India-Japan Nuclear Agreement petition
 

(This is the first part of Dr. S. P. Udayakumar’s article.) The second part can be accessed HERE.

SP Udayakumar, Coordinator, People's Movement Against Nuclear Energy, spearheading the movement in Koodankulam

Idinthakarai, Tirunelveli District,
Tamil Nadu

November 20, 2011

When the Central Government’s Expert Group and the Tamil Nadu Team met for the first time on November 8, 2011, our representatives asked for the following documents with regards to the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP): the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), Site Evaluation Study, Safety Analysis Report, VVER Performance Report and all other relevant documents for reactors 1 and 2.

When the Central and State teams met again on November 18, 2011, we asked for another set of documents:

  • Detailed Project Report (DPR) submitted to the MoEF with annexures (including maps) if any in respect of reactors 1 and 2;
  • The completed application in the format prescribed in the EIA notification with the annexures (including maps) seeking EIA clearance in respect of both reactors;
  • Reports/Comments from the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB), including minutes of the public hearing in respect of both reactors;
  • Application with annexures to the TNPCB seeking NOC /Consent under Air and Water Act along with the Consent orders of both reactors; Stop Work Notice and other show cause notices if any issued by TNPCB along with replies to the same;
  • Reports/Comments from the Regional Office of the MoEF of both reactors;
  • Reports /Comments obtained from any other government or expert agency such as port authorities, fisheries, coastguard, navy etc. of both reactors;
  • All minutes (including draft minutes) of all the meetings of the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) of the MoEF of both reactors;
  • Any supplementary or additional reports/studies submitted to MoEF pursuant to any queries of the EAC of both reactors;
  • All studies/reports  sub contracted to other agencies for the preparation of the EIA report (example Social Impact, impact on flora and fauna etc) of both reactors;
  • Reports along with maps obtained from NIOT or other agencies for the CRZ clearance of both reactors;
  • Application with annexures for CRZ clearance if any of both reactors;
  • Minutes (including draft minutes) of EAC of MoEF for CRZ of both reactors;
  • Request for inspection of all files with the MoEF in respect of both reactors.

We also requested the Central team to probe all the following issues and prepare position papers on each of the following 49 topics:

  • Siting of reactors 1 and 2;
  • Environmental impact assessment (EIA) report;
  • Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) violations;
  • Public hearing processes;
  • Construction quality and reliability;
  • Contractor irregularities and corruption charges;
  • Employment issues;
  • VVER reactor design and engineering;
  • VVER reactor performance and safety;
  • dummy fuel and disposal;
  • fuel procurement for KKNPP and mode of transportation;
  • fresh water demand and supply;
  • Pechiparai dam and Tamirabharani river water utilization;
  • desalination plants and reliability;
  • impact of desalination on the sea and sea food;
  • nuclear waste disposal and management (high-grade, medium-grade, low-grade and liquid wastes);
  • reprocessing plans and plant at KKNPP site;
  • radiation safety;
  • routine emissions;
  • workers’ safety and well-being;
  • people’s safety and well-being;
  • baseline data on health concerns;
  • radiation illnesses (including all types of cancers);
  • high and dense population around the plant (exclusion, sterilization and emergency planning zones);
  • oceanography;
  • fisheries and seafood security;
  • impact on land, agriculture, livestock, and food security;
  • impact on flora and fauna;
  • coolant water disposal and thermal ecology;
  • seismology;
  • conservation issues (Gulf of Mannar biosphere and the Western Ghats);
  • terrorist and security threats;
  • impact on bilateral relations with Sri Lanka, Maldives, China and Pakistan;
  • impact of mining activities;
  • disaster management plans and emergency preparedness;
  • evacuation procedure and preparedness;
  • Russian and Indian liability issues;
  • project cost and Russian debt analysis;
  • electricity generation and transmission;
  • capacity factor monitoring;
  • fuel and waste transportation;
  • decommissioning plans, technology and cost;
  • impact of increased sea patrol and militarization of the area;
  • erosion of civil liberties;
  • noise pollution;
  • KKNPP expansion plans (3, 4, 5, 6);
  • IAEA safeguards arrangements;
  • NSG-related issues;
  • setting up possible weapons facility at KKNPP; and
  • Any other related issues.

We asked for translation of these position papers into Tamil, Malayalam and Hindi languages to be disseminated widely throughout Tamil Nadu, Kerala and other states of India and to facilitate popular discussions, expert debates, media discourses, and dialogues with the governmental authorities and civil society groups. Our demanding the above reports and studies was called into question almost immediately. In a TV debate, an assistant of Dr. Abdul Kalam, wondered who prepared the list of 49 topics for us and hinted that we did not have the capability of preparing such a list. Some of the Central team experts have even doubted the actual intention of asking for the above reports and information. It is understandable why some politicians and bureaucrats doubt our intent because they always engage in underhand dealings with foreigners (Russia, France, United States, South Korea, Australia and so forth). We have asked for the above reports and studies in order to prepare ourselves for the ongoing negotiations and to initiate a meaningful dialogue with the Central and State teams. Out of the 49 areas that we identified and asked for position papers, the “Presentation” of the Expert Group is completely silent on four: bilateral issues with Sri Lanka, Maldives, China and Pakistan; Russian and Indian liability issue; NSG related issues; setting up a weapon facility at Koodankulam.

[1] The Russian liability is a very relevant and important topic. The Indian and Russian governments signed an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) in 2008 and Clause 13 states very clearly that the Russian government would not be held liable for any accident at the Koodankulam site. The Hindu newspaper leaked this IGA a few months back. Having put foreign corporations’ interests ahead of the Indian citizens’ interests, the Indian government does not share the IGA with the public or the press. Neither does it take a clear and open stand on liability with respect to the Koodankulam project.

[2] Siting of reactors 1 and 2 is a major issue that the Indian government and the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) try to sweep it under the carpet. The “Presentation” talks about the application process but is silent about the exact spots chosen by the Russians, the Indian scientists’ and engineers’ unilateral shifting of those spots, the Russians’ objections and walk out, and the final “amicable” settlement. The “areas of significance” that contribute to the siting include effects of the plant on the environment such as “dispersion of radioactive/toxic liquid and gaseous effluents, the impact of radiation exposures to public during Normal Operation and Postulated Accident conditions taking into account dispersion patterns, population distribution, public water supply, milk and food consumption.” The “Presentation” further asserts that “ESL [Environmental Survey Lab] caries out the radiation monitoring” in the 16 km emergency planning zone.

[3] Environmental impact assessment (EIA) report: Environmental clearance was obtained for KKNPP 1 and 2 some 22 years ago on May 9, 1989. The KKNPP authorities claim that there is no need for a public hearing or fresh environmental clearances as the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) has confirmed. NPCIL is said to have done a Rapid EIA in 2001 and a comprehensive EIA in 2003. After all, the Expert Group has coaxed the DAE to put the EIA report on the NPCIL website.

[4] According to the “Presentation,” the Site Evaluation Report and the Safety Analysis Report are documents “that have been made available to AERB which is the statutory body authorized to accept and review these documents.” The “Presentation” does not say if we will get a copy of these reports or not.

[5] The “Presentation” establishes clearly that the KKNPP reactors 1 & 2 have been constructed “within 500 Mtrs from HTL” (High Tide Line) in gross violation of the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) stipulations.

[6] KKNPP 1 & 2 are VVER 1000-V412 model reactors that do not exist anywhere else in the world. On the one hand, everybody in DAE and Government of India claims that the plants are absolutely safe. But the “Presentation” lists problems such as Design Basis Events (DBEs) that include “break of main coolant pipe” (loss of coolant accident, LOCA); Beyond Design Basis Events (BDBE) that include complete loss of power supply (station black out, SBO), multiple failure such as simultaneous occurrence of LOCA and SBO; postulated failure of control rods (Anticipated Transient Without Scram, ATWS); other postulated severe accidents; external hazards etc.

[7] The plant water requirement of KKNPP is 5664 m3/day and the potable water requirement is 1272 m3/day; so the total requirement is 6936 m3/day. Installed desalination capacity is 7680 m3/day (2560 x 3 units)and there is an additional unit of 2560 m3/day as a standby. The brine reject (350 m3/hour) is mixed with condensed cooling water discharges (2,50,000 m3/hour), diluted and released into the sea through the existing outfall channel. A baseline environmental assessment and mathematical modeling study on flow, dispersion of brine reject and extent of mixing in the sea is done. The “Presentation” asserts that the “brine reject will not have any impact in the marine environment while joining the sea.” It is also silent on the impact of desalination on the sea food, or the desalination plants’ reliability.

[8] The desalination plants are designed for “sufficient capacity” and hence water utilization from other sources such as Pechiparai dam and Tamirabharani river “does not arise.” But Dr. Abdul Kalam hinted recently in his 10-point plan that Pechiparai water could be brought to Koodankulam. Many KKNPP officials have also talked about taking Pechiparai water before. It is also not explained why underground pipes have been put in place around Kanyakumari district.

[9] As regards nuclear waste disposal and management (high-grade, medium-grade, low-grade and liquid wastes), the “Presentation” asserts that “Spent Fuel is not a waste in the Indian Nuclear Programme” as we follow a closed fuel cycle, “where the valuable fissile materials like Uranium and Plutonium which are present in the Spent Fuel are recovered for reuse.” So, “spent fuel is therefore an asset that needs to be preserved.” At KKNPP, Spent Fuel from the reactors “will be carefully stored in Storage Pools” that are high-integrity concrete pools with additional stainless steel sheet lining. The DAE “has long experience and expertise of a high order in the safe management of Spent Fuel.” But please do not ask for any quantification. Nobody will ever give that.

The Spent Fuel is going to be transported “through both Railways and by roadways” to a Reprocessing facility (God knows where) “in a safe manner without any public hazard.” Do not worry; “[a]dequate technology and years of experience are available” with DAE. When we met with the Prime Minister on October 7, 2011, Dr. S. K. Jain said there would be some waste that could be melted into a glass ball. Mr. Kasinath Balaji, the director of KKNPP, claimed a few days later that there would be “some waste” and it would be kept in the Koodankulam plant and reprocessed. Dr. Abdul Kalam asserted later that week that there would be 25 percent of waste. So we heard three versions in two weeks’ time. No one speaks like a scientist and gives any clear and concise quantification.

(to be continued…)

 
 
  • durai

    Local peoples fear on safety was triggered by Fukusima, noise from KKNPP steam release during hot run and subsequent mock drill which have lead to misunderstandings among locals. As reported in press this misunderstanding has been well utilized by Anti-nukes for their support. The local election in October 2011 has added fuel to this agitation. It is also reported in press that Anti-nukes get support from MNC’/ local miners/ foreign hand/ Greens/ vested interest etc . DAE/NPCIL is trying to allay the fears of general public through leaflets and TV channels etc.

    National level debate has been started on nuclear safety.

    The time is for quick, strong and firm action by State and central governments, local govt authorities , DAE/BARC/AERB/NPCIL , NGO’s, Nuclear scientist and Nuclear Engineers to come together to allay the fears of locals in one common voice and reaffirming that the locals interests are being taken care in all phases of the project.Let locals genuine concerns be our main concern.

    KKNPP is ready is to power 2000MW , it has latest and better safety features and it is more safer than any other plants in the world and the same has been reaffirmed by hundreds of experts.

    This is the right opportunity for NPCIL to bring KKNPP to power the grid and to march ahead with future plans once the locals fears on radiation risk on future generation is passed and locals hearts are own.

    KKNPP can not be allowed to made scapegoat for unacceptable and unreal reasons by vested interests.Just because there is a nuclear safety risk and hence demanding some confidential douments and asking to stop a prestigious Kudankulam plant is like “burning a house to kill a rat”.

    Let KKNPP remove the darkness of Tamilnadu particularly Idindakarai , illuminate the scared souls by winning intellectual minds and bring cheers to all.

  • krishna kumar

    •?NOVEMBER 7, 2011, 7:08 PM JST

    Dalai Lama: A Role for Nuclear Power in Development Process

    The Dalai Lama has been an active voice opposing nuclear weapons. But after a whirlwind trip touring the tsunami-devastated northeastern patch of Japan for the first time, the religious figure said he is not absolutely against the promotion of nuclear energy. Instead, the Dalai Lama on Monday said he is in support of using nuclear

    energy for peaceful means as a way to bridge the socioeconomic gap in developing countries in the absence of more efficient alternative energy sources. “There is still many developing countries with a huge gap between rich and poor…millions of people’s lives remain

    Makiko Segawa/The Wall Street Journal

    The Dalai Lama speaks to the media in Tokyo on Nov. 7.

    under the poverty level and we have to think about these people,” the 76-year-old spiritual leader said at a news conference on Monday morning in Tokyo. He noted that other energy sources like wind and solar are too inefficient to put into realistic practice to meet the needs of fast-developing countries.

    The Dalai Lama was steady in this view during his weekend trip to the north eastern region, which included a brief stop in Fukushima prefecture where he spoke at a university in Koriyama city. Located nearly 40 miles from the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Koriyama city lies far outside the mandatory evacuation zone around the plant, but traces of radioactive contamination in school playgrounds and produce has made monitoring efforts a daily part of the residents’ new way of life.

    The Dalai Lama led a mass prayer in memory of the March 11 victims when he came to Japan in April, but did not travel to the affected areas.

    On Monday, he urged people on both sides of the contentious nuclear argument to look at the issue “holistically.” “Just to look at it from one side then to make a decision is not right,” he said. While speaking to the benefits of nuclear energy,

    however, he underlined the holistic lens needed to be pointed at the issue of risk as well. Nuclear energy specialists “should take maximum sorts of preparations.”

    Even then, he warned that no amount of preparation can completely rule out danger. Riding a car, eating a meal, and even sitting in the very venue of the news conference always comes with a degree of risk: “There is still 1% (chance) of danger,” he said, shaking his body from side to side as if being rocked by an earthquake.

    But the Dalai Lama said that the ultimate fate of using nuclear power should be a democratic choice. “In the end if the people want to eliminate (it) then it’s up to the people,” he said.

    Separately, the Dalai Lama had a word of advice to younger Japanese: mind your traditional values.

    “I really admire you Japanese people. You really built a healthy democratic society. It is industrialized and you also keep to your centuries-old traditional values. That’s good,” he said during his opening remarks.

    “I’ve heard that one of your traditional values is to respect the elderly people,” such as when “old ladies or old gentlemen are on the bus or train. Previously if one person comes the younger one used to stand and share the seat. But that kind of situation I’ve heard that has little bit degenerated. So I think you should pay more attention to traditional values.”

    • Jose Paul

      Dear Krishna Kumar,

      At leas the words of Holly Dalai Lama should be admired by the antinuclear lobby.

      At the time of conceive life starts to face danger. Can any body say anything without a trace of risk? Chance of danger is inbuilt/inpart in any life and technology. With out take risk nothing can be achieved. Present world is in this shape and status because of risk taken by somebody.

      Those who are favouring other than NPP give me the answer for three simple questions.

      1. How many can afford electricity cost double or triple or more than present rate?

      2. How will ready to accept the increase of electricity charge for the sake of environmental safety?

      3. How many of antinuclear protesters ready to reduce the electricity consumption to save the environment?

      • G.Thirunavukkarasu

        consider wind energy, solar, biomass,bio gas etc.We have to install the necessary equipments and power flows.cost of maintenance is negligible.We can go in for equipments to suit local requirements .Say a biomass unit for a village .a solar battery for a house etc.This itself is great saving of electricity.

        In the case of thermal power stations based n coal, oil,gas etc in addition to huge installation cost , arranging fuel -ferrying it across continents these days-,the pollution of the entire surrounding area,accumulation and disposal of residues etc pose costs every day and every hour.The operating crew is haggard lot with ears,eyes,lungs etc badly stressed.Just consider what costs to attribute.
        The nuclear plant cost is prohibitive.take into account profit of supplier,reliance on foreign powers, cost and handling of fuel.cost of disposal of spent fuel ,the prohibitive cost of forced outages,ignorance of running crew..etc The constant showering of radio active material to the environment can trigger chain reactions yet to be documented.What will happen if you cntinue to rely on and expand this dangerous way of harnessing energy.

        To reduce energy consumption ,social disparities had to be taken care. People should be educated about science and show-off ;
        adapting convenience ,health ,cleanliness ,social consciousness and simple way of life than pomp.pride and show.

        Above all ‘the concept of enjoying the ride safely on someone’s shoulder may not be solution in the long run.
        The clean energy is cheaper as on date.

    • angela alvares

      The Dalai Lama and MMS our Prime Minister are in the same age group, outdated and outmoded. They are not high tech savvy and Dalai Lama is NO scientist to make a valid comment on the issue of civilian nuclear power just as Kalam who is just a BSc pass, is NO nuclear scientist but an aeronautical engineer who got in missile engineering but did not handle the nuclear component of the missile industry. MMS is an economist. We cannot rely on non scientists who speak on emotion or on ignorance because they do not have time to really study the issue. Yes life is full of risks but if someone told you to jump into a well and you could not see the bottom of it, would you jump in even if you knew to swim? Nuclear power has no end to it as even the waste burns for thousands of years and has to be kept in a safe place underground or it will poison everyone around or regain criticality and explode. Reactor 4 in Fukushima, had ONLY nuclear waste in it. Yet when the waste rods lost the cooling water, they reignited and exploded the whole building sending dangerous plutonium waste all over for 30 kilometres (which is now an ISOLATION ZONE) Japan is now biting the dust economically and all the Japanese people have said NO to nuclear power. All their 58 plants are shut down. Does that tell you nothing about the HORROR of being around radio active air, radio active water, and radio active food?. A nuclear accident has the potential to destroy the economy of an entire country. No other risks and accidents have such a potential. Besides it add heats to the local environment and is not suited for hot countries. It is 40% more heat producing than any other form of power generation, including coal, as it is at best only 60% efficient. It is also not meant for developing countries as it is extremely expensive and is only possible with HEAVY subsidies from the government which comes from our taxes. So please don’t wish this dead end outdated technology on us. The young people and young leaders such as Dr. UdayaKumar (a real doctor, with a Ph.d from the U.S.) instead of Kalam (only an honorary doctor ) are aware of the cheaper 100% alternative systems available. It is their future at stake and not the future of senile old men who won’t give up their power positions to the detriment of our country.
      Please check this link

    • angela alvares

      The Dalai Lama and MMS our Prime Minister are in the same age group, outdated and outmoded. They are not high tech savvy and Dalai Lama is NO scientist to make a valid comment on the issue of civilian nuclear power just as Kalam who is just a BSc pass, is NO nuclear scientist but an aeronautical engineer who got in missile engineering but did not handle the nuclear component of the missile industry. MMS is an economist. We cannot rely on non scientists who speak on emotion or on ignorance because they do not have time to really study the issue. Yes life is full of risks but if someone told you to jump into a well and you could not see the bottom of it, would you jump in even if you knew to swim? Nuclear power has no end to it as even the waste burns for thousands of years and has to be kept in a safe place underground or it will poison everyone around or regain criticality and explode. Reactor 4 in Fukushima, had ONLY nuclear waste in it. Yet when the waste rods lost the cooling water, they reignited and exploded the whole building sending dangerous plutonium waste all over for 30 kilometres (which is now an ISOLATION ZONE) Japan is now biting the dust economically and all the Japanese people have said NO to nuclear power. All their 58 plants are shut down. Does that tell you nothing about the HORROR of being around radio active air, radio active water, and radio active food?. A nuclear accident has the potential to destroy the economy of an entire country. No other risks and accidents have such a potential. Besides it add heats to the local environment and is not suited for hot countries. It is 40% more heat producing than any other form of power generation, including coal, as it is at best only 60% efficient. It is also not meant for developing countries as it is extremely expensive and is only possible with HEAVY subsidies from the government which comes from our taxes. So please don’t wish this dead end outdated technology on us. The young people and young leaders such as Dr. UdayaKumar (a real doctor, with a Ph.d from the U.S.) instead of Kalam (only an honorary doctor ) are aware of the cheaper 100% alternative systems available. It is their future at stake and not the future of senile old men who won’t give up their power positions to the detriment of our country.

  • Maxmilanj

    Hi folks, I just want to shed clarity on questionnaire provided by the KKNP protester.

    “Right to Information” that assures that everyone have the information they need. These are the some questions mentioned the article.

    1) In case of any accident what is Liability of KKNP, who is liable, is it Supplier or Operator? Today we are discussing Liability bill for Nuclear energy. Section 17 clause (b) deals how much liability by Equipment supplier and Operator. Answer for KKNP, it involves Inter Governmental pact we need not disclose the information. In the Liability bill we deal with NSG (Group of nation) and Nuke Equipment supplier. How is it differing?

    2) People protesting against project need the clarification from Government and KKNP regarding spent fuel disposal and maintenance. Nuclear waste is highly hazardous. We need to deal very carefully any leakage involves worst consequences. There is different version of answers by authorities and NPCIL about handling of Nuke waste.

    3) All the projects we need to know design of equipment, its capability and vulnerability. Why it is deviated here. Agitators don’t require any readymade answer it is safe, give the facts about design of plant and how you justify the safety.

    4) People want to know the environment clearance provided by the plant, what are facts considered while granting the clearance? Is it anything unanswerable?

    5) KKNP Director Kasinath Balaji’s one of his interview; mentioned that they extensively studied the project and spent lot of money on studies of environment and viability, a room full of document available. Can you provide us such information?

    6) Is it the project considered the population density, as per the international laws in an around the plant.

    The people only concern is safety and security of life and livelihood of peoples in and around the project. They have every right to know information regarding the same. Why it is not adhered?

    There are groups malign the agitation and spread false information about the protest.

    1) Companies GE, Hitachi they are supporting the agitation. My dear friend forgot the history. In today people protest KKNP, tomorrow it is for the above said companies. EX: Please recall about Taliban, who supported them and now whom they fight.

    2) Christianity or group of community against the projects. People need to know population and community wise data in around the area and people involves in protest.

    3) Why you are protesting after 23 years? The answer is not aware of complexities of nuke energy, divided the people on the basis caste and religion, freebies like employment and water irrigation. 1989 Protest handled by police cruelly, it involves firing.

    4) My dear friend Durai’s comment on heat of ocean is increase. “It is not bond it is mighty Ocean”. A large nuclear power plant may reject waste heat to a natural body of water; this can result in undesirable increase of the water temperature with adverse effect on aquatic life. Please refer the related studies.

    5) Where is the source of money? People are ready to provide the information about the source money, if the Authorities ready to provide the information required by the people?

    6) These people are fisherman and illiterate how they asked these questions? Please visit our place enquire people about shortcoming of nuclear energy. If they don’t understand we have scientists, they’ll explain in layman language.

    Our only concern is safety and security our people and our future generations.Don’t malign the genuine questions and agitation. The people are not against the so called “Development” and energy hungry country. All the information regarding project should be transparent. Hiding the information make suspicious about the project.

  • durai

    Thousands of nuclear families are staying around the plant for proving safety.Many intellectuals and experts stay in southern Tamilnadu.Tamilnadu including local villages are facing 8 hours of power cuts.KKNPP has large power potentials to remove power cuts.Therefore KKNPP needs to be started soon to help crores of poeples suffering from decades of power cuts.

  • Jose Paul

    Dr. S.P. Udayakumar,

    Let me congratulate you and your team for putting expert group miserable stage. After reading your article I am in a confutation that who is expert group. As per my knowledge the expert committee was formed to interacting with state govt. officials and spokespersons of protesters. The responsibility of the committee was to explain the factual position on various aspects of KNPP.

    Your idea was very brilliant. Ask hundreds of documents comprising lakhs of pages and ask committee to translate in Tamil, Malayalam and Hindi (unfortunately Dr. Udayakumar forgot other India languages) and distribute crores of copies all over India to discuss, debate. Wah.. Uday wah…. This is called brilliant bargaining. You people hijacked the entire show and make expert panel as clerical panel.

    Do not demand all documents at a time let them run to fulfill your demand after that you give 100 documents and queries. If you continue this tactics till these experts fed-up nobody will be ready to be part of any such government committees. At that point of time you should ask to depute expert committee from government. This is the way to show to the strength of democracy and the ability of Indian people to entire world. Keep it up for ever Dr. Udayakumar

  • anbcharless

    I am support to you