New Delhi: Equipped with BHEL-supplied sets, the MW Unit 1 at the indigenously developed Kaiga Atomic Power Station (KAPS) of NPCIL. The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) has permitted the Kaiga Atomic Power Station (KAPS) to keep its first plant functional. In a major achievement in India’s nuclear power programme, Unit-1 of Kaiga Generating Station (KGS-1) has created a world record of
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This article from describes the planning stages of, and opposition laiga, the Kaiga Nuclear Atomic Power Station in Karnataka, India. The plant was eventually built in spite of the problems described below.
The first three units went critical inand a fourth was switched on in Two additional reactors are planned for the site, to be opened in This is the first digitized version of the article by Praful Bidwai that first appeared in print in Such a thing was of course wholly unprecedented: Rather it was focused more narrowly on two issues.
The first related to a dispute over the interpretation of an earlier clearance granted by the DOEn to the two proposed reactors, as distinct from the project as a whole, which includes, besides reactors, several auxiliary facilities and an entire new township complete with a housing colony, schools, markets and banks, and pplant with approach roads and civic infrastructure.
The DAE interpreted the clearance of the reactors as being synonymous with approval of the project as a whole, although there is a substantial difference between the two. The DAE wanted to site the colony, occupying over acres of land, on top of a hill about 30 km away from the plant, rather than at Mallapur village adjacent to it. They argued that locating the housing complex so far away could make no sense in simple operational terms, especially in case of an emergency at the plant.
But even more interestingly, Ramanna urged that the prestigious project demanded an equally special, indeed unique, site for the colony, even if that meant the wanton destruction of hundreds of thousands of trees, cutting up a lush-green hill and exposing a reserved virgin forest to encroachment by contractors.
Hence, they must be given the best, the most spectacular, location with a panoramic view of the entire Kaiga valley. They deserved a new hill station. Besides, siting the housing colony on the hilltop would obviate the need for air conditioners.
The DOEn, for its part, conceded that the potential benefit from the project to a certain extent justifies its environmental cost in the form of destruction of the rainforest; but it argued that the destruction ought to be limited by siting the housing colony at Mallapur. It also maintained that the clearance granted earlier to the two reactors was not tantamount to approval for the colony and approach roads as well; and it pointed out that the DAE had not even bothered to submit a complete proposal before announcing that it was going ahead with the project, starting, inevitably, with the housing colony.
As the battle raged on, the prime minister himself told the Lok Sabha on November 12 that the center had not till then taken a decision on the location of an atomic plant in Karnataka. Meanwhile, pressure mounted on the DAE to give up the hill station plan and agree to locate the housing colony at Mallapur. The DOEn in turn dropped its objections and cleared the project.
The trade-off, however lopsided it might have been, was completed. The whole episode not only highlights the arrogant posture of the DAE—a characteristic of the department which has always resisted scrutiny by any other agency. It also exposes the sloppy nature of the system of environmental impact assessment that is prevalent even in respect of projects based on hazardous technologies.
Kaiga is indeed a prime example of a project that should never have been cleared on environmental grounds. There are several persuasive reasons why the project proposal should have been rejected outright.
Plan, the Kaiga valley probably has the last vestiges of a tropical rainforest left in one of the more vulnerable parts of the Western Ghats, themselves among the most gravely threatened ecosystems of the country. It is impossible to regenerate a virgin rainforest; a forest is not just a plantation.
There is thus a strong case for leaving undisturbed a delicate and precariously balanced rainforest-based ecosystem by disallowing all industrial or mining activity in the area. Secondly, the project is located within a 50 km distance from no fewer than six reservoirs on the Plat river; it will itself draw water for final removal of the heat generated in the reactor from the proposed dam to be located next to it. If past experience with reservoirs in the Deccan Plateau region—in particular with the Koyna and Panshet dams and the disasters that befell them—is any guide, the Kaiga site must be considered problematic from kaaiga geological point of view.
There is another northeast-southwest trending fault passing through the Tungabhadra river kaigx close to Raichur; this is also within 70 km of the site. And yet another northeast-southwest trending fault, postulated by the Geological Survey of India, which runs up to the Tungabhadra dam and curves down towards Nagarjunasagar is only 60 km southeast of Kaiga.
In addition, there are four other faults which lie within 25 km to km of the Kaiga plant site. It is postulated that the Koyna fault which lies km northwest of Kaiga is an extension of the Western Ghats fault. Besides there are several clusters of earthquake epicenters close to Kaiga with magnitudes going up to 5 on the Richter scale. Fourthly, as if this were not bad enough, the Kaiga site is less than 30 km, as the crow flies, from the massive naval base coming up at Karwar. Thus, the plant is potentially an important military target in the event of war.
It needs no deep analysis to predict what the dropping of a few small conventional bombs on the Kaiga reactors would achieve; it would precipitate a disaster much worse than the Chernobyl catastrophe, poisoning vast stretches of land and contaminating the air, water and the food chain with dangerous radionuclides.
There are three components to this: Along with serious nuclear accidents all over the world, Three Mile Island and Chernobyl have shown that no reactor design anywhere in the world is acceptably or reasonably safe.
It has also become kaigw that the prevalent designs have all matured, i. It is precisely on account of such considerations that a popular movement to resist the Kaiga project has now arisen in Karnataka.
At least three organisations have emerged in the state which have been campaigning against the Kaiga project. These groups appear to have struck roots among the local kaiha One would have hoped that the government, in particular the DOEn, might at least in token recognition of and in the wake of the Chernobyl catastrophe take their arguments into consideration before clearing the project.
Certainly, with such a strong case against it, Kaiga at least deserved a wide public debate, if not a sustained public hearing on the question of nuclear safety and the location of atomic power stations. But that was not to be. Clearly, the DAE has once again had its way, this time at the expense of the people of Karnataka and at the cost of the safety of millions who live in the Deccan powfr close to it. Please feel free to use any original content from DiaNuke. The Kaiga Story Tweet.
Expansion of Kaiga Nuclear Plant in Karnataka: Nuclear Expansion in Kaiga: Is India Ready for the Risk? Radiation and Environmental Risks Ignored in Kaiga: