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Jaitapur N-project is sitting on high severity quake zone: TISS

December 29, 2010 16:13 IST
An impact assessment report by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai has come down heavily on the proposed nuclear power plant at Jaitapur in Ratnagiri district, stating that the project will have a "huge negative impact on social and environment development" as it is sitting on a high to moderate severity earthquake zone.

However, the project developer Nuclear Power Corporation of India has claimed that the site selection for the power plant was done keeping in mind the safety aspects and there was not "any active geological fault within a 5-km radius from the proposed site".

The TISS findings -- in 'Perception Matter: People's Report -- Social Impact Assessment of Jaitapur Madban Nuclear Power Plant' -- also suggested that the government subverted facts and called the fertile agricultural land as "barren".

The report, compiled by TISS social scientist Mahesh Kamble, highlighted the people's demand for more transparency from the government on the project and also their concern about building nuclear power plants on earthquake zone-IV. It also indicated that the project, which requires about 968 hectares of land spread over five villages, will have a huge negative impact on the social and environmental development of not just these villages and the surrounding areas, but also on the Konkan region in general.

The NPCIL has planned to build at least six units of 1,560 megawatts each power plants at the site in collaboration with French nuclear energy major Areva.

Last month, the Union environment and forest ministry gave a conditional go-ahead to the plant. However, it is facing staunch opposition from locals who fear environmental degradation in the fragile Konkan area.

Meanwhile, the NPCIL claimed that the site was in zone-III and not in zone-IV. The site selection was done keeping ample safety margins, it said.

"The code set by Atomic Energy Regulatory Board for site selection for setting up of the nuclear power plant prescribes that there should not be any active geological fault within a five-km radius from the proposed site," NPCIL spokesperson N Nagaich said.

Extensive studies carried out by experts from various government institutions have found no active geological fault up to a 30-km radius from the proposed Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project site, thus validating that the site is not earthquake-prone, Nagaich said.

Further, the design for the proposed NPP units at Jaitapur also amply takes care of these concerns and qualifies for seismicity and corresponding frequency spectrum as per AERB regulations, in line with the current practice for all nuclear power plants, he said.

Kamble on Wednesday said his study was based on discussions with activists and locals from Ratnagiri arranged by advocate and environment activist Girish Raut in Mumbai.

Meanwhile, concerned over reservations about the project, a five-member team from the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee has left for Jaitapur to assess the situation.

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