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Tamil Nadu State Govt delays implementing pledge given to PNAME about releasing imprisoned protesters and withdrawing cases

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Text of a press Release issued by PMANE on April 1, 2012

The People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) entered into a negotiation with the Tamil Nadu State officials on March 27, 2012 with the assistance of some credible and respectable mediators.

Koodankulam: pic courtesy of: thehindubusinessline.com

As per that mediation, the Tamil Nadu State Government assured to release all the imprisoned people through due process and withdraw all the cases that have been registered against us.

However, the bail process is being delayed by several obstacles such as filing charge sheets in additional cases, demanding double surety, and condition bail of asking people to produce themselves at a distant police station on daily basis.

All the false and serious cases such as ‘sedition’ and ‘waging war on the Indian State’ have not been withdrawn yet. Instead all these cases that randomly include +3,000 people are used to intimidate the local people.

So people here live in fear and are very afraid to venture out of their homes and villages. We hear reports that the Tamil Nadu Government is still trying to arrest all the important leaders and functionaries of the protest movement as soon as possible.

Furthermore, personal vendetta is being taken by the State and Central agencies on some individuals and NGOs. The Home Ministry officials searched the home of S. P. Udayakumar on March 29, 2012 for some 12 hours. And the Madurai Passport Officer has now asked Udayakumar to surrender his passport within 15 days through his letter dated 30/3/2012.

The Tamil Nadu Government has sent the local police officers and constables from Koodankulam and Idinthakarai etc. to their respective villages on official duty to divide the local communities by instigating caste and religious hatred and group clashes. These police men spend all their time talking to their relatives and friends in their villages spreading rumors and causing fear and concerns among the people.

The Tamil Nadu Government is also using the Rs. 500 crore (5 billion Rupee – 75 million Euro) package to woe the corrupt and unscrupulous elements from the local villages, divide the communities and mobilize false support for the Koodankulam nuclear power project.

We would also like to highlight the fact that the KKNPP has been restarted without any kind of consent and cooperation of the local people and it grossly violates Article 32 of the Indian Constitution. The fears and concerns of the people have not been addressed in any meaningful manner by both the Expert Teams nominated by the Central and State Governments. These governments are blatantly violating the rights and entitlements of the local people in an arrogant and authoritarian manner.

The PMANE has concluded its 9-day indefinite hunger strike and has resumed its relay hunger strike on daily basis from March 28, 2012. It is not true that our struggle has been withdrawn just because we have decided to resume fishing, open the local shops and send the Idinthakarai children back to school.

Supreme Court Advocate Shri Prashant Bhushan visited us on March 31, 2012 and the former Chief Minister of Kerala and current opposition leader Shri V.S. Achuthanandan is scheduled to visit on April 12, 2012

The Struggle Committee,
People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE)
Idinthakarai & P. O. 627 104
Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu

FOR THE RECORD: These are the issues that the PMANE expert team identified in the KKNPP project:

1. The Koodankulam site is not only prone to small-volume volcanic eruptions, but also to mega-tsunamis with heights exceeding 100 feet, arising out of the presence of two large “slumps” in the seabed of Gulf of Mannar less than 100 km from the plant.

A 1982 study in a noted journal documents the presence of two slumps — the East Comorin slump and the Colombo slump — in the vicinity of the Koodankulam site. The second report by the Central Govt Expert Group has accepted the presence of the slumps and the possibility of a Near Field Tsunami occurring out of a landslide. This is in opposition to their earlier position and also to the position of AERB that Near field Tsunamis are not possible in India.

However, their contention is on the height of the Tsunami waves. While welcoming their change in accepting the possibility of Near Field Tsunami, the PMANE Expert Team wishes to state that after the 1982 study, a tsunami did occur in December 2006 and it may have changed the structures of the Slumps. Hence merely answering the question from the 1982 text is not sufficient.

2. PMANE’s expert team is alarmed that the NPCIL (Nuclear Power Corporation of India) has allowed the siting of the plant in an area characterised by sub-volcanic intrusions – an indication of volcanism in the vicinity of the plant. The presence of sub-volcanic intrusions of the kind found in the KKNPP site is precisely the reason why the United States Government abandoned the Yucca Mountain site as a possible waste storage site owing to concerns about the structural integrity.

In addition to this, small volume volcanic eruptions have occurred in the KKNPP site’s vicinity from the year 1998.

3. Studies by Oil and Natural Gas Commission (ONGC), the Geological Survey of India (GSI) and numerous other terrestrial and marine geologists confirm the presence of basaltic intrusions into the crust and the Gulf of Mannar seabed. Their findings tell us that the Gulf of Mannar sea bed has been thinned because of this. Its thickness is a mere 1,000 to 5,000 metres instead of average 40,000 metres for continental crust.

4. Scientists from various national institutes have published as late as 2010 that the crustal thickness of Koodankulam site is much thinner than the Gulf of Mannar Crust because of similar sub-volcanic intrusions. Ground Magnetic Surveys conducted by them have suggested that the Crustal thickness is a mere 150 to 200 metres at Koodankulam site.

5. The entire Koodankulam region is known for its lime stone formations. Lime stone formations are known to the formation of Sink holes and underground caves. Events that occurred on November 26, 2011 at Pannaiyarkulam, in 2008 at Radhapuram (both located 10 kms from the KKNPP site), and in 1998 at Maruthankulam (25kms from the KKNPP site) have suggested that this is a “KARST” Region. AERB’s safety laws clearly state that if a Karst region is suspected a detailed study has to be conducted. Such a study has not been attempted by the NPCIL.

6. During the 2004 tsunami the withdrawal of the sea was around 4-5 Kms from the shore. Every year after this tsunami, the some places of the coast of Tamil Nadu have faced the issue of sea water withdrawal at least 3 times a year. Tsunami hazard manual released by the USNRC in March 2009 states that if sea water withdrawal is an issue at the site then the chances of the reactor going in for a dry intake should be studied thoroughly.

Dry intake can cause damage to the turbines and reactors. Each minute a reactor needs 5,000 cubic-metres of sea water. Hence a detailed volcanic hazard study, tsunami hazard study and a study about the “Karst” Terrain is a must.

7. Another crucial failure of the NPCIL is the fact that the plant has been assured supply of freshwater for merely 36 hours and 25 minutes. The dependence on a single source, namely, the desalination plants, further reduces the reliability of this water source because desalination plants rely on the sea and electricity.

Both can be disrupted by disturbances in electricity supply and cyclones and extreme weather events in the sea along with Jelly fish intrusions. In such a situation, reactors will have to be closed down immediately and they may have just enough water for maintaining the safety systems for only 10 days. The reserve of potable water for the KKNPP Township is sufficient only for 2 days. The seawater intake pipeline of the Minjur desalination plant in Thiruvallur district was uprooted during the Cyclone Nisha in 2008. Repairing the pipeline required engineers from the Netherlands and it took more than 45 days to mend the pipeline.

8. Department of Atomic energy (DAE) funded study by Dr. Manjula Datta has found that the morbidity burden in the proximity villages of Kalpakkam is 400% higher than in distant villages. The diseases include Cancer, mental retardation, thyroid problems, infertility, lumps, stroke, cataract, TB, ulcer and diabetes. Another study conducted by Dr. V. Pugazhendhi et. al. showed that auto immune thyroid disease among women living in upto 40 kms from the Kalpakkam site was significantly higher than those living 500 kms away.

In another study conducted by the same doctor in 2003 among the Kalpakkam employees and family members had shown that the death rate due to Multiple Myloma (a bone marrow cancer) is statistically significant.

Studies based on data supplied by the NPCIL shows that the prevalence of cancer among workers and wives of the BARC (Bhaba Atomic Research Centre) and the TAPS (Tarapur Atomic Power Station) is significantly higher than that found in MAPS (Madras Atomic Power Station).

The first two reactors became critical during the 1960’s and the 1970’s whereas the MAPS came critical during 1984-85. Yet another study shows significant deviation in sex-ratio of children born to employees of the BARC and the TAPS which is indicative of genetic mutations

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