Agriculture, Andhra Pradesh, famers, fish, Fisherman, Fukushima, Gujarat, Hiroshima, India, Indo-Japanese Nuclear Supply Agreement, Japn, Kovvada, local communities, Modi, Nagasaki, nuclear accident, nuclear disasters, nuclear lobbies, Nuclear Supply Agreement, Shinzo Abe, Three Mile Island Chernobyl
“Former Union Secretary (Power) Dr. EAS Sarma’s open letter to the Indian PM Narendra Modi and Japanese PM Shinzo Abe
DECEMBER 5, 2015
To, Mr. Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India
Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan
Subject:- Proposed Indo-Japanese Nuclear Supply Agreement- Major concerns
After protracted negotiations, involving several contentious issues, often pressured by the western nuclear manufacturing lobbies and the nuclear establishment within Japan, India and Japan seem to be on the threshold of concluding a nuclear supply agreement during the Japanese Prime Minister’s visit to India around the middle of this month.
As a resident of north Andhra Pradesh where India’s Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) proposes to set up a coastal 6,000 MWe nuclear power plant near Kovvada village, I feel intensely concerned about the safety of the people here in the event of an unfortunate accident taking place, similar to the one that struck the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear complex in March, 2011. I am sure that those residing in Gujarat and in the other States in India, where DAE proposes to set up new nuclear power plants, feel the same way.
While the protogonists of nuclear technology persistently try to justify proliferation of nuclear power on the ground that the probability of occurrence of a Fukushima-like accident in a nuclear power plant is low, none of them can ever deny that such accidents can take place one time or the other, either as a result of a natural disaster on which we have no control or as a result of a human failure that we cannot wish away.
The Three Mile Island accident (1979), the Chernobyl accident (1986) and the more recent Fukushima accident (2011) are grim reminders of this, not to mention the 99 potential, well-documented disasters that took place in the five decades that preceded Fukushima. The world would have known about them and their potential havoc, had the nuclear establishment been more transprenct and better regulated.
Japan is still struggling to clean up Fukushima even four years after the accident. I wonder whether Japan will ever be able to decommission it fully and declare the area to be 100% safe! Fukushima has cast an unfair burden on the Japanese tax-payer for decades to come.
In Chernobyl, decades after the accident, they are  trying to find funds and technology for setting up the so-called New Safe Confinement (NSC) but one can never be sure whether it will make the old Chernobyl shelter and remnants of the damaged reactor safe and environmentally secure.
Better than anyone else, it is the people of Japan who are familiar with the scourge of nuclear technology as it was they who bore the brunt of Hiroshima and Nagasaki explosions during the last World War. In view of this, one would have thought that Japan would be at the forefront of global resistance to nuclear technology, not be a proactive partner in commercialising it and exporting nuclear components to other countries like India.
In the recent years, globally, the pace of growth of nuclear power has escalated in leaps and bounds, causing a great deal of public concern and apprehension. It is ironic that Japan should become a major actor in pushing nuclear power like never before, especially at a time when the people of Japan are yet to come to grips fully with the aftermath of Fukushima.
I wish to remind the Prime Ministers of both the countries that, apart from the safety concerns, the global experience during the last decade has shown that nuclear power is highly expensive and unaffordable in a country like India. When the global climate negotiations have their focus on replacing new megawatts with “negawatts” (saved megawatts) and green megawatts, it is anachronistic for the world to cling to expensive energy sources like nuclear power.
In my area, near Kovvada village on the coast, DAE proposes to set up a nuclear power plant comprising of reactors and components supplied by the US and Japanese companies. The proposed nuclear plant will displace thousands of farmers and fisherfolk, destroy precious agriculture, deprive the local communities of their livelihoods and, in short, disrupt their lives in multifrious ways. The only agencies that benefit from such a project are the manufacturers of nuclear reactors and their components in the US and in Japan and the nuclear establishment whose survival depends on the survival of nuclear power.
Let me therefore appeal to you, the two great leaders of India and Japan, to pause before you plunge into signing any nuclear supply deal. Please ponder over the disruption that a nuclear power plant will cause in the lives of the local communities and how it exposes vast stretches of thickly populated areas to the scourge of a Fukushima-like disaster, as and when it happens. We owe this to our children and grandchildren.
I have no doubt that the memories of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, followed by the more recent Fukushima disaster, will motivate both India and Japan not to rush into a nuclear supply deal that raises more questions than it provides answers.
E A S Sarma
Former Secretary (Power)
Govt of India
CC-BY-NC: http://www.dianuke.org/india-doesnt-need-nuclear-energy-former-power-secretarys-letter-modi-abe-india-japan-nuke-deal/ (Emphasis our own).
(Note ” The original said “Russia is”, but Chernobyl is in the Ukraine now. Thus, we changed it to “they are” to cover all.)
On the American end, the US-India Nuclear deal has been spear-headed by Americans from India or India ancestry: Holtec, privately owned and founded by its India born and educated, President and CEO, Krishna P. Singh , is one of the big bad “American” nuclear companies, which will probably benefit from the India-America nuclear deal. Singh also serves on the board of the Nuclear Energy Institute. Holtec International is a global nuclear supplier based in New Jersey, USA; designs and makes parts for nuclear reactors; sells equipment to manage spent nuclear fuel; makes dry cask storage containers for spent fuel. It is also apparently trying to foist an underground modular reactor, SMR-160, a 160 MWe pressurized water reactor (PWR), upon the world. In July 2014, the State of New Jersey gave it a $260 million tax incentive (tax break) to expand operations at the Port of Camden. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holtec_International An underground nuclear reactor was already tried in Switzerland, melted down and contaminated the cavern and drainage water still has radionuclides.
This is one more piece to this “nuclear deal”, which was apparently brought to America and India by India’s very own. The new US Ambassador to India, Richard Verma, was born in Edmonton, Canada of parents from the Punjab area of India. Moreover, he worked as a Steptoe & Johnson lobbyist for the US-India Business Council to push the “U.S. India Civil Nuclear Agreement and ratification of the 123 Agreement in compliance with the Henry Hyde Act,” along with “US-India Civil Nuclear Agreement’s 123 Bilateral Agreement in 2008.”  Tejpreet Singh Chopra served as President and CEO of GE India from June 1, 2007, and was on the Board of the US-India Business Council from ca November 2007. A press release from Nov. 25, 2008 announced that the Nuclear Energy Institute was partnering with the US-India Business Council for the “largest trade mission of US commercial nuclear executives ever to visit India“. That just so happens to be the year that Richard Verma was their lobbyist. And, it just so happens that when Verma got appointed Ambassador that this Convention came under discussion again. See more here: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2015/01/28/westinghouse-is-japanese-toshiba-not-american-for-16-years/ The CEO and President of GE India, Banmali Agrawala, since April 1, 2013, serves on the US-India Business Council Board.… The construction companies for nuclear reactors will probably be largely local. And, Jindal Steel and Arcelor Mittal (both of India origin) will probably provide the steel. Read the rest and references here: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2015/02/04/nuclear-supplier-holtec-notice-of-violation-by-nrc-the-india-us-nuclear-deal/
See also: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2015/01/06/india-as-dumping-ground-for-dangerous-discredited-nuclear-technology-the-uk-and-us-are-too/
GE Nuclear is now GE-Hitachi in the US and Hitachi GE in Japan. Westinghouse Nuclear is majority owned by Japan’s Toshiba (87%) with minority stakes owned by Kazatomprom (10%) and Japan’s IHI (3%). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westinghouse_Electric_Company
Let’s not forget the presence of the Russian and French, mostly State owned, nuclear industry in India.