Mumbai: An impact assessment report by Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) here has come down heavily on the proposed nuclear power plant at Jaitapur in Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra 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.
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 a 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 as well as environmental development of not just these villages and the surrounding areas, but also on the Konkan region in general.
The Nuclear Power Corp. of India (NPCIL) has planned to build at least six units of 1,560 MW each power plants at the site in collaboration with French nuclear energy major Areva.
Last month, 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, NPCIL clarified that the Jaitapur site is in Zone-III and not in Zone-IV. Actually, the Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project site selection has been done keeping ample safety margins, it said.
“The code set by Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) for site selection for setting up of nuclear power plant (NPP) prescribes that there should not be any active geological fault within 5-km radius from the proposed site of NPP,” NPCIL spokesperson N Nagaich said.
Extensive studies carried out by various government institutions/organizations, specialising on these studies, have found no active geological fault up to 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 Nucflear Power plants, he added.
Kamble said on Wednesday that his study was based on discussions with activisits from Ratnagiri arranged by advocate Girish Raut, an environment activist in Mumbai and later with various groups of people in the area.
Meanwhile, concerned on the reservations about the proposed project, a five-member team from Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee has left for Jaitapur on Wednesday to find out from locals as what their problems are.
Congress MLAs and MLCs ande some office bearers will be talking to people in Jaitapur to assess the ground realities, MPCC sources said adding “we are with the people and we want to find out the true situation.”