Dr. Buddhi Kota Subbarao | CounterCurrents.org

“Achche din’(Happy Days) are coming”, was the promise on which Narendra Modi rose to become Prime Minister of India from the 2014 General Election.

Least realising the Achilles’ heel of former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was the Civil Nuclear Deal with the United States of America despite Singh’s misplaced belief that the nuclear deal brought glory to him as Prime Minister, the immediately succeeding Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi enthused himself to embark upon a vigorous nuclear diplomacy.

modi Obama

Courtesy: The Hindu

Vigorous Nuclear Diplomacy

As part of that vigorous nuclear diplomacy, Narendra Modi upon being sworn in on 26 May 2014 as India’s 15thPrime Minister took several quick steps including the following:

(i) the keenness of Modi Government revealed in June 2014to go ahead with Kovvada nuclear power park (NPP) of 9564 MW (6 units of Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor (ESBWR) each 1594 MW) in Srikakulam District of Andhra Pradesh to be built by GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) which is a global nuclear alliance created by the General Electric of the United States and Hitachi of Japan. GEH was established in June 2007 and located in Wilmington, N.C. United States. In Japan, the alliance is known as Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy, Ltd. The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactors on the east coast of Japan damaged on March 11, 2011 following earthquake and tsunami and theTarapore Nuclear Power Plant on the west coast of India are of General Electric design;

(ii) the civil nuclear cooperation agreement with Australia in September 2014for supply ofuranium;

(iii) the so called “breakthrough understanding” on the nuclear liability issue with U.S. President Barack Obama in January 2015;

(iv) the granting of coastal regulatory zone (CRZ) permission in March 2015 from the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change (MoEFCC), for the 6,000-MW Mithivirdi Nuclear Power Plant in Bhavnagar district of Gujarat for which an Early Work Agreement (EWA) madein 2012 exists between Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) and the American company Westinghouse Electric which is owned by Japanese Toshiba;

(v) the Pre-Engineering Agreement (PEA) between India’s NPCIL and French nuclear company Areva in April 2015 to go ahead with Jaitapur Nuclear Power Park in Maharashtra and the and the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the French nuclear company AREVA and the Indian engineering company Larsen & Toubro Ltd (L&T) to transfer technology for manufacturing nuclear plant equipment like valves, piping, electrical instrumentation and engineering work and the provisions of the MoU are more in favour of AREVA;

(vi) the commercial agreement with Canadian Company Cameco in April 2015 to supply India with over seven million pounds of uranium over the next five years, a deal that became possible due in part to the Canada-India Nuclear Cooperation Agreement.

This vigorous nuclear diplomacy when analysed properly would show Narendra Modi to be a gullible businessman and a captive Prime Minister, despite his overflowing self confidence in public and Parliament.

Gullible Businessman

However unpalatable to the supporters of Narendra Modi it might be, there is evidence showing Modi to be a gullible businessman in nuclear technology. The evidence manifests from his determination to go ahead with the financially and technically sinking French nuclear company Areva to set up Jaitapur Nuclear Power Park (NPP) of 9900 MW with 6 units each 1650 MW European Pressurised Reactors (EPRs), while it is publicly known that Finland cancelled recently its option for a second EPR (Olkiluoto 4 nuclear reactor)from French Areva, upon experiencing that the first EPR plant under construction in Finland (Olkiluoto 3), is running severely over time and over budget. Going by the experience of Finland, the cost of Jaitapur NPP would be above Rs. 3 lakh crores.

The nuclear reactor known as Olkiluoto 3 in Finland is the very first EPR reactor designed and developed by the French nuclear company Areva, to go into construction in 2005 and it is not expected to commence operating until 2018, nine years late. The estimated cost of Olkiluoto 3 has risen from €3.2 billion (US$3.6b) to €8.5 billion (US$9.5b). Areva has already made provision for a €2.7 billion (US$3.0b) write-down on the project, with further losses expected. Finnish electricity company TVO (FTVO)and Areva / Siemens are locked in a €10 billion legal battleover the cost overruns [1].

After a gap of 15 years for the nuclear reactor construction in Western Europe, Finland placed order in 2003 for their Olkiluoto 3 nuclear reactor choosing the French Areva designed European Pressurised Rector (EPR also known as Evolutionary Power Reactor) considered to be the first Generation III design to win orders.

The next was the 2006 order for an EPR at Flamanville in France, and two EPRs at Taishan in China in 2007. At that time Areva was confidently projecting a sales pipeline of 25 or more reactors, now proved to be a pipe dream

Since then, EPRs have been facing one problem after another. All three EPR construction projects in Finland, France and China have suffered cost escalations or delays or both. The two EPRs under construction in China are 13-15 months behind schedule

The estimated cost of the Flamanville EPR in France has increased from €3.3 billion (US$3.7b) to at least €9 billion (US$10.1b). The first concrete was poured in 2007 and commercial operation was expected in 2012, but that timeframe has been pushed back to 2017 (with further delays likely) [1].

In March 2015 Standard & Poor’s further downgraded Areva’s credit rating to BB- after Areva posted a €4.8 billion or nearly $5.4 billionloss for 2014, compared with a €500 million loss a year earlier. Areva intends to cut costs to save about €1 billion annually by 2017, and to sell €450 million of assets by 2017. The French government is considering a rescue plan which may include some form of bailout from Électricité de France (EDF). In May 2015, Areva announced that it expected to cut 5,000 to 6,000 jobs out of its 42,000 employees globally. [2]

The British Daily Mail newspaper narrated the dismal performance of the French nuclear company Areva and questioned the wisdom of the British Government to entrust to French companies EDF and Areva the setting up of a twin EPR reactor 3.2GW power plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset, UK, supported by the most generous nuclear subsidy package ever assembled. The title of the well-argued Daily Mail article on the policy and performance of Flamanville EPR project in France is quite revealing, “Deaths, chilling safety lapses, lawsuits, huge cost over-runs and delays: Why we can’t trust the French with Britain’s nuclear future” [3]

Fukushima disaster in Japan caused global decline in the interest on nuclear power plant construction. Following the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, Germany has permanently shut down eight of its 17 reactors and pledged to close the rest by the end of 2022. Italy voted overwhelmingly to keep their country non-nuclear. Switzerland and Spain have banned the construction of new reactors. Netherlands and Sweden, among other countries have pulled back from earlier interest in new reactors.

In the United States, a total of seven EPRswere planned at six sites. Construction licence applications for four EPRs were submitted to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), but all four applications have been abandoned or suspended. In February 2015, Areva asked the NRC to suspend work on EPR design certification until further notice.

In Canada, a generic licensing process by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission was terminated and plans were shelved for the construction of EPRs at various sites including Alberta and Darlington, Ontario.

The Italian utility Enel and the French utility EDF planned in 2009 to build four EPRs in Italy and other places but that plan was scrapped after Italy’s June 2011 referendum which rejected nuclear power. In 2012, Enel pulled out of the Flamanville EPR project in France.

The United Arab Emirates chose South Korean reactor technology over the French EPRs.

Manufacturing Faults

In the reactor pressure vessel of the Flamanville EPR, under construction in France, serious fabrication defects have been noticed and announced on 7th April 2015 by the French Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN). The pressure vessel was forged by Areva’s Creusot Forge subsidiary. Tests conducted by the French regulatory authority revealed areas with high carbon concentration resulting in “lower than expected mechanical toughness values”.

Pierre-Franck Chevet, head of ASN, said: “It is a serious fault, even a very serious fault, because it involves a crucial part of the nuclear reactor.” [1] Pressure vessel has already been installed in the Flamanville EPR. The results of further tests are expected by October 2015.

Asked what would happen if tests were negative, Chevet said: “Either EDF abandons the project or it takes out the vessel and starts building a new one … this would be a very heavy operation in terms of cost and delay.” [1]

In a worst-case scenario for Areva, the pressure vessel problem would kill the Flamanville reactor project.

Chevet also said the reactor vessels for the UK’s two EPRs planned for Hinkley Point C could be affected as they have already been manufactured by the same company using the same manufacturing techniques – even though no formal order has been placed by EDF.

The two EPRs under construction in China might also be affected since the pressure vessels for those reactors were also made by Creusot Forge. China will not load fuel at the Taishan EPRs until safety issues have been resolved, China’s environment ministry said. [1]

The gullibility of Modi as businessman became evident when he told on May 13, 2015 the delegation of Shiv Sena Members of Parliament who met Modi in Delhi to oppose the Jaitapur project that the Sena MPs shouldn’t be opposing the project as it would be ‘beneficial’ for the country and huge “foreign investment” is going to come. [4]

The truth is Indian people are being positioned by the adventurous Modi’s government to rescue the financially sinking French nuclear giant Areva by remaining unmindful of the would be colossal damage to Indian people and Indian Environment in more than one way from the implementation of the Jaitapur project.

What benefit Modi gets from such adventurism is not known. Modi who takes pride in asserting he is a good businessman should not be failing to notice the financially sinking French nuclear company Areva. Going ahead with Jaitapur Nuclear Power Park of 9900 MW with financially sinking French Areva would make Narendra Modi antithesis of Robinson Crusoe – rob the poor and pay the rich.

The globally noticed gullibility of Modi became evident when Modi during his official visit to China May 14-16, 2015, ignoring the warnings of India’s Security Establishment, announced on May 15 that India will grant e-visas to Chinese people. Ironically during the very time Modi was making his announcement, reporting on Modi’s visit, China’s state- owned television was showing India’s map without Jammu and Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh.

The gullibility of Narendra Modi is on several fronts. The most serious front is the field of nuclear technology. The relevant question is – “Who benefits from nuclear power plants in India?” An analysis of this question would be helpful to all Indians [5]. The next relevant question is whether it would be harmful to India if India like Germany chooses to phase out nuclear electricity in a decided time frame and concentrates and invests on renewable energy- “Whether Ordinance On Self-Denial Of Nuclear Power Harmful To India” [6]

Captive Prime Minister

Narendra Modi can be seen to be a captive Prime Minister from two counts; firstly, Modi like every other earlier Indian Prime Minister has been oblivious to the fact that he or she is surrounded by pretentious nuclear top brass (Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi to some extent understood these pretensions). This top brass of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) consists of persons who are “experts” in the eye of the Prime Minister whereas those “experts” right from the beginning have been permitted without any accountability to mix nuclear weapon pursuit and civilian nuclear electricity pursuit and thereby have been afforded authority to cite national security to push all the monumental mismanagement in the DAE under the carpet and also have been afforded liberty to proclaim routine things and even grave failures as big achievements in the nuclear field; secondly, Modi very much like the earlier Prime Minister Dr.Manmohan Singh positioned himself as the captiveof a captive US President. It is a well-known fact, every US President including G W Bush and Barack Obama is captive of Military Industrial Complex and of the big Corporate World like the Oil Corporate and Nuclear Business Corporate and such other Corporates.

Military-Industrial Complex Speech, by Dwight D. Eisenhower, in 1961 during his farewell address to the people of the United States as US President warned “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”

Eisenhower was gravely concerned about “the acquisition of unwarranted influence…by the military-industrial complex.” In particular, he asked the American people to guard against the “danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.”

Though the farewell speech of President Eisenhower was aimed at the people of United States, the warning therein that “public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite”, has become ominous for other countries including Japan and India.

At the time of Fukushima nuclear disaster, the Prime Minister of Japan was Naoto Kan. To his country’s Parliament, Kan gave striking testimony in which he accepted blame for his own poor response during the Fukushima meltdown, and also revealed the disturbing characteristics of the nuclear power industry and its enormous influence on all walks of life in Japan. This aspect is true in India as well because India’s Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) has enormous influence on the Central Government and on Indian Prime Minister who holds direct charge of DAE and on several Universities and IITs in the country.

Japan’s former Prime Minister Naoto Kan urged his country’s Parliament to abandon nuclear power. He referred to the detrimental domination of the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) and the other Electric Power Companies of Japan. Kan’s testimony recorded:

“ TEPCO and the Electric Power Companies of Japan have dominated the nuclear power industry for the last 40 years. Through this nuclear clique and the rules they created, they expelled and isolated industry experts, politicians and bureaucrats who were critical, while the rest just looked on because of self-protection and an attitude of peace-at-any-cost. I’m saying this because I feel partly responsible .” [7]

Former Prime Minister Naoto Kan pointed out the nuclear clique created by vested interests and urged his parliament to totally destroy and eradicate the organizational structure of the vested interests and influence it has on the public. He said, “ I think this should be the first step in reforming the nuclear industry.” [7]

Prime Minister Kan’s testimony further recorded:

“In Japan, the term “The Atomic Village” refers to an isolated elite that has formed around the country’s nuclear complex. …It’s as if Austrian writer Robert Jungk’s horrific vision of the “nuclear state” had become reality….Even many media organizations, as recipients of generous payments for the electricity industry, are part of the cartel….”Our country was literally brainwashed,” says Taro Kono, a member of the lower house of the Japanese Diet for the conservative LDP. “Atomic energy is a cult in Japan.” …Many scientists, especially at the University of Tokyo, are partial to TEPCO. The company contributes millions to the university and supports many associations, think tanks and commissions….Meanwhile, the Japanese government has begun asking Internet providers to remove “false reports” about Fukushima from the web…In Japan, the insiders who talked about the abuses at TEPCO were intimidated, as were journalists who reported on these abuses….” [7]

“The Atomic Village ” in Japan is akin to “India’s Nuclear Estate”. Both shine with “isolated elite ” that has “formed around” respective “country’s nuclear complex.”

As much as in Japan, in India also “many media organizations, as recipients of” generosities from the DAE and NPCIL systematically ensure, “country was literally brainwashed” in favour of nuclear power.

Very similar to the position in Japan where “Atomic energy is a cult”, in India also Atomic Energy has become a “cult”, especially after the Indo-US Nuclear Deal.

While in Japan the “scientists, especially at the University of Tokyo, are partial to TEPCO”, in India very many scientists and engineers at every Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and at several Indian Universities have become captive scientists of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) which dolls out research funds (of course public money) only to those who toe the line of the DAE. This is a well-known phenomenon in India.

But the similarity does not extend to the Prime Ministers of Japan and India while they talk to their respective parliamentarians. Instead there is a stark contrast.

While the former Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan could give testimony on May 28, 2012 to the Japanese Parliament explaining the rot in the Japanese nuclear power industry and could even urge the Parliament to end the nuclear power, the Indian Prime Minister Dr.Manmohan Singh on May 16, 2012 misinformed and misdirected the Indian Parliament and pushed under the carpet all the mismanagement in the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) which he himself holds under his direct charge. [6] & [8].

Thereby, Dr.Manmohan Singh showed his determination to keep the flag of Indo-US nuclear deal high and to pave the way to flood India with imported nuclear power plants.

Narendra Modi, by following the perilous footsteps of Manmohan Singh in the matter of imported nuclear power plants, reminds us the famous Chinese sage Confucius, “Learning without thought is labour lost, and, thought without learning is perilous.”

Experts

One convenient way to ignore the democratic voice of the people opposing the nuclear electricity is by saying that the technical matters must be left to the “experts”. This strategy was deployed by the former Prime Minister Dir. Manmohan Singh and is now being deployed by the present Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The problem with this strategy is in the way of choosing only those “experts” who are known proponents of nuclear power or from amongst the serving or retired DAE officials.

It is either a clear sign of luxury afforded at public cost without commensurate work output or the dictatorial way of functioning in DAE or both, there is not a single whistle blower even after six decades existence of Atomic Energy Establishment in India, though majority of DAE personnel talk in whispers about the rot in the DAE establishments.

Faced with opposition from Shiv Sena Members of Parliament over Jaitapur Nuclear Power Plant (9900 MW) with technology from French nuclear company Areva, Prime Minister Modi retorted on May 13, 2015, by saying that he was not a technical expert and their concerns would be studied by the experts and would then take a decision. Modi advised Sena MPs to stop opposing the project. [4]

The strategy that was followed by the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in respect of Koodankulam nuclear power plant with two Russian VVER reactors of 1000 MW in Tamilnadu, southern India, is now being adopted by the present Prime Minister Narendra Modi for all other proposed nuclear projects in the country including the nuclear plants at Jaitapur in Maharashtra, Mithi Virdi in Gujarat and Kovvada in Andhra Pradesh.

In September 2011, the then Chief Minister of Tamilnadu Dr. J. Jayalalitha formally wrote a letter to the then Prime Minister of India, Dr.Manmohan Singh, bringing to Prime Minister’s notice the concerns of the people agitating peacefully against Koodankulam nuclear power plant on the east coast. Jayalalitha proved she was different from the Chief Minister of Maharashtra Prithviraj Chavan who had unleashed harsh measures on people agitating peacefully against Jaitapur nuclear power plant on the west coast. [9]

Jayalalitha at that time, quite rightly made it clear that it is for the Prime Minister who holds direct charge of the Department of Atomic Energy to allay people’s fear for nuclear safety. She was not prepared to accept that the nuclear safety could be concluded from official assurances. The tone and tenor of her letter to the Prime Minister implied that there is a need for comprehensive examination of the dangers at all stages of nuclear route to produce electricity. A further implication in a Chief Minister writing to the Prime Minister on a burning nuclear issue is the desirability of transparency by making public the levels of nuclear radiation pollution in and around all the existing nuclear installations in India.[9]

The then Prime Minister of India Dr.Manmohan Singh was concerned that his coveted Indo-US Nuclear deal might become the ultimate victim. Therefore, pursuant to the formal letter received from Chief Minister Jayalalitha, Manmohan Singh deployed a Central Panel of “experts” to attend to the “legitimate concerns” of the people agitating against nuclear power plants. The main issue raised against Koodankulam nuclear plant is about the safety in the design and operation of a nuclear reactor and its radiological impact on the people and environment from a possible accident.

The Central Panel of “experts” appointed by Manmohan Singh treated the whole issuemore like an exercise in Public Relations (PR Exercise) and not as a dangerous nuclear technology and socio-economic issue of nuclear radiation dangers to the people and environment and loss of livelihood to fishermen and farmers. Moreover, there was none among the Central Panel of “experts” who was familiar with the technology of pressurised water reactor (PWR) the type of reactor at Koodankulam. Therefore, the attempt to attend to the “legitimate concerns” of the people agitating against nuclear power plants proved to be a predetermined exercise to pull wool over the eyes of the people of India by the Central panel of “experts”.

The irony is when the main issue is about the safety in the design and operation of a nuclear reactor and its radiological impact on the people and environment from a possible accident, the spokesperson for the Central Panel was the person working in oceanography A. E. Muthunayagam who confidently stated, “safety measures such as passive heat removal system, double containment, core catcher, and hydrogen re-combiner installed in the reactors instead of conventional methods made the pressurised water reactors the safest and hence there was no need for any fear.” “If there is any fear even after this, it is not based on scientific principles.” [10].

It is not only an irony but also a tragedy, mere familiarity with terms like “passive heat removal system”, “double containment”, “core catcher”, and “hydrogen re-combiner” makes a person working in oceanography like A. E. Muthunayagam an expert in the Central Government Panel and an ally to dispel the “legitimate concerns” of the people agitating against nuclear power plants considered to be a serious subject which has been gripping not only the people of Tamilnadu but also the people throughout India. [6]

Having been the first Chief Minister to raise seriously the nuclear issue with the Prime Minister, why has Jayalalitha fallen in line to embrace the Koodankulam nuclear power plant in her State? Jayalalitha consciously missed a historic opportunity to alter the energy security map of India by shunning nuclear electricity and embracing renewable sources such as solar, wind, small hydro, bio-fuels and energy saving methods [11]

Perhaps being ill advised, Jayalalitha chose Dr.M.R.Srinivasan former Chairman of AEC (Atomic Energy Commission) and Secretary DAE of the Central Government to head the expert committee to advise her. It was a blunder because Dr.Srinivasan has all along been an ardent supporter of Koodankulam nuclear plant. His recommendation is a foregone conclusion. Dr.Srinivasan never worked on a PWR reactor. He has no knowledge on the design and development of nuclear reactors of PWR type being erected at Koodankulam.

Politicians in India quite often take people for granted. Through media spin, people’s critical thinking is lulled. It is a game politicians of all shades have been playing with the people of India in the name of democracy.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has conveyed clearly in May 2015 to the state government of Maharashtra that there is no option to review the Jaitapur decision, but issues raised by the Shiv Sena could be discussed to allay any apprehensions [12]. The present Central and state governments of Bharatiya Janatha Party (BJP) are not considering the Shiv Sena’s demand to scrap the nuclear power project at Jaitapur in the Konkan region [12].

Whereas, Sushma Swaraj the present Minister for External Affairs as the then leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha, from BJP, in August 2011 had demanded, “There should be a review of the total civil nuclear energy programme and till such time there should be a halt to all ongoing projects,”. She said this while associating with Shiv Sena’s demand for scrapping of the Jaitapur nuclear power project in the Konkan region of Maharashtra [13] What should people of India make out, from this type of flip-flops of democratically elected leaders in the matter of import of nuclear power plants that would cost over Rs. 5 lakh crores?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi takes a leaf from his predecessor Manmohan Singh and desires to leave the matter of nuclear electricity to “experts”.

The nuclear “experts” in India’s Department of Atomic Energy are very special. As per their expert knowledge the core meltdowns in three nuclear reactors at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan in March 2011 is not a nuclear accident but a mere chemical reaction, even though the rest of the world recognises on the International Nuclear Event Scale the Fukushima disaster as Level 7 (major release of radioactive material with widespread health and environmental effects requiring implementation of planned and extended countermeasures).

“There is no nuclear accident or incident in Japan’s Fukushima plants. It is a well-planned emergency preparedness programme which the nuclear operators of the Tokyo Electric Power Company are carrying out to contain the residual heat after the plants had an automatic shutdown following a major earthquake,” said SK Jain, the then Chairman and Managing Director of Nuclear Power Corporation in March 2011 [14].

After stepping down from the post of Chairman & Managing Director of the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL), Dr SK Jain, immediately joined in June 2012 WANO ( World Association of Nuclear Operators ) Governing Board, Tokyo Centre. To facilitate the path of flooding India with nuclear power plants, there will be many subtle inducements to the high rank Indian nuclear scientists and to the politicians in power and also to the influential people in India. The case of Dr. S K Jain joining WANO Governing Board, Tokyo Centre is painted as an honour to India. Such honour roll is bound to grow to pave the way for flooding India with nuclear reactors.

Referring to Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan in March 2011, the then Chairman of Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) and Secretary DAE, Government of India, Dr Srikumar Banerjee, who was a key expert advisor to then Prime Minister said “It was purely a chemical reaction and not a nuclear emergency as described by some section of media,” [14].

Whereas, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) the operator of Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant admits that it is a grave nuclear emergency and the exact position of more than 300 tons of melted nuclear cores in the nuclear reactor cores of No. 1 to 3 units is not known even now. This became quite clear from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Mission Report dated 22 May 2013, where some of the key problems are highlighted:

“The most important one is the unknown detailed radiological and physical situation inside the reactor pressure vessels and the integrity of primary containment vessels of the units. Actual status and the location of the fuel debris, extent of the structural damages and the loss of integrity of the structures and components, as well as the magnitude of the contamination are not well known yet. The conditions and the location of the fuel debris have to be determined in order to plan for its removal and to develop adequate technologies since the removal of the debris is a prerequisite for the decommissioning.” [15]

The IAEA Mission, inter alia, further recorded, “The Reactor Pressure Vessels (RPV) of Fukushima Daiichi NPS Units 1-3 are currently being cooled by injecting circulated water through core spray and feed water lines. The cooling water drains from the RPV to the Primary Containment Vessel (PCV) and combines with penetrating underground water in the reactor building. Via penetrations between the buildings, this ‘contaminated water’ leaks to the turbine building, where additional penetrating underground water collects. This ‘contaminated water’ in the turbine buildings is extracted and purified via the water processing equipment and then circulated back to the reactors.”

On July 9, 2013, TEPCO officials reported that Radioactive Caesium was 90 times higher than it was 3 days ago, (July 6), and that it may spread into the Pacific Ocean. TEPCO reported that the Caesium-134 levels in the well water were at 9,000 becquerels per Litre, 150 times the legal level, while Caesium-137measured 18,000 becquerels, 200 times the permitted level.

On August 7, 2013, Japanese officials said highly radioactive water was leaking from Fukushima Daiichi into the Pacific Ocean at a rate of 300 tons (about 272 metric tons) per day. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ordered government officials to step in.

In his address at the Assocham conference in May 2015, Dr R.K. Sinha, the present chairman of Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) and secretary, Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) said, “it is fundamental to address myths like – nuclear power is too dangerous as any accident can kill thousands of people and nuclear radiation causes cancer” [16].

Thus according to the Chairman AEC & Secretary DAE Dr. R.K. Sinha, who is the key “expert” advisor to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, it is a fundamental myth to believe “nuclear radiation causes cancer.”

It is for people of India to discover Dr.Sinha belongs to the unique DAE culture in which what the DAE scientists say is real science and the rest is all myth.

Dr Gopinath, the then Director of the Health Physics Division at Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), disclosed in 1993 at a meeting of the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR), the numerical values of the radioactive discharges from Indian nuclear power plants. UNSCEAR was outraged and officially told the Indian government that these discharges were higher than the safe limits by about 100 times.

It is difficult to decide, whether the Indian people are blessed or condemned to have such nuclear “experts” likeDr. S K Jain, Dr Srikumar Banerjee, Dr R.K. Sinha and others like them to advise Indian Prime Ministers to invest over Rs. 5 lakh crores on the import of nuclear power plants and also to assure and convince the Indian people agitating against the proliferation of dangerous nuclear power plants that nuclear power is cheap, safe and required for the country. With such nuclear “experts” Modi’s Governmentaims to make 9,900 MW Jaitapur nuclear plant as ‘most-glorious atomic energy establishment’ [16].

Judiciary knows how to punish fake medical doctors, but it knows not how to deal with pretentious and fake nuclear “experts” who advise Indian Prime Minister to commit over Rs. 5 lakh crores for the import of dangerous nuclear power plants. In matters of nuclear technology it is difficult for the higher Indian judiciary to know the border between policy and fraud.Consequently, scam in science cannot be dealt with as easily as coal scam or 2G spectrum scam.

When Prime Minister Modi retorts to the opposition of Shiv Sena MPs over erection of Jaitapur nuclear plant in Maharashtra and says he would be guided by the advice of “experts”, he is in fact following the footsteps of earlier Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who had apparently responded to the formal letter from Chief Minister Jayalalitha and appointed a Central Panel of ‘experts” to allay the “legitimate concerns” of people agitating against Koodankulam nuclear power plant, a step which is an euphemism for pulling wool over the eyes of the agitating people and others.

The fact is, the melted nuclear reactors at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant are still not under control even after four years of struggle, despite the declaration in English Language by Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan in September 2013 to the International Olympic Committee, on the state of things in Fukushima nuclear power plant, “the situation is under control”. That is, he didn’t promise that it would be fully under control before 2020 Olympics in Japan, but that it was under control on that day in September 2013. [17]

After his speech, committee members had the chance to question Prime Minister Abe, and one of them challenged his claim, asking: “Prime Minister, although you have stated that there was no effect on Tokyo, what is the basis of that claim? Why are you so assured? Please tell us from a scientific point of view.”

Abe’s answer to this question was stunning: “The contaminated water from Fukushima Daiichi has been completely blocked within a 0.3 kilometer estuary… In terms of health problems, I promise that there has not been, is not, and will not be any problems at all.”[17]

Up until the very moment the prime minister said these things to the International Olympic Committee, there was no one at all in the Japanese government arguing that the radioactive water had been “completely blocked” or that the public health impact of the Fukushima disaster was, and would be, zero.[17]

In fact, the Nuclear Regulation Authority of Japan was in the midst of criticizing TEPCO for its lack of urgency in getting radioactive water leaks under control and was describing the situation as a “crisis.” As for the public health issue, even if we leave aside the more than a thousand people who have died of various causes that are recognized by local governments as being directly related to the Fukushima disaster, it is perfectly obvious that the long term health impact of the massive radiation releases is unknowable. Surely it will produce some cancers in future decades; the reasonable debate is only about whether this will be just a handful of cases or many tens of thousands of cases.[17]

The discussion about “Abe’s Olympic Lies” [17} is relevant here because of two reasons, one, the Indian people should be aware of the compulsion to promote jointly the marketing of nuclear power plants to India under the combined efforts of United States and Japan, Toshiba’s Westinghouse Electric Company and GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy. Second, for the success of 2020 Olympics in Japan, all radiation concerns in Japan must be either resolved or pushed under the carpet. Selling nuclear power plants to India would boost the profits for the US and Japan and also would help in building confidence measures to make 2020 Olympics a smooth process. Yet there is a connected third reason by which it is not only boosting of nuclear trade and helping to pave smooth 2020 Olympics in Japan, but also to bend the minds of Japanese people to accept the restarting of some of the 48 nuclear reactors shut down in the aftermath Fukushima nuclear disaster in March 2011. When deceit becomes a profitable practical norm, honesty has to remain on the shelf as unwanted commodity.

Japanese owned American Companies Toshiba’s Westinghouse Electric Company and GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy and US Government are bent upon diluting India’s Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act, 2010. [18].

More specifically they are desirous of avoiding Section 17 (b) of the Act, 2010 which provides that the operator of the nuclear plant “shall have a right of recourse where –“,

“(b) the nuclear incident has resulted as a consequence of an act of supplier or his employee, which includes supply of equipment or material with patent or latent defects or sub-standard services;”

It means, the supplier is also liable to pay damages as provided in India’s Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act, 2010.

Westinghouse and General Electric also want to escape the clutches of Section 46 of the Liability Act, 2010, which provides:

“ The provisions of this Act shall be in addition to, and not in derogation of, any other law for the time being in force, and nothing contained herein shall exempt the operator from any proceeding which might, apart from this Act, be instituted against such operator.”

Striving to escape the provisions of Section 17 (b) and Section 46 of India’s Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act, 2010, would amount to observing double standards on the part of the United States in the light of the following judgment of US Court in California.

In the US sailors’ class-action lawsuit against Tokyo Electric, registered as Lindsay R. Cooper v. Tokyo Electric Power Company Inc., 12-cv-3032., (Cooper v. TEPCO), U.S. District Court, Southern District of California, — California Judge Janis Sammartino ruled that the lawsuit can proceed and include not only Tokyo Electric Power Company, but also the builders of the Fukushima No. 1 plant, General Electric, EBASCO, Toshiba and Hitachi. [19]

It is a case where U.S. Navy Sailors have won a crucial battle in the United States District Court in San Diego against Tokyo Electric Power Company, known as TEPCO.

Federal judge Janis Sammartino has ruled that the sailors’ class action law suit may go forward against TEPCO and additional Defendants General Electric, EBASCO, Toshiba and Hitachi, the builders of the Fukushima nuclear reactors. The 200 young sailors claim that TEPCO deliberately lied to the public and the U.S. Navy about the radiation levels at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi Nuclear Power Plant at the time the Japanese Government was asking for help for victims of the March 11, 2011 Earthquake and Tsunami. Up to 70,000 U.S. citizens were potentially affected by the radiation and will be able to join the class action suit. [19]

Therefore, if General Electric, EBASCO, Toshiba and Hitachi, could be sued in the united States under US laws as suppliers and builders of Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan, why there should be any objection if a similar procedure is to be followed, if it becomes necessary, to sue under Indian laws the suppliers of equipment for nuclear power plants at Kovvada in Andhra Pradesh, Mithi Virdi in Gujarat, Jaitapur in Maharashtra and other places in India? Why should Prime Minister Narendra Modi allow the United States to practice double standards against India by ignoring the Indian laws?

A Japanese court ruled in May 2014 against restarting two Kansai Electric Power Co. nuclear reactors, accepting plaintiffs’ arguments that an accident at the plant could endanger surrounding residents. In its ruling the Fukui District Court said the need for nuclear power does not trump individuals’ right to safety against the restart of Nos. 3 and 4 reactors at Kansai Electric’s Ohi atomic plant [19a]

The reasoning adopted, as well as, the concern shown for the safety of people against nuclear radiation, by the US Federal Judge in Cooper v. TEPCO, and by the Japanese District Court to disapprove restarting two Kansai Electric Power Co. nuclear reactors, would show the need for Supreme Court of India to review and recall its judgment and order dated May 6, 2013 paving the way to commission Koodankulam nuclear plant in Tamilnadu, southern India.[19b]. & [19c]

The above discussed double standards of US Government on one side and on the other side the judgments of US Federal Court, Japanese District Court and Indian Supreme Court would show together that the “ Achilles Heel of Narendra Modi Is Nuclear Power “ [19d]

India’s present fate should not be that of occupied Japan following their surrender in World War II. There are Wikileak documents showing that in the mid 1950’s the Americans pressurised the Japanese government into having a nuclear energy policy. The Japanese government of the day falsified documents and lied to its people about the safety of nuclear energy. [zichiNOV. 25, 2011 – 05:56PM JST].

Because of that, not only the present generation of Japan is suffering but also the rest of the world because of the globally circulating radioactivity and radioactively poisoned Pacific Ocean – all of it due to the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant designed and supplied by the General Electric of the United States.

Nuclear Accident Anywhere is Accident Everywhere

Radiation from a disaster like Chernobyl or Fukushima knows no boundaries and radiation reached parts of America and Europe. It shows, a major nuclear accident anywhere is an accident everywhere.

The Fukushima disaster also contaminated a very large part of the Pacific Ocean.

26 April 2015, marks the 29th anniversary of the Chernobyl catastrophe that occurred on 26 April 1986 in the then-Soviet Ukraine.

Two explosions in April 1986 destroyed Chernobyl reactor unit 4, located in the Ukraine, part of former USSR. For ten days, the graphite inside the reactor burned. Because of the radioactive releases there was heavy contamination of what became a 2600 km2exclusion zone – which included 76 cities, towns, and villages.

Due to core meltdown, fire and powerful explosion in Chernobyl reactor unit 4, radioactivity was projected to high enough altitudes that the plume was carried thousands of kilometers away, sweeping across the whole of Europe and contaminating vast tracts of land, affecting flora and fauna. In terms of radioactive caesium (Cs137), a total of at least 1.3 million km2 of land was contaminated to varying degrees. This contamination will last for many generations, given the 30-year half-life of Cs137.

A radiation cloud had been carried by wind currents over the Baltic Sea and throughout Finland. It then swept across northern Sweden and Norway, dissipating in the Arctic part of the Norwegian Sea. While large tracts of Ukraine, Russia and Belarus were severely contaminated, many parts of Sweden also felt the effects.

People in parts of northern and central Sweden are still dying from cancer caused by radiation from the Chernobyl accident, and the worst could still be to come, reports Rami Abdelrahman.[20].

More than 25 years after the Chernobyl disaster there are still more than 300 British farms required to test their produce before sending it to market. In parts of Sweden and Finland, restrictions are in place on stock animals, including reindeer, in natural and near-natural environments.

“In certain regions of Germany, Austria, Italy, Sweden, Finland, Lithuania and Poland, wild game (including boar and deer), wild mushrooms, berries and carnivorous fish from lakes reach levels of several thousand Bq per kg of caesium-137″, while “in Germany, caesium-137 levels in wild boar muscle reached 40,000 Bq/kg. The average level is 6,800 Bq/kg, more than ten times the EU limit of 600 Bq/kg”, according to the TORCH 2006 report. The European Commission has stated that “The restrictions on certain foodstuffs from certain Member States must therefore continue to be maintained for many years to come. [20a]

11 March 2015, marks the 4th anniversary of Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster that occurred on 11 March 2011 following a massive earthquake and tsunami.

In January 2015, Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan admitted, “There is a mountain of issues, including contaminated water, decommissioning, compensation and contamination… When I think of the victims still living in difficult evacuation conditions, I don’t think we can use the word ‘settled’, to describe the Fukushima plant”.[21]

Here are some relevant grave facts on the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant :

>> 320,000 tons – the amount of highly contaminated water as of December 2014 waiting in about 1000 massive tanks onsite for “treatment” to remove the 62 radioactive elements contaminating it – except for the radioactive hydrogen isotope, tritium.

>> 300 tons – water per day sprayed into the reactor vessels to cool the molten reactor cores in Units 1-3: cores that no one actually knows the exact location of.

>> 800 tons – the amount of groundwater migrating onsite every day. Of which, 300-400 tons becomes radioactively contaminated.

>> 400 tons – the amount of highly radioactive water flowing into the Pacific Ocean every day – a figure that does not include this latest leak announced in February.

>> 11,000 tons – the estimated amount of highly contaminated water sitting in trenches – which TEPCO has attempted to pump up for treatment with limited success.

The crux of this is that, not only does the contamination continue to flow from the reactor site into the environment, but the locating of the reactor cores and decommissioning of the site are themselves contingent upon controlling this onsite watery onslaught. [21]

These facts are enough to show Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is still not under control.

The latest confirmation of the fact that Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is still not under control is the detection on May 28, 2015 of highly radioactive water leaking from the plant into the port adding to the load of radioactivity on Pacific Ocean.

Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) reported on May 29, 2015 leak of comparatively highly radioactive water from Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant into port which means leaking to Pacific ocean. According to TEPCO the contaminated water was leaking from a hose connecting a wastewater tank and a building at the plant. The hose had a crack about 1 centimeter long. The contaminated water was produced in a process to clean up rainwater tainted by radioactive materials at the plant. They detected about 1,200 becquerels per liter of beta ray-emitting substances from water taken from the channel on Thursday (May 28, 2015). That figure was 40 times the level the previous day. They said the figure rose to a maximum of 1,400 becquerels on Friday (May 29, 2015). The officials believe the leakage continued over the two days.[21a]

From the spread of radioactive substances escaping the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, more than 10,000 sq km were contaminated across nine prefectures of Japan. The largest area was in Fukushima with the highest levels of contamination.

Radiation from Japan’s 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster has for the first time been detected along a North American shoreline. Trace amounts of Cesium-134 and Cesium-137 were detected in samples collected on Feb 19, 2015 off the coast of Ucluelet, a small town on Vancouver Island in Canada’s British Columbia, said Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution scientist Ken Buesseler.[22]

“Radioactivity can be dangerous, and we should be carefully monitoring the oceans after what is certainly the largest accidental release of radioactive contaminants to the oceans in history,” Buesseler said in a statement. [22]

The Pacific Ocean has been a sink for high and low levels of radioactively contaminated water flowing from the site of Fukushima Daiichi for more than three years, with no end yet in sight.

There have been worrying reports of mass deaths of animals over the past two years. Polar bears, seals and walruses along the Alaska coastline are suffering fur loss and open sores, according to US Geological Survey. There is an epidemic of sea lion deaths along the California coastline. At island rookeries off the southern California coast, 45 % of pups born in June have died, according to Sharon Melin, a wildlife biologist for the National Marine Fisheries Service based in Seattle. It has gone so bad that the Nation Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration declared an “unusual mortality event”. Along the Pacific coast of Canada and Alaska coastline, the population of sockeye salmon is at a historic low. Fish all along the west coast of Canada are bleeding from their gills, bellies and eyeballs. More disturbingly, from Canada to California, starfish are dying en masse. They simply disintegrate and turn into ‘goo’. No one has examined whether the toxic radioactivity released from Fukushima may be responsible for the mass deaths.[23].

There is no funding and support to carry out studies on the devastation being caused to marine life in Pacific Ocean due to nuclear radiation from Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. On the other hand the powerful Nuclear Business Corporate not only discourages and obstructs such studies but also plants stories claiming there is no evidence to show that the death and destruction of marine life and other life on planet is due to radiation from Fukushima nuclear disaster.

The “atoms for peace” campaign initiated after World War II and the promise of nuclear electricity being “too cheap to meter” both turned out to be fallacious. Instead, what we have now across the globe are “atomic villages” and practitioners of “atomic cult” accurately characterised by Japan’s former Prime Minister Naoto Kan in his testimony before the Parliament of Japan after the Fukushima nuclear disaster. There is definitely “Need To Revisit The Role of Nuclear Power For India’s Energy Security” [24].

The “atomic village” and “atomic cult” of India and the brutal ways deployed by the Central Government of India and the State Government of Tamil Nadu to suppress the democratic voice and peaceful agitation against the nuclear power plants have transformed the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant in Tamilnadu, southern India,into an Oracle of Delphi to reveal the future of India. It has also made Koodankulam Nuclear Power Planta touch stone to know the worth of Indian Democracy. “Nuclear Power Business Is Defacing Indian Democracy” [25]

The people of India have a right to know why and how India became a marketplace for foreign nuclear power plants and why top Indian nuclear scientists and two successive Indian Prime Ministers have been striving to import nuclear power plants to climb up the nuclear electricity curve from the present mark of less than 4% to 25% in the total electricity generation of the country. Beneath the camouflage of energy security there are strange compulsions as shown in thearticle “The fiction behind fission” [26]

Conclusions

Nuclear power plants cost billions to build, billions to decommission, and trillions when they go wrong. Prime Minister Narendra Modi who prides himself to be shrewd businessman should not allow himself to become gullible to rely upon financially sinking French nuclear company Areva to build Jaitapur nuclear plant in Maharashtra. Indians at this stage cannot be burdened to come to the rescue of sinking Areva – who benefits in the process?, not the people of Maharashtra and not the people of India.

It is perilous for India if two successive Prime Ministers, Manmohan Singh and Narendra Modi become captive Prime Ministers. They are firstly captives of top brass of India’s Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and secondly captives of successive captive US Presidents, G.W. Bush and Barack Obama.

India’s present fate should not be that of occupied Japan following their surrender in World War II. There are Wikileak documents showing that in the mid 1950’s the Americans pressurised the Japanese government into having a nuclear energy policy. The Japanese government of the day falsified documents and lied to its people about the safety of nuclear energy. Because of that, not only the present generation of Japan is suffering but also the rest of the world on account of the globally circulating radioactivity and radioactively poisoned Pacific Ocean – all of it due to the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant designed and supplied by the General Electric of the United States.

Prime Minister Modi would be ill advised to follow the strategy resorted to by Manmohan Singh to ignore the democratic voice of the people opposing the nuclear electricity. The strategy is to appear reasonable by keep stressing that the technical matters must be left to the “experts”. The problem with this strategy is in the way of choosing only those “experts” who are known proponents of nuclear power or from amongst the serving or retired DAE officials. This strategy of Manmohan Singh helped him to pullwool over the eyes of Indian people agitating peacefully against the nuclear power plants and also to misinform, misguide and misdirect the Indian Judiciary and also to misinform the Indian Parliament with the help of the report rendered by the Central Government appointed Panel of “experts”.

In the interest of people of India and in his own interest, Modi should make effort to understand the type of “experts” he is surrounded by. They are the typewho said Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident is “not a nuclear accident”, but a simple “chemical reaction” which the Japanese can easily control, and “nuclear radiation does not cause cancer”.

Major nuclear accident at any place is an accident everywhere as demonstrated by Chernobyl in 1986 and Fukushima in 2011.

Flooding India with nuclear power plants to climb up on the nuclear electricity curve would deprive funds to renewable energy sources. While the rest of the world including those countries who are trying to sell nuclear plants to India are climbing up on renewable energy curve, it will be unwise for India to invest in nuclear electricity. The present generation has no right to burden the future generations of India.

Narendra Modi going ahead with nuclear power plants at Kovvada, Mithi Virdi, Jaitapur and other places would make his promise of “Achche Din” (Happy Days)a distant dream.

Buddhi Kota Subbarao is former Indian Navy Captain with Ph.D in nuclear technology from Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay . As an advocate of Supreme Court of India, he successfully argued several public interest petitions before Indian Courts. His e-mail address: [email protected]

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