The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Indian Uranium Corporation ordered to probe birth deformities near mines

hydrocephalus-babyThe health issue came to the attention of the High Court earlier this year after pictures of Jadugora’s deformed children appeared in the Indian press. The court in February ordered Uranium Corp. to produce documents that might shed light on the health issues. The court noted then that children living near the mines in Jadugora are “born with swollen heads, blood disorders and skeletal distortions.”

India Court Orders Uranium Corp. to Probe Deformities Near Mines Bloomberg By Rakteem Katakey and Tom Lasseter  Aug 20, 2014 India’s sole uranium mining company is being ordered by a regional court to disclose radiation levels and the presence of any heavy metals in soil and water in a cluster of villages with reports of unusual numbers of deformed and sick children.

The order by the Jharkhand High Court also mandates thatUranium Corp. of India Ltd.explain how it ensures the safety of nearby civilian populations who may be exposed to its 193-acre (78-hectare) radioactive waste dump near the village of Jadugora in eastern India.

The move comes about a month after a Bloomberg News story chronicled the plight of parents living near the Uranium Corp. mines who are seeking answers to what’s sickening and killing so many of their kids. The story also reported that local residents routinely wander the unfenced dump sites and fish and bathe in a river that receives water flowing from the dumps, known as tailings ponds. The Bloomberg article was submitted to the judges of the High Court by Ananda Sen, the lawyer appointed by the court to review the case.

Uranium Corp. has denied its mining operations have anything to do with village health issues. In 2007, a survey of more than 2,100 households by an Indian physicians group found mothers in villages 1.5 miles from the mines reported congenital deformities more than 80 percent higher than the rates just 20 miles (32 kilometers) away, with reported child death rates from such abnormalities more than five times as high.

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August 22, 2014 Posted by | children, India, Reference, Uranium | 1 Comment

Serious flaws in India-Japan Nuclear Deal

flag-indiaReasons to Oppose the India-Japan Nuclear Deal - Nuclear Free by 2045 ? Dennis Riches 14 Aug 14 In late July and early August, a leading member of India’s Coalition for Peace and Nuclear Disarmament, Kumar Sundaram, visited several Japanese cities in order to speak to the mass media and Japanese citizens about the proposed Japan-India nuclear energy agreement. He timed his visit to Japan to precede Abe,-Shinzo-nuke-1that of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the end of August. Modi will meet with his Japanese counterpart in hopes of finalizing a deal to allow the purchase of vital components of nuclear power plants that are proposed or under construction

Mr. Sundaram wished to draw attention to numerous problematic aspects of India’s nuclear energy ambitions, negative aspects which the mass media, intellectuals and politicians have failed to criticize sufficiently.
On July 31, Mr. Sundaram gave a press conference in Tokyo at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan. During his hour at the microphone, he gave a detailed explanation as to why he believes the plans for nuclear energy development in India will lead to disastrous consequences for both India and foreign countries. This report summarizes the information given by Mr. Sundaram, with additional background information and commentary.
The Nuclear Energy — Nuclear Weapons Connection……….
In addition to the US deal, India now has bilateral arrangements with France, Canada, Russia, Nigeria, Kazakhstan, and Australia. The present push for a Japan-India agreement could be seen as a multi-lateral effort that aims to facilitate nuclear deals for multinational corporations.
The preferential treatment for India set an obvious dangerous precedent. It signaled to other nations that there was a double standard, and it suggested that if they too defy international agreements to not develop nuclear weapons, they merely need to endure rogue status until pragmatic considerations force other nations to legitimize their nuclear power status. It signaled to China that the US was tacitly approving India’s nuclear weapon status in order to have a strategic balance to China in the region. It signaled the same to Pakistan, with the added message that its political instability would prevent it from getting the same treatment as India……..
The present Japanese government is willing to abandon the strong stance on disarmament and non-proliferation and instead just pay lip service to the issue, as it did this month with regard to the 69th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Times of India reported that on August 10th, the foreign ministers of India and Japan, Sushma Swaraj and Fumio Kishida, met on the sidelines of the ASEAN Regional Forum to exchange what, to my skeptical eye, was no more than cynical pieties regarding the Hiroshima memorial. ………
Neglecting safety, local opposition, environmental damage, economic viability, and the decline of nuclear energy in developed nations
Mr. Sundaram pointed out that even among various Indian government agencies the methods of developing nuclear energy have not been unanimously approved. Official environmental reviews have raised strong objections. Even among those who are, in general, supportive or undecided about nuclear power have voiced objections about the methods and the scale of the nuclear expansion. Nonetheless, diplomatic imperatives always sideline these concerns.
For example, after the Bhopal disaster, laws were strengthened to make foreign corporations liable for the damage they may cause, but these laws are now being rolled back in order to please the corporations that are building nuclear reactors. …….
Mr. Sundaram concluded by emphasizing that the pursuit of nuclear energy is an anachronism. India has been targeted by multinational corporations who can no longer make profits from nuclear energy in the countries where they built plants in the past. In this sense, India might be the lynchpin that the global nuclear industry is depending on for its survival. Indian elites are allowing themselves to be used in this way in order to legitimize the nation’s status as a nuclear power, but they have failed to consider whether it is necessary for any other reason……

August 16, 2014 Posted by | India, politics international | Leave a comment

Uranium mining destroys lives

Yet another example of how mining companies destroy local peoples lives Papua New Guinea Mine Watch 14 Aug 14 

“The government and the company don’t give a damn whether the tribal people live or die,” said Ghanshyam Birulee. “The government is treating us as guinea pigs to fulfill its greed for Uranium.”

India uranium mining fuels health crisis

flag-indiaRadioactive waste generated in three government owned mines spurs health fears in eastern Jharkhand state.

Sanjay Pandey | Al Jazeera They took away my land,” 35-year-old Agnu Murmu told Al Jazeera, days before he died. “I begged them to give me a small truck… but they gifted me with cancer.”

Murmu, according to social activist Ghanshyam Birulee, was just the latest casualty of radiation pollution in Jadugoda, a tribal heartland in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand.

His house sits dangerously close to a tailing pond, where the government-run Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) discharges waste from its mining operations. Murmu’s mother said the family knew nothing about radiation when mining began here about five decades ago.

“Like other unsuspecting parents, I would also allow my children to play near the tailing pond and catch fish from the canal that I know now is contaminated by radiation pollution,” said Rakhi Murmu, 52, with tears spilling down her creased cheeks.

“Uranium mines have ruined our lives. I know they won’t rest till they bury us all in those pits.”

Spontaneous abortions and miscarriages

Radioactive waste generated by three government owned mines – Narwapahar, Bhatin and Jadugoda – has spurred fears of a health crisis in the region.

Residents say they suffer from a number of diseases linked to radiation pollution, including congenital deformities, sterility, spontaneous abortions and cancer – yet mining continues unabated near these Indian villages, without proper security measures in place.

Dumping of radioactive waste by the roadside or near the villages may be putting even more people at risk………

radiation pollution

Several surveys conducted by independent agencies, including Japan’s Kyoto University and India’s Jadavpur University, have confirmed radiation pollution in the air, water and soil in Jadugoda.

Independent nuclear scientist Sanghmitra Gadekar, who conducted a survey on 9,000 villagers living in and around mines, has documented cases of congenital deformities, infertility, cancer, respiratory problems and miscarriages……..

Guinea pigs?

Nitish Priyadarshi, a geologist who has surveyed radioactivity in Jamshedpur and Ranchi, said while uranium particles cannot travel that far, “its sister elements like radon gas, which damages lungs and kidney, can travel to the city and take the already high radioactivity to alarming levels.”…….

whatever the government policy, Jadugoda’s 50,000 tribal residents continue to stand exposed to a danger which the activists say “nobody cares about”.

“The government and the company don’t give a damn whether the tribal people live or die,” said Ghanshyam Birulee. “The government is treating us as guinea pigs to fulfill its greed for Uranium.”

August 14, 2014 Posted by | health, India, Uranium | Leave a comment

India: Two big utilities investing in renewable energy

flag-indiaTata, Reliance Power bet big on renewable energy, to spend Rs 1,500 crore each, Economic Times,  By Shuchi Srivastava, ET Bureau | 9 Jul, 2014, MUMBAI: Two of the country’s largest power producers Tata PowerBSE -5.04 % and Reliance PowerBSE -7.70 % are betting big on renewable energy and will spend about Rs 1,500 crore each on clean energy projects this fiscal.

While Reliance Power has big plans in the renewable energy segment with a special focus on solar, Tata Power said that all the new capacity that it is planning to add over the next two years, close to 800 MW, comprises clean energy projects in the wind, hydro, solar .. ……..
Reliance Power is confident that environment is now ripe to provide a big thrust to the renewable energy space in particular to solar PV projects,” the company added. This comes at a time when the the ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE)plans to set up giant solar projects in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Ladakh and Kargil. This is a part of the government’s target of achieving 20,000 MW of solar capacity by 2020.

“Reliance Power is keen to be a part of the journey to position India as one of the world’s major solar power producers in the coming years. Given the exciting new opportunities such as the ultra mega solar PV projects and the shortfall in meeting the renewable purchase obligations by various state discoms,” said the company.


July 9, 2014 Posted by | India, renewable | Leave a comment

World’s Largest Floating Solar Power Project planned for India

India Plans World’s Largest Floating Solar Power Project (50 MW) After canal-top solar power projects, India is planning to install the world’s largest floating solar power project.Clean Technica, 4 July 14 

India’s leading hydro power generator National Hydro Power Corporation (NHPC) is planning to set up a 50 MW solar photovoltaic project over the water bodies in the southern state of Kerala. Renewable Energy College will provide assistance to the company for implementing the project…….

July 5, 2014 Posted by | India, renewable | 4 Comments

India’s nuclear deal with USA, Russia and France is a very bad one

flag-indiaIndia – now nuclear and environmental dissent is a crime Ecologist, Kumar Sundaram 4th July 2014 “…….Nuclear power is the new must-have India made advance promises for reactor purchases from France’s Areva, Russia’s Atomsroy export and US giants like Westinghouse and GE in exchange for these countries’ support for an exemption for India at the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG) in 2008.

India was thus permitted to engage in international nuclear commerce despite its status as a nuclear weapons state outside the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

It is under the pressure of the commitment to the international nuclear lobby that the Indian government has been bulldozing everything that stands in their way:

July 5, 2014 Posted by | India, politics international | Leave a comment

Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) has doubts about India becoming a member

flag-indiaNuclear export group divided over ties with India – diplomatYahoo 7 news July 2, 2014, By Fredrik Dahl VIENNA (Reuters) – An influential global body that controls atomic exports is divided over establishing closer ties with India, meaning the nuclear-armed Asian power may have to wait a while longer before joining.

Diplomatic sources said different opinions were voiced in a debate on relations with India – a non-signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) – at an annual meeting of the 48-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) last week in Buenos Aires.

The United States, Britain and other members have argued in favour of India joining the trade body, established in 1975 to ensure that civilian nuclear trade is not diverted for military aims……the country would be the only member of the suppliers’ group that has not signed up to the NPT, a 189-nation treaty set up four decades ago to prevent states from acquiring nuclear weapons.

This has caused some NSG states to raise doubts about India joining their club, which plays a pivotal role in countering nuclear threats and proliferation. Some also argue that it could erode the credibility of the NPT, a cornerstone of global nuclear disarmament efforts……..

July 5, 2014 Posted by | India, politics international | Leave a comment

India’s frantic efforts to deal with problem of insuring nuclear power (the uninsurable)

‘Government working on providing insurance cover to nuclear plants‘ Economic Times  Jun 28, 2014, HYDERABAD: The government is working with a group of experts and officials of Nuclear Power Corporation of India,Finance Ministry and insurance companies to work out the modalities of providing insurance cover to existing and new nuclear power plants, a senior official said here today.

R K Sinha, Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy and Chairman of Atomic Energy Commission told this to reporters after flagging off the world’s second largest gamma ray telescope to Ladakh, where it will be installed. According to him, government is working towards forming a nuclear insurance pool to cover the nuclear facilities, involving state-owned General Insurance Company and New India Insurance.

“We are on the way to find a solution (to liability law concerns). We will be putting in place a mechanism to cover the risk through insurance (for nuclear plants),” Sinha, told media persons, he said.

In order to address the liability issue that has held up deals with various countries, the central government earlier said it decided to form a Nuclear Insurance Pool that will have a number of stakeholders to meet the requirement of huge financial cover in case of a mishap.

Under the Liability Law, compensation of up to Rs 1,500 crore will have to be paid in case of a mishap involving a nuclear plant. At present, India has 20 nuclear plants and their number is expected to grow as the industry expands.

The Department of Atomic Energy has been pursuing the issue of bringing the nuclear plants under insurance cover, with the Ministry of Finance, NPCIL and insurance companies, he added…….

June 30, 2014 Posted by | India, politics | Leave a comment

France pushing as nuclear salesman to India

fighters-marketing-1Defence, nuclear reactor deals on agenda for Fabius’ India visit A multi-billion-dollar deal for fighter jets and another for nuclear reactors are expected to be discussed between Indian leaders and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who arrives in New Delhi later on Sunday.
A 15-billion-dollar deal for 126 Rafale fighter jets, made by France’s Dassault Aviation, is said to be in the final stage of negotiations.
areva-medusa1The negotiations for six nuclear reactors from French company Areva for the state-run Nuclear Power Corporation’s power plant in Jaitapur in western India was initiated in 2010.
That deal was delayed after both sides decided to review security issues following the Fukushima nuclear disaster and France sought to understand the implications of a tough nuclear liability and damages law passed by India in 2010.
Fabius is scheduled to meet his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday, followed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday.
Fabius is the first top Western official to visit India after the Bharatiya Janata Party led by Modi won general elections that ended the decade-long rule of the Indian National Congress party-led alliance.

June 30, 2014 Posted by | India, marketing | 1 Comment

The health toll of India’s uranium mining

India’s uranium mines expose villages to radiation, DW 25 June 14 India plans to source a quarter of its energy from nuclear power by 2050. But this ambitious goal could come at a cost. Radioactive waste from uranium mines in the country’s east is contaminating nearby communities…….Local activist Kavita Birulee says the villagers here are terrified of the radioactive waste. In Jadugoda, rates of cancer, miscarriages and birth defects are climbing…….

Health-related deformities

Just 40 years ago, Jadugoda was a quiet and lush green locality with no dust or radiation pollution. The people here lived a quiet rural life. But things changed when the Indian government started mining operations here in 1967.

Radioactive waste generated by three nearby government-owned mines has caused serious health-related problems in Jadugoda. The mines belong to Uranium Corporation of India Limited – or UCIL. They employ 5,000 people and are an important source of income for villagers in this relatively remote area. But the waste has put 50,000 people, mostly from tribal communities, at risk.

A recent study of about 9,000 people in villages near the mines has documented cases of congenital deformities, infertility, cancer, respiratory problems and miscarriages.

Nuclear scientist Sanghmitra Gadekar, who was responsible for conducting the survey on radioactive pollution in villages near the mines, says there was a higher incidence of miscarriages and still births.

“Also, laborers were given only one uniform a week. They had to keep on wearing it and then take it home. There, the wives or daughters wash it in a contaminated pond, exposing them to radiation. It’s a vicious circle of radioactive pollution in Jadugoda,” he said…….

Grim future

The mines are on the doorstep of the area’s largest city, Jamshedpur. If radiation pollution isn’t controlled, more people will be affected in the future. Local officials, however, are proud of their role in India’s nuclear defense industry.

Anti-nuclear pollution activist Xavier Dias has been trying to alert locals about the dangers presented by the mines.

“When you are talking about Jamshedpur, you are talking about a thousand ancillary industries, a huge population,” he said. “These are dust particles that fly around. They enter the water, the fauna, flora, the food system. And they are killers, but they are slow killers. They kill over generations.”

June 26, 2014 Posted by | health, India, Uranium | 2 Comments

Indian officials deny covert expansion of India’s nuclear weaponry

Indian officials trash U.S. think-tank report THE HINDUATUL ANEJA 21 JUNE 14, Indian officials have trashed the report published by a military intelligence think tank based in the United States, which, citing satellite imagery alleged that New Delhi was covertly expanding its nuclear weapons programme.

The report is “mischievously timed,” ahead of a meeting on Monday of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) in Buenos Aires, and is intended to divert focus from the real culprits of proliferation, said an official source, who did not wish to be named. “It is interesting that such reports questioning India’s nuclear credentials are planted at regular intervals,” he observed.

The Hindu carried a news report based on the findings published by the IHS Jane’s group that satellite imagery had revealed extension of the Mysore nuclear centrifuge plant, which could “substantially” expand India’s nuclear submarine fleet and support development of thermonuclear weapons…….

Defence officials told The Hindu, on conditions of anonymity, that India’s indigenously designed nuclear submarine Arihant has concluded “harbour trials” and final preparations are underway for an imminent commencement of “sea trials,” ahead of formal induction of the platform into the naval fleet. The nuclear submarine – which has a long undersea endurance – is central to India’s “second strike” capability, and its induction in the navy’s stables would complete the triad of nuclear delivery systems.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), that steers India’s weapons development programme is developing a string of submarine launched ballistic missiles including the K-4 which has a 2,000 kilometer range.

June 24, 2014 Posted by | India, weapons and war | Leave a comment

India’s nuclear liability law poses a challenge to Russia-India nuclear power agreement

justiceflag-indiaRussia agrees on India’s nuclear liability law  MOSCOW: Russia has in principle agreed on the Indian nuclear liability law, paving the way for signing a contract for unit 3 and 4 of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant in July, Russian officials said today. “The (liability) law enacted is certainly challenging. We are working with our colleagues (counterparts) in India and the issue has been resolved,” said Kirill Komarov, Deputy Director General on Development and International business, Rosatom State Corporation.  “We have just signed the protocol. The approvals will take some time. We have are awaiting nod from the Indian side. The India’s over view authority (Atomic energy Regulatory Board) is yet to give its nod. “They are also checking seismic activity in the area. So by July we should be ready with a roadmap after which we can start implementing the General Framework Agreement signed between the two countries,” said told a press conference. Unit 1 of the KKNPP has attained 100 per cent capacity of 1000 MW while the second unit should start generating power from this year. Units 1 and 2 of Tamil Nadu-based Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP) have been built with the help of Russian assistance at the cost of Rs 17,200 crore. Insuring nuclear power plants is a daunting task because of its high cost and there is no single governmental insurance entity in the country that can insure these installations .. ..

June 11, 2014 Posted by | India, politics international | Leave a comment

India wants Russia to make Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant safer

India Seeks More Security Measures for Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant New Indian Express, By Prashant Rangnekar 9 June 14 MOSCOW: India has sought “enhanced security measures” for the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant after the Fukushmia Daichi atomic disaster in Japan, Russia said.

“We had received a request from India for enhanced safety measures. Of course India had to pay more for such kind of system. The Koodankulam plants have four channels of safety system,” said V Asmolov, first deputy general of Rosenergoatom, the Russian nuclear power station operations subsidiary of a state-owned company.

“This can lead to immediate stopping of chain reaction in case of crisis. The system will ensure water supply for cooling of the reactor even if there is a black out for 24 hours,” Asmolov said.

He was speaking at the sidelines of Atom2014 Expo, a conference organised by Rosatom, a Russian state atomic energy body……

Anti-nuclear activists and People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) have been spearheading more than a two-year-old protest against KNPP in Tirunelveli, demanding its closure, citing safety reasons.

June 11, 2014 Posted by | India, safety | Leave a comment

India on the road to a renewable energy revolution?

India’s energy future: Australian coal or renewable revolution? The Conversation,  Craig Froome Global Change Institute – Clean Energy Program Manager at University of Queensland “…….…Renewable revolution?

India’s renewable energy ambitions are driven both by the need to reduce carbon emissions and by falling renewableenergy prices (relative to increasing coal prices).

Currently India has four renewable energy schemes. They are:

  • Renewable Mix Target (Electricity)
  • Renewable Capacity Target
  • Renewable Portfolio Standard (PAT Scheme)
  • Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission

The Renewable Mix Target sets a target of 15% of India’s total electricity generation by 2020. This target ignores large-scale hydroelectricity, but with renewable energy generation currently at 12% India is in a good starting position.

The Renewable Capacity Target is a target for installed capacity. Set in 2012, it aims for 41.3 gigawatts of installed renewable capacity by 2017, increasing to 72.4 gigawatts by 2022. As of March 31 India has 29.5 gigawatts installed capacity. The capacity target also sets ambitions for individual technologies 4 to 20 gigawatts of solar capacity, and 20.2 gigawatts to 27.3 gigawatts of wind energy by 2017 and 2022. Solar and wind currently stand at 2.2 and 20.2 gigawatts respectively.

The portfolio standard is a cap-and-trade scheme, due to end in 2015. Current estimates suggest the scheme has had the desired effect, and rules for continuing the scheme are being considered.

Finally, the solar mission is a solar-specific program to increase grid-based generation to 20 gigawatts by 2020, funded by a national feed-in tariff. More than 80 solar manufacturers are now establishing in India in anticipation for the roll out……..

June 5, 2014 Posted by | India, renewable | Leave a comment

With new Indian government a slowdown in nuclear power expansion looks likely

flag-indiaNarendra Modi government may go slow on nuclear energy expansion: PwC, The Economic Times,  May 27, 2014, MUMBAI: The new government may put on the back-burner a plan to install 20 gigawatts of nuclear power capacity in the country by 2020 and instead focus on wind and solar to achieve energy security, says PwC……….

Rather than nuclear, the Modi government may focus on increasing wind and solar power capacity, especially when these models worked successfully in Gujarat, Mohapatra said.

The power, coal, and new and renewable energy portfolios in the Modi Cabinet are held by Piyush Goyal, who is from Maharashtra, where BJP ally Shiv Sena was opposing the 9,900 MW Jaitapur nuclear project……..An industry expert from KPMG, who did not want to be identified, said that before the new government takes any decision on nuclear power, it will first have to tackle issues of supply chain, safety and acceptance from locals.

May 30, 2014 Posted by | India, politics | Leave a comment


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