AFFIDAVIT

I, M.Vetri Selvan, S/o S.Muthuraj, aged about 31 years, having office at 1-P, Pandu klix Plaza, 330/168, Thambu Street, Chennai – 600 001 do hereby on solemn affirmation state as under:

1. I am the petitioner herein. I am conversant with the facts of the case. I am competent to file this affidavit.

2. I state that I am an advocate having a standing of more than five years. I am also actively associated with “Poovulagin Nanbargal”, a registered public trust working for the protection of environment and forests. I am initiating this Public Interest Litigation in discharge of my fundamental duties under Article 51-A (g), (h) and (j) of the Constitution. Earlier I have filed a public interest litigation viz. WP No. 26097 of 2011 questioning the failure of the respondents to implement the Guidelines on Management of Nuclear and Radiological Emergencies with regard to Madras Atomic Power Station, Kalpakkam, Kancheepuram District.

3. I state that the Madras Atomic Power Station (MAPS) is located at Kalpakkam, about 70 kms from Chennai City. The power station consists of two units viz. MAPS-1 and MAPS-2. MAPS-1 and MAPS-2 went critical in 1983 and 1985 respectively. At Kalpakkam, there are seven nuclear organizations including MAPS viz. Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Ltd. (HQ), Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research, PFBR Project (IGCAR), Nuclear Desalination Demonstration Plant (BARC), Kalpakkam Fuel Reprocessing Plant (BARC) and General Services Organisation. Presently, the MAPS produces 440 MW of electricity from the two reactors. It is learnt that the Union of India has plans for an additional 500 MW capacity in MAPS.

4. I state that on 26 March 1999 there was Heavy water leaks in MAPS and seven people received a full radiation dose. According to Dr. A. Gopalakrishnan, former Chairman of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, in the early 1980s, the discovery of some pieces of zircalloy in a moderator pump in MAPS Unit 1 was traced to the problem of substantial crackingof the reactor inlet manifold and an identical problem surfaced in MAPS-2 also almost during the same period and that the synergy of different kinds of serious safety issues in MAPS 1 and 2 put the station at a higher risk than acceptable anywhere else in the world. Frontline, a fortnightly in English, (March 16-23, 1999) reported about Dr. A. Gopalakrishnan’s view about the said heavy water leak in MAPS:

“Gopalakrishnan said that going by the initial estimates given by MAPS, several tones, possibly 14 tonnes, of heavy water leaked out. “For this number the declaration of a plant emergency makes sense,” he said. “You will not declare a plant emergency if just one bucketful of heavy water leaks or about 10 workers are concerned. A very large amount must have gone into the drain and spread out. The (tritium) release must have also been sucked into the ventilation system.” It reports further: “Tritium is highly radioactive, with a half-life of over 12 years. Tritium content in heavy water increases with the number of years the reactor operates. Almost all the tritium continues to be in the heavy water even if the reactor is shut down for a couple of months. When there is a spillage of heavy water, the tritium affects the plant personnel.” Dr. A. Gopalakrishnan, on account of the fact that micro-cracks in the coolant tubes would ultimately lead to a fire in the reactor, expressed great concern about the workers also. The report says: “He demanded that personnel in MAPS be given the data on the release of radiation and be told how much radiation they had ingested. He said that he was deeply concerned about the use of contract labour for cleaning jobs because they were often overexposed to radiation.”

5. I state that even after such caution by the former Chairman of Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, there were two more incidents in 2001 and 2002. On 30 May 2001, one Mr.S. Sivakumar, a worker, suffered internal contamination after a neoprene glove was punctured. On 7 July 2002, one Selvakumar, a worker, burnt his left hand after he picked up a radioactive substance. Moreover, as reported in Tehelka (2010), the General Secretary of the BARC Facilities Employees Association in his letter dated 24 January 2003 addressed to the Director of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) recounted in detail a significant nuclear accident that took place on 21 January 2003 at MAPS where one worker named Raju and 5 others including a woman were exposed to high levels of radiation. After about eight months of the accident, Mr.B. Bhattacharjee, then Director of BARC, termed it “the worst accident in India’s nuclear history.”

6. I state that an estimated 30,000 workers live in the five villages that fall within the 5 km radius from MAPS. There is a DAE township which accommodates thousands of permanent workers and their families. Within the 16 km to 20 km radius from MAPS, there are about 60 villages where more than 1 lakh people live. Since plant operations begain in the early 1980s, incidents of cancer and auto-immune thyroid diseases in the surrounding villages have increased. A contract labour’s three year old child has been diagnosed with retinoblastoma or cancer of eyes. Radiation from the nuclear plant is responsible for the child’s condition, doctors say. Life of thousands of innocent people living in the villages which are within the radius of about 16 km to 20 km from MAPS is at stake.

7. I state that the world was shocked to view the unprecedented nuclear disaster occurred on March 11, 2011 at Fukushima Dai-ichi Plant, Japan. An estimated 11,000 people were evacuated in a 20-km radius around the nuclear plant immediately after the accident. United Kingdom, France and some other countries told their nationals to consider leaving Tokyo with a view to escaping from radioactive contamination. Large amounts of radioactive isotopes were also released into the Pacific Ocean. As of July 2011, the Japanese government found it impossible to control the spread of radioactive material into the nation’s food and radioactive material was being detected in a range of produce, including spinach, tea leaves, milk, fish and beef, up to 200 miles from the nuclear plant. Inside the 12-mile evacuation zone around the plant, all farming was abandoned. As of August 2011, the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant was found still leaking low levels of radiation and areas surrounding it was found uninhabitable for decades due to high radiation. According to experts, it would be at least 20 years before the residents could safely return to this area where high level radiation still prevails. This nuclear disaster made the respondent-Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) on 15th March, 2011 constitutes four Task forces to review consequences of Fukushima similar situations in Indian Nuclear Power Plants under operation. One among the Task Force comprising an Executive Director, Technical Services Superintend, MAPS, and three Additional Chief Engineers has been constituted for “Safety Evaluation of Indian Nuclear Power plants PHWRs at Madras Atomic Power Station (MAPS)”. This Task Force has submitted an Interim Report by the end of March 2011. The Task force has made 12 Short term recommendations and 8 long term recommendations to be carried out in the MAPS. The NPCIL-Task force report concludes stating: “The recommendation of the task forces have been reviewed and discussed. Action plans for the near term and long term are being worked out. As brought out earlier, this report is an interim one. As the event at Fukushima further unfolds and additional information is available, the recommendations will be revisited and changes, if any, will be incorporated.” The report also fixes timeline for completion of the recommendations. The maximum period given for fulfilling the recommendations is 14 months. It appears that no final report has so far been submitted by the Task Force to the respondent-Union of India with regard to the completion of recommendations made by the respondent NPCIL-Task force report.

8. I state that respondent-Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) constituted a committee on March 19, 2011 to review the safety of Indian Nuclear Power Plants against external events of natural origin, in the light of the Fukushima accident. The committee has submitted its report on 31st August, 2011. At paras 4.17 and 4.18, under the heading “Spent fuel storage facilities”, the report reads:

“4.17. For the spent fuel storage pools at our NPPs it is seen that the stored fuel remains submerged in water for a period ranging from 9 to 16 days in the older plants viz. TAPS-1&2, RAPS-1&2 and MAPS-1&2, and for over one month in other plants, without any cooling or addition of water. Nevertheless an external water hookup provision for changing water in the pools for all the operating plants should be implemented. This make up capability should remain unaffected by the external events and SBO. Provision for monitoring the level and temperature of pool water and radiation fields inside the spent fuel storage buildings under SBO should also be made. 4.18. Detailed site specific safety assessment of spent fuel storage bays should be carried out with respect to structural integrity and leak-tightness of pools, loss of pool water from sloshing and, stability of fuel racks and mechanical handling equipment in case of extreme earthquake event”.

Further the committee has also recommended as follows:

“4.24. The practice of storing spent radioactive ion exchange resins in underground tanks should be discontinued as in case of earthquake or severe flooding this can cause spread of radioactive contamination. The resins presently stored in such tanks at TAPS and MAPS should be appropriately treated and disposed off. 4.25. Functional integrity of radioactive liquid effluent storage tanks and surrounding dykes at NPPs should be assessed under beyond design basis external events and corrective measures implemented as necessary”.

Annexure 5 to the AERB committee’s report under the caption “8. Working group to review safety of near surface radioactive waste disposal facilities and liquid waste storage tanks at NPP sites against external events” reads:

“At TAPS (1&2) and MAPS (1&2), spent resins generated from the reactors are stored in underground tanks. The ingress of water into the storage tanks or failure of storage tanks has the potential of spreading contamination in the surrounding environment. At present the radionuclide monitoring data in bore wells around the spent resin storage facility shows safety of storage as activity levels are below the detection limit (BDL). This establishes the integrity of storage tanks. The practice of storing spent resin in water at underground tank needs further investigation. However, early immobilization of these resins and discontinuation of practice of storage of spent resins in underground tank is recommended.”

9. I state that the respondent-AERB has vide its communication dated 31 May 2013 addressed to me under the Right to Information Act made it clear that all the recommendations of NPCIL Committee/Task Force and the high level AERB Committee constituted post-Fukushima disaster have not so far been implemented with regard to MAPS. The AERB has also admitted in the said communication : “AERB is aware of the information in the Smithsonian’s Global Volcanism Program official website about the reported volcano (in 1757) located at about 100-110 km from Kalpakkam with status uncertain. … … However, GSI and others have recommended for further data/analysis in view of an inferred high density material intrusion of remnant magnetisation based on magnetic and gravity anomalies around the said location. Based on the above feedback, AERB has asked the utilities at Kalpakkam to undertake detailed study through expert agencies. The work in this regard is in progress.”

10. I state that the schedule to 2006 notification viz. Notification dated 14th September 2006 issued under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 contains an entry “Nuclear power projects and processing of nuclear fuel”. “Spent fuel”, stored in MAPS, satisfies the expression “Processing of nuclear fuel”. Rule 2 (t) of the Atomic Energy (Radiation Protection) Rules, 2004 defines nuclear fuel cycle to mean among other things “radioactive waste management”. “Unstoppable and Unstorable” nuclear waste would always have environmental impact demanding fresh Environment Impact Assessment and further demanding fresh Environmental Clearance. Moreover, any environmental clearance granted under the said notification for nuclear power project would be valid only for a period of five years. No environmental clearance has so far been obtained for storing spent fuel in MAPS. The AERB Committee has vide its recommendations with regard to storage of spent fuel in MAPS emphasises that the practice of storing spent radioactive ion exchange resins in underground tanks should be discontinued as in case of earthquake or severe flooding this can cause spread of radiocative contamination. Fresh environment impact assessment would be the need of the hour viewed in the light of the stand of AERB that a detailed study with regard to the presence of volcano about 100 – 110 kilometers near MAPS is in progress. Hence this Writ Petition in public interest on the following ground :

GROUND
It is submitted that the recommendations of the NPCIL Committee / Task Force and the AERB Committee constituted post – Fukushima disaster have not so far been fully implemented by the AERB and other respondents. It is admitted by AERB vide its communication dated 31.05.2013 addressed to the petitioner under the Right to Information Act that detailed study into the presence of volcano near Madras Atomic Power Station, Kalpakkam is in progress. It is also admitted by the AERB that no Environmental Clearance with regard to storage of spent fuel in MAPS has ever been obtained by the respondent – authorities. Obviously, unstoppable and unstorable nuclear waste would always have environmental impact. It is saddening to note that without any Environmental Clearance, Madras Atomic Power Station (Units.I & II) is functioning for more than three decades. The Supreme Court has in G.Sundarrajan Vs Union of India and others : (2013) 4 MLJ 46 (SC) held : “No plant specifically the one dealing with radioactive materials can be allowed to function or commission even if it has been cleared by AEC, AERB, NPCIL etc. unless it strictly conforms to the standards set by the statutory authorities like MoEF, TNPCB etc. and follow the environmental laws”. The failure of the respondents to make a fresh Environment Impact Assessment and obtain a fresh Environmental Clearance with regard to Madras Atomic Power Station, Kalpakkam Units I & II would be violative of Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution.

11. I state that I have no personal interest in the case. I have earlier filed a couple of public interest litigations viz. WP No. 14866/2009 (M.Vetri Selvan Vs. Union of India and others: 2010 (4) CTC 465) and W.P. No. 19192 of 2010 decided on 16.11.2010. I have also filed WP No. 8034/ 2011 decided on 01.04.2011 (Manivannan Vs. Union of India and others: 2011 (3) CTC 785). I undertake to pay the costs, if any, if this PIL is found to be intended for personal gain or oblique motive. I have filed this petition from my own funds. To my knowledge, no PIL arising on the issue raised in this petition has been filed anywhere. This public interest litigation is maintainable in law. The contents of this paragraph are in compliance with the Rules to regulate the Public Interest Litigations filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India.

Solemnly affirmed at Chennai Before me
this the 10th day of September 2013
and signed his name in my
presence.

: Advocate, Chennai

MEMORANDUM OF WRIT PETITION
UNDER ARTICLE 226 OF THE CONSTITUTION
In the High Court of Judicature at Madras
(Special Original Jurisdiction)

W.P. No. of 2013

M.Vetri Selvan
Advocate
1-P, Pandu klix Plaza,
330/168, Thambu Street,
Chennai – 600001 .. Petitioner

vs

1. Union of India
represented by the Secretary to Govt. of India
Department of Atomic Energy
Anushakti Bhavan
Chatrapathi Shivaji Maharaj Marg
Mumbai 400 001

2. Union of India
represented by the Secretary to Govt.
Ministry of Environment and Forests
Paryavaran Bhawan
CGO Complex, Lodhi Road
New Delhi 110 003

3.The Chairman
Atomic Energy Regulatory Board
Niyamak Bhavan
Anushaktinagar
Mumbai 400 094

4. The Chairman and Managing Director
Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited
Nambhkiya Urja Bhavan
Anushakti Nagar
Mumbai 400 094

5. The Member Secretary
Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board
Guindy, Chennai 600 032 …Respondents

WRIT PETITION UNDER ARTICLE 226 OF THE CONSTITUTION

1.. The address for service of the petitioner is that of his counsel M.Radhakrishnan, Advocate, 134, Thambu Chetty Street, Chennai. 600 001.

2.. The address for service on the respondent is as stated above.

3.. For the reasons stated in the accompanying affidavit, it is prayed that the Hon’ble Court be pleased to issue a WRIT OF MANDAMUS forbearing the respondents from running the Madras Atomic Power Station (Units I & II), Kalpakkam, Kanchipuram District without first obtaining Environmental Clearance with regard to MAPS in accordance with law, and thus render justice.

Dated at Chennai, this the 10th day of September 2013

Counsel for the petitioner.

MEMORANDUM OF MISCELLANEOUS PETITION
UNDER ARTICLE 226 OF THE CONSTITUTION
In the High Court of Judicature at Madras
(Special Original Jurisdiction)
M.P. No. of 2013
in
W.P. No. of 2013

M.Vetri Selvan
Advocate
1-P, Pandu klix Plaza,
330/168, Thambu Street,
Chennai – 600001 .. Petitioner

vs

1. Union of India
represented by the Secretary to Govt. of India
Department of Atomic Energy
Anushakti Bhavan
Chatrapathi Shivaji Maharaj Marg
Mumbai 400 001

2. Union of India
represented by the Secretary to Govt.
Ministry of Environment and Forests
Paryavaran Bhawan
CGO Complex, Lodhi Road
New Delhi 110 003

3.The Chairman
Atomic Energy Regulatory Board
Niyamak Bhavan
Anushaktinagar
Mumbai 400 094

4. The Chairman and Managing Director
Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited
Nambhkiya Urja Bhavan
Anushakti Nagar
Mumbai 400 094

5. The Member Secretary
Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board
Guindy, Chennai 600 032 …Respondents

PETITION FOR INTERIM DIRECTION
UNDER ARTICLE 226 OF THE CONSTITUTION

For the reasons stated in the affidavit filed in support of the Writ Petition it is prayed that the Hon’ble Court be pleased to grant an interim direction directing the respondents to take immediate steps for disposal of radioactive waste stored in and around Madras Atomic Power Station (Units I & II), Kalpakkam, Kanchipuram District as mandated by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board vide its report dated 31 August 2011 pending disposal of the Writ Petition and thus render justice.

Dated at Chennai, this the 10th day of September 2013

Counsel for the petitio