Urgent Appeal from people of Gujarat, India: Support the Struggle against Westinghouse Nuclear Reactors

Urgent Appeal from people of Gujarat, India

· Affected people of the proposed 6000 MW Mithi Virdi Nuclear Power Plant of Gujarat, India need your support and solidarity.

· You can organize a meeting on or before September 23, 2013 within your group, city and pass a resolution in support of the struggle and if you are in USA then you may try to organize protest in New York during the meeting of the Indian Prime Minister with USA authorities to finalize the Mithi Virdi Nuclear Power Plant project.

Protesting farmers during the public hearing held earlier this year - Photo courtesy Indian Express

Protesting farmers during the public hearing held earlier this year – Photo courtesy Indian Express

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to set up a 6000 MW Nuclear Power plant in village Mithi Virdi, Bhavnagar district, Gujarat, was signed by the Government of Gujarat (GOG) with the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL) – a Government of India company – in the Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors’ summit in 2007. The exact location of the Nuclear Power Plant (Westinghouse, USA – AP1000) is just a few kms away from ALANG Shipbreaking Yard. Five villages – Jaspara, Mithi Virdi, Mandva, Khadarpar and Sosiya (see map) stand to lose 777 hectares of their fertile land to the proposed nuclear power plant.

The site selection committee for the Nuclear Power Plant constituted in 2005 had short listed Mithi Virdi and submitted its report on 28th June 2007.

AP1000 is an untested reactor technology. USNRC had raised several technical doubts about the reactors, which were given a nod to by non-technical committee members of the NRC.

The villages of Mithi Virdi, Jaspara, Mandva, Khadarpar and Sosiya are blessed with fertile land. Of the five villages, three villages – Mithi Virdi, Jaspara and Sosiya are situated along the coastline. Most of the land proposed to be acquired falls under Jaspara village. There are total 152 villages in 30 Kms radius of the proposed nuclear power plant.

The main occupation of the villagers is agriculture. The rich alluvial soil here supports, crops like Ground Nut, Wheat, Bajra, Cotton, etc and fruits like Mangoes (Mangoes from Sosiya are very famous across the India and they are also exported), Chickoos, Coconut, etc. This area also grows and supplies vegetables like Onion, Brinjal, Gourd, Tomatoes, Drumsticks, etc. Also the agriculture department has found the climate and soil suitable for cashew nuts.

People of the area were blissfully unaware of the proposed nuclear project when Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (a voluntary organisation) activists visited Mithi Virdi area. They had no idea of the impending threat to their land, livelihood and the environmental & health hazards of nuclear energy.

Since 2007 the Bhavnagar Jilla Gram Bachao Samiti, Anu Urja Abhyas Juth, Gujarat Anu-urja Mukti Andolan and Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti conducted awareness programmes. As a result the villagers with the supports of number of organisations in Gujarat and across India started agitation against the proposed 6000 MW Mithi Virdi Nuclear Power Plant. The slogan of the struggle today is “No Nuclear Power Plant in Mithi Virdi, not anywhere in the world”.

Two years after the Fukushima disaster, its impact on the global nuclear industry has become increasingly visible. Global electricity generation from nuclear plants dropped by a historic 7 percent in 2012, adding to the record drop of 4 percent in 2011. This is according to World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2013 (WNISR) which provides a global overview of the history, the current status and the trends of nuclear power programs worldwide.

This report looks at nuclear reactor units in operation and under construction and provides 40 pages of detailed country-by-country information. The 2013 edition also includes an update on nuclear economics as well as an overview of the status, on-site and off-site, of the challenges triggered by the Fukushima disaster. However, this report’s emphasis on recent post-Fukushima developments should not obscure an important fact. The world nuclear industry already faced daunting challenges long before Fukushima, just as the U.S. nuclear power industry had largely collapsed after the 1979 Three Mile Island accident. The nuclear promoters’ invention that a global nuclear renaissance was flourishing until 3/11 is equally false. Fukushima only added to the already grave problems, starting with poor economics.

Let us look at what the report has to say about operations. There are 31 countries operating nuclear power plants in the world. A total of 427 reactors have a combined installed capacity of 364 GWe. These figures assume the final shutdown of the ten reactors at Fukushima-Daiichi and -Daini. It should be noted that as of 1 July 2013 only two (Ohi-3 and -4) of the 44 remaining Japanese reactors are operating and their future is highly uncertain. In fact, many observers believe that a large share of the suspended Japanese units will likely never restart.

The nuclear industry is also in decline. The 427 operating reactors are 17 lower than the peak in 2002, while, the total installed capacity peaked in 2010 at 375 GWe before declining to the current level of 364 GWe, which was last seen a decade ago. Annual nuclear electricity generation reached a maximum in 2006 at 2,660 TWh, then dropped to 2,346 TWh in 2012 (down 7 percent compared to 2011, down 12 percent from 2006). About three-quarters of this decline is due to the situation in Japan, but 16 other countries, including the top five nuclear generators, decreased their nuclear generation too.

The nuclear share in the world’s power generation declined steadily from a historic peak of 17 percent in 1993 to about 10 percent in 2012. Nuclear power’s share of global commercial primary energy production plunged to 4.5 percent, a level last seen in 1984. Only one country, the Czech Republic, reached its record nuclear contribution to the electricity mix in 2012.

The report also points out that two-thirds (44) of the units under construction are located in three countries: China, India and Russia.

The Government of India is aggressively pursuing its nuclear programmes in spite of people from Koodankulam (Tamil Nadu), Jaitapur (Maharashtra), Mithi Virdi (Gujarat), Kovvada (Andhra Pradesh), Gorakhpur (Haryana), Chutka (Madhya Pradesh) and Haripur (West Bengal) waging relentless struggles against these anti-people and unsafe nuclear power projects promoted by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL). Their massive peaceful protests have mostly been met with callousness and brutal repression on the part of the governments. Communities near the existing nuclear facilities in Tarapur, Rawatbhata, Kalpakkam, Kaiga, Kakrapar and Hyderabad have also been raising voices against radiation leaks and their harmful effects, which are often hushed up by the authorities. Existing and proposed new uranium mines in Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh and Meghalaya have also met with massive protests.

The Indian Prime Minister, Mr. Manmohan Singh is visiting USA from 20 to 28 September 2013. During the visit, there is a possibility of the meeting between Westinghouse and NPCIL to finalise the deal for the Mithi Virdi Nuclear Power Plant.

The affected people are planning to organise massive rally on 23 September 2013 from Mithi Virdi to Bhavnagar (40Kms) and meeting at Bhavnagar to register their protest.

To have some idea about the ongoing struggle against the propsed 6000 MW Mithi Virdi Nuclear Power Plant you can look at

FACEBOOK PAGE – https://www.facebook.com/GujaratAnuUrjaMuktiAndolan

EPH VIDEO – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ny4uiz1njHI

VILLAGE VIDEO – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4q4lhm0Y4XA

We need your support. You can organize the meeting on or before 23 September 2013 in your group, city and pass a resolution in support of the struggle and if you are in USA then you may try to organize protest in New York during the meeting of Indian Prime Minister with the USA authorities to finalize the Mithi Virdi Nuclear Power Plant.

Send us copy of resolution, meeting details, audio-video solidarity messages to rohit.prajapati@gmail.com, tokrishnakant@gmail.com, and swati43@gmail.com on or before the 23 September 2013 so that we can play or read your solidarity statements in the meeting.

Bhavnagar Jilla Gram Bachao Samiti,
Gujarat Anu-urja Mukti Andolan
Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti

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