, Education and Research (IISER), Kolkata. He studied Geophysics at Banaras University and at Imperial College where he discovered the hitherto unsuspected ‘host rock effect’ in geo-electromagnetics. For this discovery in 1959, he earned the degree of Doctor of Philosophy from the University of London. His academic career began, immediately thereafter, as a Scientist at the National Physical Laboratory, UK.

Pradeep Indulkar:

Pradeep has worked in Bhabha Atomic Research Centre from 1983 to 1994. Resigned as Scientific Officer and presently working in environment education. Designing environment education centre, nature interpretation centre is his focus area. He is an antinuclear activist and has been working in people’s movement against Jaitapur Nuclear Power Plant for last 5 years.

For more information contact:

Karuna Raina, Nuclear Campaigner, Greenpeace India +91 9650111955, [email protected]

Hozefa Merchant, Media Officer, Greenpeace India +91 9819592410, [email protected]