Admiral L Ramdas (retd) ‘LARA’-Ramu Farm
PVSM, AVSM, VrC, VSM Vill: Bhaimala
Former Chief of the Naval Staff Alibag 402201
Magsaysay Awardee for Peace Maharashtra
Tel 02141-248711
Fax 02141- 248733
Mob 09860170960
[email protected]
20 Mar 2012

My dear Prime Minister,

REPRESSIVE MEASURES AGAINST PEACEFUL AND NON VIOLENT
PROTESTORS AT KUDAMKULAM – TAMIL NADU

I write this with a deep sense of sadness and grief. Many of us from all over the country were in Kudamkulam just the other day namely on 15 and 16 March, and the entire gathering of common people-primarily women – was as always a very inspiring experience. This was Mrs Lalita Ramdas and my third visit to the area. This visit was primariy intended to show solidarity and support for our brothers and sisters struggling against the KKNPP’s likely commissioning.

The Prime Minister may recall my last letter dated 15 March 2011, sent to you on the entire issue of nuclear power plants soon after Fukishima nuclear melt down last year. I am enclosing a copy of my letter dated 15 March 2011, for your ready reference. The sad thing is, we do not seem to have learnt the right lessons from the same! No one can be an astrologer and forecast that there will be no danger or accident in a nuclear power plant. Very often this can and does happen in all sorts of Hi Tech equipment. Accidents may be due to human or material failure or the vagaries of nature. Unfortunately we have ceased to respect people’s voices of concern and genuine fear. In any other form of technology the down stream effects of an accident are miniscule, when compared to a nuclear disaster. The residual effects of radiation are simply too long lasting and deadly to imagine. Chernobyl also built by our friends the Russians, is a constant reminder of such an idle boast. It is now over a quarter century since the accident and people are still suffering due to the effects of radiation. Neither the USA after the Three mile island, nor Russia after the Chernobyl event have added any nuclear power plants to their inventory. With my own experience and familiarity with nuclear power in submarines, I feel really sad, that we are not telling the whole truth to our people.

I have just heard that the Police and Para Military forces are parading the streets of Ilinjikarai and terrorizing the people. I have also heard that the authorities are charging Udai Kumar and others with sedition and waging war against the nation. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Kudamkulam voices are only differing with the route to electricity and hold a different view on producing that electricity. This can hardly be termed “ waging a war against the State. That is the strength of our Democracy. The right to dissent in a peaceful manner which in my view is perfectly justifiable. This indeed was Gandhiji’s strategy to get the British out from our land!

The two scientific teams from the centre and the State failed to answer any of the questions raised by the people’s team of scientists and therefore the current action of NPCIL and Tamil Nadu Government is totally “off side”.

The starting of the KKNPP without the safety drills done and explained to the people is totally irresponsible, and all other technical queries which remain unanswered also needs to be addressed. The expenditure incurred on the existing plant of nearly Rs 14000/ crores need not be wasted. With suitable modifications and perhaps some additional 1000 to 2000 crores, expenditure we can convert this Power Plant into one which can operate on CNG. Gas. There need be no fear or worries thereafter, for all concerned. Such a conversion has been done in three plants in the USA after the Three mile Island episode.

In view of the foregoing I would request the Honorable Prime Minister to prevail upon the CM of Tamil Nadu and the NPCIL to stop all actions until all these angles have been cleared.

Warm regards,

Sincerely yours,

L.Ramdas

Dr Manmohan Singh
Prime Minister
New Delhi 110011
Fax 011 23019546

 
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Admiral L Ramdas (retd) ‘LARA’-Ramu Farm
PVSM, AVSM, VrC, VSM Vill: Bhaimala
Former Chief of the Naval Staff Alibag 402201
Magsaysay Awardee for Peace Maharashtra
Tel 02141-248711
Fax 02141- 248733
Mob 09860170960
[email protected]
15 MAR 2011

My dear Prime Minister,

THE JAPANESE TRAGEDY- NUCLEAR DISASTER- LESSONS FOR INDIA

It has been some time since I wrote to you. The last time was to share my concerns about Jammu and Kashmir. I am happy to see some forward movement on that score.

Meanwhile the ongoing devastating developments in Japan have served as a wake up call, which we will ignore at our peril. However I would like to highlight the following:

  • Even the most meticulously designed and planned technologies can fail or malfunction with total unpredictability when confronted by the forces of nature and a wide range of extreme climate and other unforeseen events.
  • That we have allowed ourselves to be led astray by the arguments, primarily circulated from the nuclear industry and their lobbies, THERE IS NO ALTERNATIVE, [aka TINA] to nuclear power as an engine of growth.
  • It is even more tragic that we have convinced ourselves that Nuclear power is cheap while solar power is prohibitive in costs. There is more than enough evidence of available technologies available to demonstrate that solar energy can be provided at a cost of Rs 5 crore per mega Watt , while some estimate that the cost per MW for power from the AREVA built Jaitapur facility could cost upto be Rs 22 cores per MW.
  • Perhaps we need to listen to and heed voices other than those who defend blindly the dangerous road map we have adopted!
  • The additional cost [only in money not in the long reaching environmental costs] of nuclear fuel, disposal of nuclear waste and the dismantling the nuclear power plant has not been included in calculations. The normal cost for dismantling a nuclear power plant according to experts is about one and a half times the cost of the project after the normal life of a reactor of 40 years! No doubt these costs will probably double in the next decade or so.
  • The whole of Rural India can be provided de-centralized small solar power stations as demonstrated by Bangladesh where there are already over 5 lac such units in the Sunderbans. These can be controlled by local communities – but yes the draw back is there will not be any large scale profits to be made by a few.
  • The Planning Commission in its report of March 2010, has opined that India has a potential for exploiting 500.000Mega Watts of Solar power. Our present argument that investment in nuclear energy is a pre-requisite for maintaining a growth rate of 9% urgently needs critical re-examination.

SO WHAT IS THE WAY AHEAD – SOME RECOMMENDATIONS

  • Declare an immediate moratorium on all planned new nuclear reactors. There is everything to be gained by using the `precautionary principle’ and NOT allowing ourselves to be swayed by the vested interests who are not willing to seriously examine the fault lines about Nuclear Energy, Radiation and all the other hidden costs about which there is enough literature and evidence.
  • Shut down, at least temporarily, all existing reactors until we have assured ourselves as to the safety systems and all other safeguards. (Since the present contribution of Nuclear energy to the grid is really negligible, this will not make any serious impact. )
  • After checking out the safety standards of the operational reactors, announce a decision to review possibility of phasing them out on super annuation.
  • Amend or annul MOU’s if required. ( Germany has decided to review its nuclear power program and has temporarily shut down all its nuclear power plants for a period of three months.) It has also reversed its earlier decision to add, some more nuclear Power plants, and to shut down and phase out those which are functioning)
  • Appoint a task force [IITs or other institutions?] to develop multiple models of solar power – in a time bound framework – this must come directly under the PMO and be funded independently with no holds barred.
  • Re-examine and rationalise the present grossly weighted and imbalanced system of subsidies and incentives which privileges nuclear over solar.
  • Set up a multi disciplinary task force (including members of civil society) to do a realistic recast of India’s energy future and energy requirements.
  • Implement immediately energy saving measures at all levels – our strategy must be a combination of energy efficiency, stopping wastage, and creating new renewable energy sources.
  • The atomic energy regulatory agency and all civilian reactor deals must be transparent and not come under the official secrets act as at present. These need urgent change and must come under the ambit of the existing R.T.I. rules.

Conclusion

India is at a crossroads about decisions for charting our future. The Japanese tragedy should seriously be utilized as a wake up call to have a fresh look and a re-think about some of our earlier decisions. Clearly we as a nation must make use of what comes to us in plenty and for free- namely solar energy – it is not surprising that we in this country have since time immemorial worshipped Surya Bhagvan – and the immense power that flows therefrom – and with none of the destructive potential of the atom.
I end by quoting from a scientist friend who sent me a message this morning :

“Mother Nature has given us a deadly warning that it is past time to end our reliance on nuclear power and invest instead in solar power, the only safe nuclear reactor that exists – 93 million miles from Earth. The question is: Will the disaster in Japan open our eyes to the need for change, or will we be content to continue to tempt fate and simply hope that we do not become the next place on the planet where nuclear power fails catastrophically?”

You have a wonderful historical opportunity to take leadership globally in moving us in a different direction and make the world, and our precious and ancient land a safer place for our children and grandchildren..
Warm regards

Sincerely yours

L. Ramdas

Dr Manmohan Singh
Prime Minister
New Delhi 110011
Fax 011 23019546