It is “absurd” that there is no geological data on seismicity or fault lines in the Jaitapur region because that must be taken into account while building the proposed nuclear power plant, said professor Roger Bilham, geologist at the University of Colorado, on Thursday.
“Geological data of a specific region should be available in the public domain to interpret seismicity in the region. The geological data of the region either may not exist or someone may want to cover it up,” said Bilham, who has co-authored a paper on seismicity in Jaitapur.
Bilham and geologist Vinod Gaur of the Bangalore-based Centre for Mathematical Modelling and Computer Simulation affiliated to the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research studied the seismic threat in the region where Jaitapur Nuclear Power Plant in Ratnagiri will come up.
Their research paper, ‘Historical and future seismicity near Jaitapur’, was published in a peer-reviewed journal, Current Science, last November. The duo concluded that the possibility of an earthquake of a magnitude higher than six on the Richter scale could not be ruled out for the region. The conclusion was based on the seismic records provided by agencies such as the Indian Atomic Energy Commission and the US Geological Survey.
“A seismic reflection line study must be done both offshore and onshore using sound waves 20km deep to check for fault lines. I suspect a proper geological study has not been done,” Bilham added.
Though Jaitapur has no record of local seismicity in the last century, the site is located 110 km from the epicentre of the 1967 Koyna earthquake.
The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) that builds and operates nuclear plants across the country has maintained that the Jaitapur plant site falls under seismic Zone III and hence there is no threat of an earthquake or a tsunami. Officials at NPCIL said that data for 1000 years has been analysed from three agencies on the seismicity.