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Experts raise concerns over shifting nuke plants to State

Experts raise concerns over shifting nuke plants to State
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State will be getting two more nuclear power projects in addition to the General Electric project that is underway at Kovvada village in Srikakulam district.

Visakhapatnam: State will be getting two more nuclear power projects in addition to the General Electric project that is underway at Kovvada village in Srikakulam district. However, State wasn’t the first choice for these nuclear projects. It was only after much publicised public ire, Westinghouse Electric project of Toshiba Corporation, which was to be set up in Nithi Vada in Gujarat, is shunted out and relocated to the State.

  • Two more power plants will be set up in the State apart from General Electric project
  • Former Union Power Secretary EAS Sarma says State will turn into a potential nuclear disaster zone

Similarly, the Russian nuclear power project proposed to be set up at Haripur in West Bengal also faced ire of the people and is now being shifted to the State. These moves are striking fear in the hearts of experts, who are lamenting that State is becoming a dumping ground for nuclear power projects.

Former Union Power Secretary E A S Sarma, who made an extensive study on cost economics and environment impact of nuclear power projects, commended people of Gujarat for forcing Westinghouse to shift its project. “This move implied that State will soon get converted into a potential nuclear disaster zone without any tangible benefits to the people.

The residents in and around Kovvada village are apprehensive about losing their fertile agricultural lands and their access to the sea for fishing, in addition to being exposed to the potential dangers of a nuclear power project,” he added. Sarma recounted the ghastly accident that took place at Fukushima in March 2011.

“The reactor meltdown at Fukushima was so serious that it would take decades for the Japanese nuclear establishment to remove the contamination. The cost of even a partial clean up at Fukushima may cross $250 billion (Rs 15,75,000 crore). If a Fukushima-like accident were to take place at one nuclear power plant in India, the government cannot afford to incur such a cost without crippling the economy,” he remarked.

The six reactors at Kovvada will cost anywhere around Rs 4-7 lakh crore and, without taking into account the cost of decommissioning the reactors at the end of the project life. “The three proposed nuclear power projects will displace people apart from potential exposure to radiation hazards including possible nuclear disasters. The so-called benefits expected from them will not accrue in the foreseeable future nor will they lie within the reach of the ordinary citizen,” Sarma said.

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