Tag Archives: Development

Power or Perdition — Public Concern over a Nuclear Andhra

atomandhrapng

A BOLT FROM THE BLUE

‘Andhra Pradesh set to become a nuclear power hub,’ the headline of a report in The Hindu dated July 21, 2016, says. It quotes a central minister as saying, ‘In Andhra Pradesh six nuclear centres are going to be created, totalling thousands of megawatts capacity.’ As against the government’s goal of 53,000 MW installed capacity by 2031, AP will account for 30,000 MW.’

One is free to feel elated and take the ‘bonanza’ granted to AP as solely out of immense love of the Centre.  One is also free to feel that Andhra Pradesh is playing host to so many nuclear reactors at its own peril. The states of Gujarat, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra are not so hospitable as AP, in the teeth of uprising of their people. Two of the centres proposed in AP are by transfer one each from West Bengal and Gujarat.

Interestingly, in Gujarat, besides the opposing people, the Tatas, the Adanis and Essar are not ‘comfortable’ with the gigantic plant proposed as they are owners of power plants there. What a euphemistic word to be used by the paper—not feel comfortable; instead of the word opposed. Some people of AP at the proposed locations may at best be ‘feeling uncomfortable,’ not more than that yet. Are they fatalistic or are so pragmatic that they are not prepared to break their heads against a stone wall? Even at Kovvada in Srikakulam district the people seem to be giving up their struggle of years. What is the tactic of governments? They wait to the extent possible and tire out the people whose struggle in opposition is intense. Then the poor and fatigued people, who are fatalistic basically, can be lured into accepting packages by making them appear attractive to their eyes—offers they cannot refuse.

Is it coincidental or paradoxical or both that at a time when the global nuclear industry is in doldrums and the global share of nuclear power has fallen from its historic peak of 17.6 to 10.7 per cent in 2015, the proposal to make AP a nuclear hub has come about? One thing, however, could perhaps be said. For nothing in return those in governments take such major decisions, which have far reaching consequences, in the name of national interest. Who decides which is in national interest and which is not? Not the people, but the governments which are not afraid of the people except in an election time. India does not have a history of the people of an entire state taking up cudgels against setting up nuclear plants; those who are away from a site chosen feel comfortable of the fact that, after all, it is not going to happen in their own frontyards or backyards. In a selfish world why should one bother oneself by taking a holistic attitude and contracting others’ headaches?

In the backdrop of the government’s decision, those who are going to live in the company of so many nuclear reactors—just in one statein their neighborhood need to know some basic facts concerning nuclear energy with a historical perspective. The safety of generation after generation to come over thousands of years is now at stake. Let us question ourselves as to what moral right we have to drag future generations into dangers by a step the present generation takes. Once the people in the state of AP know enough of the issues involved and what they entail to them, it is up to them whether to take to a path of agitation or to resign themselves to the potential dangers. But how will they know, in the first place? It is not just an issue of displacement of people, more serious concerns are involved in the proposal. What is happening in reality? Once the displacement issue is taken care of nuclear concerns are ignored by the people.

Nothing new is going to be attempted here other than giving an account of the facts which already are in the public domain as results of brainstorming by those who are far better qualified than me. I want to re-echo them in prapancha hitam—by a ‘collection’, beelike, from various sources. This honey is bitter unlike its sweet cousin; but both intend to do good. This is a layman’s narrative for laymen’s sake. There is no guarantee against a feeling of already being familiar with these facts, while going through them—except that it is worthwhile.

Proposed Andhra Pradesh Nuclear Power Projects in 2016
$ – Rosatom is likely to build 6 power plants in the state. Srikakulam & Nellore Districts among the locations.
$1 Russian nuclear power project to build 6 VVER reactors in Haripur, West Bengal is likely to be moved to Andhra Pradesh due to protests by locals.
$ –  Westinghouse Electric announced that it will be relocating 1 proposed project to build 6 nuclear reactors from Mithi Vardi in Gujarat to Andhra Pradesh.
$ – GE-Hitachi: allocated a site in Andhra Pradesh to build 6 Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactors. the project has been put on hold as India is wary of GE- Hitachi nuclear reactors as they have not been tested before.
$ – “if everything goes according to plan, Andhra Pradesh will be home to more than a dozen nuclear reactors.” [3]
 ~18 Reactors and ~9 Nuclear Plants to be constructed in Andhra Pradesh

 THEIR NUCLEAR LOVE IS NOT BLIND

The nuclear issue goes beyond the need of energy security, defence and foreign policy points and there’s the rub.

Dr Anil Kakodkar, former head of the Department of Atomic Energy, said in a Marathi article that India must import reactors with billions of dollars because, “We  also have to keep in mind the commercial interests of foreign countries and of corporates there.” That preposterous altruism should be read in conjunction with what Dr A. Gopalakrishnan, a past chairman of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, said in his article of DNA dated March 17, 2011: “Even in the negotiations of costs, the safety and liability of imported reactors, the official nuclear agencies today are operating hand-in-glove with their friends in the corporate houses and federations.” He further says, “Ever since the UPA government has taken over in 2004, the collusion between the PMO, DAE, NPCIL and the various corporate houses in India and abroad has substantively increased.” In the wake of the nuclear deal with the US which would pave the way to the lifting of international nuclear embargo on India, the UPA government had to face a no-trust motion in Parliament.

To save itself it bribed some Members of Parliament by paying Rs.10 crore each involving a total amount of Rs.50 to 60 crores as revealed by Wikileaks. The US embassy at that time informed Washington that the Congress party officials boasted that they would buy opposition MPs to win the trust vote. Why was even the continuation of the government risked on the nuclear issue and corrupt practices resorted to if the intentions were bona fide? If one argues that in the national interest it will not be bad even if dubious means are adopted, that will be a different case. In an article dated at countercurrents.org, Dr Kakodkar is quoted by Capt Buddhi Kota Subbarao, PhD, as saying: “America, Russia and France the countries that we made mediators in the efforts to lift sanctions, and hence, for the nurturing of their business interests, we made deals with them for nuclear projects.” A quid pro quo shamelessly admitted to have been made.

Capt (Dr) Subbarao debunks the conception that nuclear power plants are needed to make nuclear weapons. The plutonium that was used in Pokhran I [1974] and Pokhran II [1998] nuclear tests was derived not from nuclear power reactors but from the Research Reactors.

The nuclear power industry indulges in a strong public relations campaign and it is backed by powerful lobbying groups. When the Three Mile (TMI) accident occurred the whole official establishment and nuclear industry moved in a coordinated manner and were in a denial mode about the ill effects. Some dubbed the effort as “one of the biggest lies ever in American industrial history is that no one died at the Three Mile Island.” Dr John William Gofman, who was instrumental in developing the atomic bomb, had as a medical doctor to his credit breakthrough discoveries in heart diseases and LDL/HDL cholesterol. He was chief of health research at the Atomic Energy Commission. When he came up with findings nailing the lie of the establishment he was promptly fired.  He discovered that regular radioactive emissions from America’s nuclear plants would kill 30,000 citizens per year even without an accident or terror attack.  He refused to change his findings when the industry tried to prevail upon him. He preferred to lose his job.

The Radiation and Public Health Project which tried to reveal horrifying truths of the TMI was branded as of little credibility even by the community of scientists. Joseph Mangano, one of its members, who has a master’s degree in public health, was not surprised by the opposition he faced from the ‘military-industrial-energy-pharmaceutical-governmental complex.’ He ran the shoe-string organisation with offices mostly on his kitchen table that spent several years questioning the safety of nuclear power stations. He came up with the finding that the nation’s 100-plus nuclear power reactors when operated under normal conditions were giving people cancer.

Harvey Wasserman, who edits newsfree.org and is a senior editor of freepress.org, in an article in commondreams.org, dated November 19, 2007, observes, “Today, with billions in bailout dollars on the line, there is big money to be made in saying that atomic reactors have harmed no one.

The country also seems to feel with a touch of quaintness that by doing nuclear business with other countries it can win friends who can come to its aid in international affairs. Add to that the ambitions of the leaders at the helm who hanker after their personal international image. The costs involved in winning such friendships and image-building are not amenable to estimation—colossal the costs are.

THY NAME IS HYPOCRISY

American companies have been building nuclear reactors in other countries. Even after 37 years of the accident at the Three Mile Island it is not yet ready to give a chance to new nuclear energy plants. For the US, selling of just two reactors means thousands of jobs.  Barack Obama, who promotes nuclear power deals with other countries, during the course of a speech said that every four minutes another American house or business goes solar.

The French utility Areva, having almost gone bankrupt, scouts for nuclear business. The country plans to reduce its nuclear-generating capacity by a third by 2025 one of the reasons being prohibitive costs of reactors. Where a rich France does not dare, India tries to tread.

Australia possesses over 40 per cent of the world’s uranium reserves, but  it does not dare or care to generate nuclear power.

Russia which is still battling the Chernobyl-disaster cleanup is aggressively pushing for its nuclear trade with other countries.

No nuclear company is prepared to bear any liability to its full extent. They know by experience how huge the costs of liability could be and how accident-prone the reactors are. India is foolhardy to limit the liability of foreign suppliers to just Rs.1500 cr. One major nuclear accident is enough to leave its entire economy in dumps. In the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster Japan is estimated to have incurred anywhere between $150 to 250 billions so far, probably a half of which is towards compensation.

Austria, Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany have decided to freeze or phase out nuclear power.

CLEAN LIKE THE GANGA

Maybe nuclear generation by itself is clean, but the same cannot be said of nuclear fuel cycles. They are carbon-emitting. Greenhouse gases are generated during mining and enriching uranium. The construction of a reactor bears large carbon footprints. The proponents of nuclear power highlight the front-end as emission-free, conveniently downplaying the back-end dirtiness. Therefore any claim that nuclear-power generation is clean needs to be taken with a pinch of uranium.

NUCLEAR ENERGY IS CHEAP LIKE PEANUTS

The 6 Kovvada nuclear reactors are estimated to cost Rs.4,00,000 crores. One reactor costs around Rs.65,000 cr. The facts that (a) the plants require the highest capital in the energy sector, (b) they are the highest water guzzlers and (c) they have the highest gestation period of over 10 years among other energies belie the claim that nuclear energy is cheap. Some have put the cost of nuclear energy at Rs.48 cr per megawatt which may not be an exaggeration. To say it is ‘too cheap to meter’ is a big falsehood.

NO RISK—AS TRUE AS THE HARE HAVING A HORN

Experts say that in a nuclear power plant the risk can only be lowered but not eliminated. The work of a nuclear plant is extremely complex and it is next to impossible to predict all possible failures. To err is human. You cannot eliminate a human error, unless those involved in the process are superhuman, either in designing or in operation of a plant. There are multiple ways in which accidents could sneak in. If you try to fix one it will give rise to another. In Fukushima while tsunami and earthquake were hand in hand externally, the Three Mile Island and Chernobyl accidents had internal causes.

A study lists 99 nuclear accidents which could cause at least one death or a damage costing above $50,000. India accounts for 7 of them. Besides those, Kakrapur Atomic Power Station in Gujarat on March 11, 2016 suffered a leak of heavy water. The newly commissioned Kudankulam also had a leak.

THREE MAJOR ACCIDENTS AND THE SINGLE LESSON THEY TAUGHT

Three Mile Island Disaster

The US, the only country which exploded a bomb in anger, also has the dubious distinction of having the first major nuclear accident too in its nuclear plant at Three Mile Island on March 28, 1979. A combination of personnel error, design deficiencies, and component failures caused it. As robot cameras revealed one third of the fuel melted. Then no one knew what was really happening as it was unprecedented. Even after 37 years, the decommissioning of the plant and restoration of the site are decades away. Plans are afoot to fully restore the site by 2054—75 years after the happening. They claimed there were no immediate deaths or injuries and that its long-term impact would be negligible. They however admit that the psychological toll was immense.

Though the TMI’s owner claimed that its releases harmed no one, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission admitted to Congress that nobody knew how much radiation escaped or where it went. Official figures showed a huge jump in infant death rates in Hartsburg in the three months after the accident. Compared with the numbers for the previous two years State’s statistics showing heightened cancer rates were quickly altered. An investigative team from the Baltimore News-Herald uncovered a massive epidemic of death and disease among the area’s farm and wild animals. The writers, based on a horrifying series of house-to-house interviews, found cancer, heart attacks, respiratory problems, skin lesions, cataracts, a metallic taste in the mouth, hair loss, etc.

Not many years later, on April 26, 1986, the worst of the three major accidents happened at Chernobyl in Ukraine as a result of an experiment carried out by the plant personnel, besides there being construction errors and negligence. According to a calculation of Dr Alexey Yablokov, a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, as reported by Common Dreams dated March, 25 2011, one million people died. He rued that his book ‘Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment,” which he co-authored, had been met mainly with silence from bodies like the World Health Organisation and  no discussion took place about the findings he pointed out in the area around Chernobyl, as contaminated today as it was 25 years ago. Cesium, americium, strontium and plutonium that got deposited in the soil have reached the roots of plants which then propel the radioactivity back to the surface.

Chernobyl Disaster Control & Exclusion Zones

John Vidal in his article, ‘Nuclear green Cheerleaders forget Chernobyl at our peril,’ published in The Guardian dated April 1, 2011, says when he went from hospital to hospital in the still highly contaminated areas of Ukraine and the Belarus border in 2006, after 20 years of the accident, they found deformed and genetically mutilated bodies in the wards; pitifully sick children in homes; adolescents with stunted growth and dwarf torsos; fetuses without thighs or fingers and villagers who told that every member of their families was sick. They heard of many unusual clusters of people with rare bone cancers. One doctor in tears told them that one in three pregnancies in some places were affected and that she was overwhelmed by people with immune and endocrine system disorders. Others said they still saw cesium strontium in the breast milk of mothers living far from the areas thought to be more affected, and significant radiation still existed in the food chain. Villagers testified that the ‘Chernobyl necklace’—thyroid cancer—was so common as to be unremarkable; many showed signs of accelerated ageing. The article further reports that Konstantin Tatuyan, one of the liquidators, who had helped clean up the plant, told them that nearly all his colleagues had died or had cancers of one sort or another. The radiation released at Chernobyl was estimated to have far exceeded the one at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

 When the disaster at Fukushima happened on March 11, 2011, even the Japanese Prime Minister was panicky. In his testimony before the Parliamentary Committee he said, “There wasn’t much information coming to me from the government regulatory agency, NISA, or the Plant’s Operator, TEPCO. I thought I couldn’t make any counter-measures in this crisis. I felt fear.” He condemned the utilities, nuclear regulators, bureaucrats and academics who support the legacy of nuclear energy in Japan. This group [termed as ‘nuclear village’] he felt had no remorse for the disaster.

 

Fukushima disaster worker in Radiation Suit

The accident resulted in a massive radioactive contamination of Japan’s mainland.  Long-lived radioactive cesium contaminated 30,000 sq km of the land surface. Some 4,500 sq miles was found to have radiation levels that exceeded Japan’s allowable exposure rate. Even after 5 years since the accident, road to recovery has been difficult and long and is not yet complete. It took the government 88 days to accept that a meltdown had taken place. TEPCO [Tokyo Electric Power Company] estimates that the cleanup operations could take up to 40 years.

 

A Japanese Greenpeace campaigner says, “There is still an enormous amount of radioactivity there which is not controlled, in liquid form, leaking into the underground, and slowly moving into the ocean and that is very dangerous for the future”. Everyday, 300 tons of contaminated water leaks from the crippled nuclear plant. About 3 lakh people lived in the neighbourhood of the accident. Five years after the happening, tens of thousands still live in temporary housing.

WASTE OR MONSTER

safetysign

Frankenstein faced the wrath of the Adam of his own labour. Having learnt a lesson from what he did he became wiser and refused to create a female monster-mate for the male one to live with. Indians have their own Bhasmaura who chased Siva to save whom Vishnu had to take the trouble of incarnating as Mohini. Our ‘civilised nations’ refuse to learn lessons of their misadventures. They create nuclear waste and they are at their wits’ end on how it can be disposed of. A human lives only a hundred years; the monster is ageless and deathless. If we fail to keep it in proper chains it will devour us. But a tragedy is that you can’t hold it in chains however strong they may be for long. He chaining is just an act of postponing its going on a rampage.

The waste has to be kept in large water pools for cooling down which may take 1 to 10 years and then transferred into caskets [steel cylinders surrounded by additional steel or concrete]. Mind you, nuclear waste can be only stored, not made to disappear. A decommissioned reactor poses as serious a problem as the waste it has generated. Everything in life perishes except nuclear waste. Just imagine how it would be possible to store a huge quantum of waste the 546 reactors generate worldwide.

The Bush administration in 2002 chose Yucca Mountain in Nevada as a common repository for geologic isolation of 70,000 metric tons of its total waste of 107,000 mt and spent on the project $12 billion dollars. The consolidated geological repository was intended to isolate the waste to protect future generations over a period of 250,000 years—which also means that it has the potential to harm for so long a period. The Department of Energy admitted that there was no guarantee that the radioactive waste would not leak into the ground water some day. If it so happens, it would affect potable water, meat grown with the contaminated water, and milk from cows which are exposed to the contamination through their feed and water. The ground water-table could rise and come in contact with the waste. Even the storage containers are prone to breaking open. There also was the possibility of portions of the mountain collapsing. The people were naturally aghast and opposed the move. The Obama administration, as promised at his election time, stopped funding which led to mothballing the project.

What do you expect from democratically elected governments? They should bow to public opinion. But even in countries which wear on their sleeves their democratic credentials, when it comes to nuclear issues, bitter is the experience. There can however be exceptions always. The headline of the BBC News dated May 30, 2011, sounds musical to the ears of those who value human life and public opinion: “Germany: Nuclear power plants to close down by 2022.” Incredible? Germany took a decision to phase out all its nuclear plants by 2022 yielding to massive public protests post the Fukushima disaster. As a first step it decided not to reuse its seven oldest reactors which were taken off line for a safety review. One more would be offline due to some technical glitches and six other ones would go offline by 2021. This was despite the fact that one-fourth of Germany’s energy need is met by nuclear power sector.

DO WE HAVE ONLY HOBSON’S CHOICE IN OPTING FOR NUCLEAR POWER? RUBBISH!

Climate temperatures are attributable to variations in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. It is an important heat-trapping [greenhouse] gas, which is released through human activities such as deforestation and burning fossil fuels as well as a natural procedure such as respiration, volcano eruptions. If climate changes sea levels rise and oceans become warmer. Longer and more intense draughts threaten crops, wildlife and fresh water supplies. The planet’s diversity of life will be at risk. It affects peoples’ livelihoods, places and species. So if we do not want ourselves to perish we have to cut down on carbon emissions. This is possible only by opting for clean, cheap, renewable and harmless energy. Are we then left with only the option of going nuclear? We already know its perils. We are using nuclear energy to supplement our energy basket of renewables such as wind and solar. A simple question is: What prevents us from investing more in the renewables and obviate the necessity of the nuclear option? An equally simple answer: Nothing prevents us if we have the will. Three major renewable resources are sun, water and wind with various other sources which can chip in handsomely. As Capt (Dr) Subbarao observes India would reap enormous harm by largely investing in nuclear energy which starves funds for other sources of power.

We revere the sun as a god and chant the Gayatri Mantram for both spiritual and earthly well-being. The sun never grudges our drawing more and more energy from its shine [it in fact shines for our sake]. But take enough care even from a god and do not over-expose yourselves to its radiation. It allows us to make hay while it shines. Means are being found to store such hay and use it even when it does not shine, especially during nights. As per a cnn.com report dated October 3, 2011, unlike a typical solar power plant which stops working when the sun sets, a new one in southern Spain, called ‘Gemasolar’ can supply power all through the night. During the day it captures the energy of the sun and stores it in a tank. Then, regardless of day or night it can be converted into electricity. Located outside a village Fuentes de Analucia, ‘Gemasolar’  bills itself as the world’s first commercial-scale concentrated power plant that  uses molten salts receiver technology. 2,650 large mirrors called heliostats direct the sun’s rays to a receiver at the top of Gemasolar’s 450-foot tower that shines like a beacon during the day.

The Hindu dated October, 4, 2012, quotes a study according to which India can meet its energy needs sans nuclear power. The study of two professors from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, published in ‘Current Science’ says 4.1 per cent of the total uncultivable and wasteland area in India is enough to meet the projected amount of annual demand of 3,400 TWh by 2070 by solar energy alone. Even that extent of land could be reduced to 3.11 per cent if other potential renewable could be tapped. The newspaper also quoted another IISc professor as saying that a three kilowatt rooftop solar panel system on the 425 million Indian households can generate total per-year energy of 1900 TWh and meet half the demand projected by 2070.

Wind never stops from blowing. We have read about some yogis substituting air for food. If we all could emulate them we can solve the problem of hunger in the world. Paradoxically quite nearby the Kudankulam nuclear plant, thousands of windmills are rotating generating wind power. The potential of wind energy in India is estimated at 20 to 30 times more than the government’s assessment of over a lakh of megawatts. In come parts of the country the cost of wind power dropped below than of coal-based energy. Wind power can increase to 20 per cent worldwide by 2050.

Hydro and waste-to-energy are other renewable sources of energy. According to an estimate 75 per cent of hydro potential is yet to be exploited. Oh, our potential to produce waste is limitless! It has plenty of potential to generate electricity. Once a stage is reached when not a kilo of waste is not wasted, we may cease to call waste as waste. Bio-mass, bio-gas [sewage, landfills and livestock] could come in handy. Andhra Pradesh being a coastal state is ideal for Tidal power plants.

World_electricity_generation_by_source_pie_chart.svg

The World Nuclear Industry Status Report dated July 13, 2016, makes an interesting reading:

  1. Compared with 1977, when the Kyoto protocol on climate change was signed, in 2015 an additional 829 TWh wind power was produced globally and 252 TWh of solar photovoltaic electricity, compared to Nuclei’s additional power of 178 TWh.
  2. In 2015, power generation using Solar energy grew 33 per cent, wind power over 17 per cent, and 1.3 per cent from nuclear source, entirely due to 31 per cent increase in China.
  3. China spent over $100 billion on renewables in 2015. While investment decisions for 6 nuclear reactors amount to $18 billion.
  4. Share in energy-mix: The nuclear share of the world’s power generated remains stable over the last four years, with 10.7 per cent in 2015 after falling steadily from the historic peak of 17.6 per cent in 1996.

The Guardian dated May 9, 2011, reports that the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change [IGPCC], the body of the world’s leading climate scientists, convened by the United Nations, says that if the full range of renewable energy technologies are deployed, the world could keep greenhouse gas concentrates to less than 450 parts per million, the level scientists have projected will be the limit of safety beyond which climate change becomes catastrophic and irreversible. Investment in renewables to the extent needed would cost only about 1.1 per cent of global GDP annually.

 

SOME BASIC STUFF

  • An atom is the smallest particle that can break a material. Nuclear energy is the energy in the nucleus of an atom. At the core of an atom there are two types of particles—neutrons and protons—that are held together. Nuclear energy is the energy that holds neutrons and protons. It can be obtained in two ways, fusion and fissure. In fusion energy is released when atoms are combined or fused together. In fissure, atoms are split into smaller atoms, releasing energy. Reactors run on the fission mode.
  • Nuclear reactors use fuel made of solid ceramic pellets or enriched uranium that are sealed in strong metal tubes. These are bundled together to form a nuclear fuel assembly. The uranium pellets are about the size of the tip our little finger. They release tremendous amount of energy in a nuclear reactor. One pellet has an amount of energy equivalent to almost one ton of coal. The energy released by the nuclear fuel produces great heat, which boils water into steam. The steam turns giant turbines, which generate electricity. After 3 or 4 years in a reactor, the pellets are no longer effective for providing electricity and the assembly is removed from the reactor. After removal, the assembly now called spent fuel, is highly radioactive.
  • Reprocessing is a method of chemically treating spent fuel to separate out uranium and plutonium. The byproduct is a highly radioactive sludge-like residue. By this method is produced fissile material for nuclear weapons.
  • Nuclear waste is of two kinds—(1) spent nuclear fuel which is radioactive byproduct of electricity-generation at commercial nuclear power plants, and (2) high-level radioactive waste the byproduct from reprocessing the spent fuel to produce fissile material for nuclear weapons. Nuclear waste contains highly radioactive elements such as, cesium, strontium, technetium, and neptunium. Some of the elements will remain radioactive for a few years, while others will be radioactive for millions of years.
  • Radioactive material is one which emits radioactive energy in the form of alpha, or gamma particles or rays all of which can damage living tissues.

 

Loka samastA sukhinO bhavantu

Santi santi santihi


References:

  1. http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/false-promise-of-nuclear-power/article6612000.ece
  2. http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/india-can-meet-energy-needs-sans-npower-study/article3964452.ece
  3. http://sputniknews.com/asia/20160722/1043450786/nuclear-power-plant-india.html
  4. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2011/mar/15/nuclear-earthquake-tsunami-energy-industry
  5. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/29/us/three-mile-island-and-nuclear-hopes-and-fears.html?_r=0
  6. https://stateimpact.npr.org/pennsylvania/2014/03/28/three-mile-island-35-years-later/
  7. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yucca_Mountain_nuclear_waste_repository
  8. https://www.citizen.org/documents/yucca.PDF
  9. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2007/09/27/commentary/hype-on-nuclear-power-is-misleading/#.V5XtUr-T6yE
  10. http://www.indiatimes.com/news/india/two-villages-in-andhra-pradesh-show-how-it-s-done-will-now-run-entirely-on-solar-power-252739.html
  11. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/23/business/energy-environment/catching-waves-and-turning-them-into-electricity.html?rref=collection%2Ftimestopic%2FTidal%20and%20Wave%20Power
  12. http://www.worldnuclearreport.org/The-World-Nuclear-Industry-Status-Report-2016-HTML.html
  13. http://www.breakthrough-india.org/archives/nuclear2.pdf
  14. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2011/mar/15/nuclear-earthquake-tsunami-energy-industry

 


This Post was composed by Navuluri Rao garu. You can follow him on Twitter.

Disclaimer: This article represents the opinions of the Author, and should not be considered a reflection of the views of the Andhra Cultural Portal. The Author is responsible for ensuring the factual veracity of the content, herein.

All about South India’s first River linking project — Pattiseema

The following Post was composed by  Anil Prongs. You can follow him on his blog.


pattiseema

Andhra Pradesh is racing ahead in reaching historical milestones. One such historical feat that it achieved is completing the first major river linking project in South India and it is the fastest river integration project ever took up in India.

River linking project is linking rivers through reservoirs and canals. This primarily focuses on reducing floods and water shortages where the abundant monsoon water that is conserved in reservoirs is delivered using the river linking system to areas where water shortage persists, or in times of drought. It primarily does a balancing act in reducing the gap between water availability and the demand for water for irrigation, drinking, and industrial purpose.

There is a prolonged debate in the country since many years on this project where proponents say it answers the country’s water shortage problem while the opponents dispute that it involves large scale rehabilitation, environmental issues, water disputes with neighbouring countries and high costs. Whatever may be the outcome of the debate, a country like India with a high population must address its worsening water shortage crisis, and river linking project has an answer to this. There are many successful river linking systems implemented in the world some of them are Europa canal, Illinois waterway,or the Gulf intercostal waterway.

Andhra Pradesh is covered by three major river basins, the Godavari, the Krishna, and the Penna. The major problem lies in the Krishna basin where the river water is shared by Maharashtra, Karnataka and the newly created states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. According to the Brijesh Kumar tribunal, AP has been allocated 512 tmcft which must be shared between the Krishna delta region and Rayalaseema. With upper riparian states constructing illegal projects on Krishna river it is impossible to address the problem of water shortage in drought prone Rayalaseema and the requirements of the delta region.

RayalaPatti

One solution to this problem is to reduce the dependence of the Delta on Krishna water and transfer the surplus water to Srisailam,thereby distributing it to Rayalaseema through Pothireddypadu head regulator. This can be done by linking the Godavari river to Krishna. There is no problem with Godavari as surplus water is available and moreover about 3000 tmc of flood water is not utilized, which goes waste into Bay of Bengal. By linking, about 80 tmc of water can be transferred from Godavari to Krishna; moreover it is allowed according to the Bachawat tribunal.

The Polavaram project has been envisaged to link these rivers but the huge budget involved, central dependency, and disputes with neighbouring states may take atleast 5 or 7 years to complete. In order to find a speedy resolution to water scarcity in Rayalaseema, the government of Andhra Pradesh has come up with an alternative and that alternative is “Pattiseema Lift irrigation project”.

PattiseemaLevels

Built at a cost of 1300 crores, Pattiseema project uses the nearly completed Polavaram right canal, where the surplus flood water of Godavari is pumped to this canal. It then travels approximately 160 kms by gravity, finally joining Krishna at Vijayawada in the up waters of the Prakasam barrage. This project is designed such a way that only when the water level reaches above 15 metres is it considered as flooding water and is pumped by the motors, thus ensuring that Godavari delta ayacut is not affected. 

dastramVillage-West_godavari_.2

The ayacut of this project is 1.8 lakh acres, the foundation stone was laid on 29th March, 2015 and the first phase was dedicated to the nation on 15th August 2015. It was finally completed on 29th March, 2016 exactly on the day when the foundation stone was laid—making it the fastest executed river integration project. Technologies like live video tracking were used to track the progress and the workers, irrigation officials and engineers who worked day and night to complete the project need a special appreciation.

In spite of many controversies, Pattiseema project is completed successfully in record time and the will and determination of the government of Andhra Pradesh has helped in making it a marvel. This is not the end, but just the beginning for more rivers to be linked, and let the ‘elixir of life’ reach every corner of this country.


Disclaimer: This article represents the opinions of the Author, and should not be considered a reflection of the views of the Andhra Cultural Portal. The Author is responsible for ensuring the factual veracity of the content, herein.

Inkudu Guntalu— A Revolution towards Water Conservation

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The recent drought has cast its evil spell on various parts of the country. The soaring temperatures and a deficit rainfall for over a year had serious implications on the water levels and agriculture. In states like Maharashtra the water scarcity was at an alarming level that water had to be transported through trains.

Why are we facing such a situation? Are we really responsible for this? Absolutely yes! We encroached upon our lakes, destroyed our forests, polluted our rivers in the disguise of progress.

Progress is good but it shouldn’t destroy the very basic necessity of life and this is nothing but greed. El Niño had serious effect on the rainfall for a year, many states had received a deficit rainfall and we were not ready for this.

What is the way forward now? The answer is water conservation. Water conservation is necessary because every drop of water Is precious, according to the statistics the World Bank estimates that by the year 2025, 3.25 billion people in 52 countries will live in conditions of water shortage. A small step will make a great difference. There are many ways for water conservation and most importantly this should be a continuous activity involving every citizen, in short, it should be a revolution. One such revolution is brought in Andhra Pradesh thanks to “Inkudu Guntalu” programme. The aim of this programme is to encourage people to dig water harvesting pits at their homes with public representatives leading the campaign. Eenadu, the Telugu language Media Group has given a much needed boost to this programme by turning it into a campaign.

How does a Rain Water Harvest pit work?? Just dig an 8-foot hole into the ground and 4 feet width near the pump motor and add pieces of bricks and sand layer by layer until the hole is covered. Now just connect a pipe between the water sump and the pit. When it rains, all the water is absorbed by this pit thus recharging the ground water. This is a simple technique of tapping rain water and making it into use [There are other techniques in the links below]. The major benefit is it is cost efficient, there won’t be any need of spending a huge amount of money on digging bore wells.  About 90% of ground water is used for drinking purposes, this Rain water harvest (RWH )pit will help in addressing the drinking water scarcity, particularly in summer.

The RWH pit used in farms is called a farm pond. This is a larger pit where the rain water can be used for irrigation or aquaculture. This saves the farmer the cost of digging bore wells and in arid areas precious rain water can be used for irrigation without wasting even a single drop.  This will also help the farmer in earning an extra income through raising fish in these ponds.

The response to the inkudu guntalu programme is tremendous in all the 13 districts of Andhra Pradesh. The Government of Andhra Pradesh has aimed at digging 8 lakh pits and 6 lakh farm ponds this year. But the count for rwh pits has crossed 10 lakhs already. The government has set a new target of 8 lakh farm ponds in the coming year. Prime minister Narendra Modi has even lauded the AP government’s effort in his maan ki baat address.

Why should rain water harvesting be limited to rural areas?? Roof top pits will be a great option particularly in apartments. This helps in addressing the constant water scarcity in cities. The civic administration must pass a rule that every new construction must include a provision for Rain Water Harvesting pit.

What started as a small drop has now become an ocean. The active participation of people has taken a long way beyond success. In coming days I am sure we will see drought free areas in Andhra Pradesh and stand an inspiration to this country.

[Here are some useful Links on RWH Methods and FAQ: One, Two, Three, Four, Five]


The author of this post, Anil Prongs, can be reached on Twitter. This article was originally published on the author’s personal blog on May 28, 2016.

Disclaimer: This article represents the opinions of the Author, and should not be considered a reflection of the views of the Andhra Cultural Portal. The Author is responsible for ensuring the factual veracity of the content, herein.

e-Pragati—One small step for Andhrapreneurship

A version of this Post was published by Anil Prongs at his blog, on November 23,2015


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The IT revolution has bought several changes in India. It changed what was an agriculture based economy to a country with strong service sector. It opened avenues for employment in the form of foreign based and even domestic IT/ITES companies using the extensive skill force available in India. The government has also realised the importance of IT and decided to use it for what we call it e-governance. The prime minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi has introduced “Digital India” to revolutionize e-governance and digitize Government departments. Taking an inspiration from Digital India, the government of Andhra Pradesh has introduced e-pragati, which was launched by Shri Nara Chandrababu Naidu on October 9th at Visakhapatnam.

The IT revolution is not new to the Telugu land. Mr. Naidu, when he was the chief minister of erstwhile Andhra Pradesh (Telangana and Seemandhra combined) was always a proponent of IT to bring out a sustainable development. Due to his efforts Hyderabad is a IT Hub of India after Bangalore. He introduced the e-seva service which brings all the citizen related services under one roof. Even as the Chief Minister of present Andhra Pradesh, he introduced e-cabinet, a paperless cabinet meeting which is a first of its kind in the country. A true visionary!

Coming to e-Pragati, it is one kind of e-governance which brings a revolutionary change in how services are offered, achieved, designed and consumed. It aims to integrate  government related services through a Public Private Partnership (PPP) through the use of cutting edge technologies like SOA, SMAC. This initiative intends to improve quality in various sectors like Agriculture, Education, Healthcare, Construction, Skill development, urban and rural development.

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Under this there are 72 projects, made into 14 packages for ease of implementation over the next 3 years, at a cost of 2398 crore rupees. [2] “Andhra Pradesh will become the first state in the country to introduce state-wide enterprise architecture in governance with the e-Pragati project that is slated to be completed by September 2017.” [2]

What is the advantage of this project?? Well, enabling this will ensure a faster movement of files between  departments and even reducing the use of paper. There were instances where files would get stuck in one department for several days but the use of e-pragati  reduces this time consumption. E-pragati also improves the ease of doing business; now industrialists can get clearances though a single window system within a matter of days without even visiting each department. One more advantage of this e-pragati is it reduces corruption and nepotism.

To quote futurist Alvin Toffler, “The great growling engine of change – Technology”. Indeed, technology is a catalyst for change. A change which brings inclusive growth, economic prosperity and sustainable development. As far as Andhra Pradesh is concerned, this change is helping it bring out a digital revolution..One small step for Andhrapreneurship, one giant leap for Andhra Pradesh.

References:

  1. http://e-pragati.ap.gov.in/home.html
  2. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/visakhapatnam/CM-rolls-out-e-Pragati-for-745-services-in-AP/articleshow/49308214.cms

Disclaimer: This article represents the opinions of the Author, and should not be considered a reflection of the views of the Andhra Cultural Portal. The Author is responsible for ensuring the factual veracity of the content, herein.

Andhra Pradesh’s Fibre Optic Grid: Internet for Rural Households

The following Post was composed by Anil Prongs. You can follow him here on Twitter.


Internet- the network of networks brought a transformational change to our world. It made communication easier, transformed businesses, and changed how governments function. The internet revolution in India has played a key role in the country’s development.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Digital India’ envisages to connect every village to the internet through an optic fibre network but the vision of ‘tech savvy’ Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh takes it to a whole new level that is connecting every household to the internet–particularly rural households. I will confine this article to rural areas.

Providing a high speed broad band connection to every household at an affordable price (at Rs. 150) is the aim of Fibre Optic Grid (FOG) project. The main component here is laying the optic fibre over 30,000 km at a cost of RS.333 crores which enables internet connection to 1.2 million households with speed ranging from 10 Mbps to 15 Mbps. In addition business enterprises get on demand availability of 100 Mbps to 1 Gbps. The project not only aims to connect every household, but also to create a computer literate and an entrepreneur from every household. An encouraging aspect is that Google India has come forward to help make this project a success.

One area where this project is beneficial is in education; students in rural areas don’t get access to quality education. With internet access, students get the benefit of e-learning where learning is interactive, encouraging young minds to think and innovate. Nowadays, educational institutes offer online training; rural students can now learn just sitting at home. Online skill development courses can make rural youth job ready, as with internet availability learning these courses isn’t difficult.

Presently, rural youth are migrating to large cities in search of employment especially for IT / ITES based jobs. Why not bring these jobs to the rural areas itself?? Unemployed youth can get jobs which operate on internet connectivity with internet access in place. There is a huge scope for local entrepreneurship through rural startups as there is sufficient infrastructure. Imagine an e-commerce website maintained by a local entrepreneur who sells handicrafts made by local artisans or a kisan call centre which provides information on agriculture to local farmers. These startups not only encourage local entrepreneurs but provide jobs to locals.

It is imperative that the potential of the internet be tapped for the upliftment of the rural areas. Modi’s Digital India is on that very frontier combined with Chandrababu‘s Vision Andhra Pradesh. Together these will allow our villages to see sustainable development both economically and technologically.


Disclaimer: This article represents the opinions of the Author, and should not be considered a reflection of the views of the Andhra Cultural Portal. The Author is responsible for ensuring the factual veracity of the content, herein.