VT Padmanabhan, R Ramesh, V Pugazhendi

NPCIL bought about 10 sq km of land at Kudankulam to set up nuclear power plants.  Of this, about 2.2 sq km of land was leased for lime stone mining to a private cement factory.  NPCIL did not carry out any mining activity as per the classification by the Expert Group appointed by the Government of India to Allay the Fear of the Locals[1].

Unlike other places of business, site of a nuclear power plant and its neighborhood is closely studied and proper records have to be maintained.  NEERI had done this at KKNPP site. In their EIA Reports for reactors 1-2 and 3-6, the mining activities undertaken outside KKNPP area are given.

“There is a stone quarry at Erukkanthurai, which is at a distance of around 6 km from the site. Excavation and quarrying is done through soft mining. There is also a stone quarry at a distance of 5 km from the site near Vijayapati. Here, only open soft excavation is used up to 2 meters depth. The other stone quarries are at distances of more than 18 km from the site”[2] [3] EIA for 1 and 2 reactors was drafted in Jan 2003).

The Honourable Mr.Justice K.Chandru in his order dated 20 September, 2007 noted that mining activities were carried out by M/s India Cement in 220 hectares of land during 1999-2004.  Total extraction in the year 2003-04 was 1.4 million tons of limestone and the ‘mine site’ (currently reactor site) had a closing balance was 2.9 million tons as on 31 March 2004. “ It was stated that on enquiry, the petitioner has kept two stock points. One near the mine and another at 5 KM away from the mines. In the stock point near the mine is a non-royalty and non-cess paid raw material are stored. The other stockyard at 5 KM away is a royalty and Cess paid materials are kept.”  [4]

NEERI even reports about the mining activities at 5 km and 18 km away from the site. It is strange that there is no record of this heavy extraction anywhere in the documents available in the public domain. As on 1st April 2003, the Kudankulam nuclear site had 2.4 million tons of mined limestone as mentioned in the order of the High Court.

According to the Limestone and Dolomite Mines Labour Welfare Fund Act, 1972, limestone was being mined out from KKNPP site during 1999-2004.  AERB says this was an “excavation work”[5] for construction of a dam with a capacity to store 60,000 cubic meters of water to be piped from Pechiparai dam.  The dam has not been built so far.  Strange are the ways of the nuclear scientists.

While the heavy machineries of M/s India Cements were extracting limestone from KKNPP site, the following nuclear related activities were also taking place there:[6]

Ground Break Sep-2001
First Pour of Concrete Mar-2002
Completion of Foundation Slab Jul-2002
Completion of 0.00m Slab Mar-2003
Construction upto + 5.4 Slab Sep-2003

 

Acknowledgement:  We are extremely grateful to Adv Guruswamy of the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court for providing this valuable information.

References

 


[1]  Presentation by the Central Government Expert Group on 18 Nov 2011

[2] Dr RN Singh, VP Deshpande, PR Chouhan and R Sarin (EIA 1+2, chapter 1 page 1.4

 [3]  EIA for KKNPP reactors 3-6, page 1.4

 [4] M/s.India Cements Ltd vs Cess Commissioner W.P.(MD)No.10169 of 2005, W.P.M.P.No.10871 of 2005 and W.V.M.P.No.67 of 2006 http://indiankanoon.org/doc/912481/

 [6] KKNPP Major milestones http://www.npcil.nic.in/main/ConstructionDetail.aspx?ReactorID=77