Sena demands Jaitapur plant be shifted out of quake-prone Ratnagiri

  • Sayli Udas Mankikar, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Apr 30, 2015 22:24 IST

The Shiv Sena’s protest against the 9,900 MW Jaitapur nuclear plant failed to make any headway, so now the party is trying a new approach. With the Nepal earthquake as its backdrop, the Sena now says the project should be shifted out of Jaitapur considering it falls under seismic zone 4, making it prone to high-intensity earthquakes.

MP Anil Desai, a Rajya Sabha member, put forth the new argument in Parliament on Wednesday.

He raised a question on the issue of the scale of losses accrued because of natural disasters. The government officially admitted it loses around Rs9.8 billion a year to earthquakes.

Desai said 58.6% of the country, including Ratnagiri, is prone to earthquakes. So why isn’t it talking of shifting the Jaitapur project from Ratnagiri considering such a calamity could lead to a nuclear disaster, he said.

“I clearly asked them that if they are incurring such post-disaster expense in the country in these zones, then imagine the losses that will be incurred in case of an earthquake in Ratnagiri, which falls under a high-intensity seismic zone 4,” Desai said.

Lok Sabha Sena MP Gajanan Kirtikar said while the government was not ready to pay attention to the argument of a potential nuclear disaster and the environment impact the project might have on people, it simply cannot ignore the fact that it is an earthquake-prone zone, especially after what has happened in Nepal. “We might meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi between May 5 and May 8, where we will put forward this aspect, which does not need any scientific proof,” he said.

According to energy department sources, the plant meets the requirements as stipulated in the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board’s code on safety at a nuclear plant site, which calls for a safety area — absence of any capable faults within 5km. Jaitapur, they confirmed has an adequate safety net and does not have any capable faults for more than 25km.

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