The findings of the Department of Atomic Energy report, which details 12 faults and lineaments in and around the Jaitapur Nuclear Power Plant (JNPP), raise safety concerns about the project and must be taken seriously, said geologists.
A lineament is a geological feature that can turn out to be a faultline, a crack or even a fissure and shows the landscape's vulnerability to tremors.
A lineament mentioned in the report cuts across the Madban plateau, the site of the project. Experts said the features of this beg serious consideration as it runs parallel to the west coast fault line. "If, according to the DAE report, the Madban plateau trends in the north northwest - south southeast direction, then its features are similar to the deep seated west coast fault line," said Professor MK Prabhu, a former government geologist who investigated the 1993 Latur quake.
The 2002 DAE report also enlists 11 other locations where lineaments and fault lines exist around the plant site. The report says: "a lineament in east northeast - west southwest direction lies at a distance of 10 km and follows the course of the Vagothan River for some distance."
With regard to this, Prabhu said: "The Vagothan lineament, said to be associated with the Rajapur hot springs, is also quite close to the project. Historically, the Madban plateau and surrounding areas have been home to faults and lineaments."
In its official response to the report findings, the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) said the lineaments had been studied and were not found to be capable faults. However, it did not specifically talk about the minor faults that exist on the Madban plateau, as mentioned in the report.
The Jaitapur nuclear project has met with opposition from locals and activists regarding the safety of the plant from tremors and earthquakes, particularly in the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.