Mr. Jairam Ramesh,
Minister for Environment and Forests,
Government of India
Sub: Uranium Mining and Nuclear Power
It was a great pleasure to meet an approachable Minister like you. We are very happy that you have taken time to listen to what people had to say.
At the outset, we would like to say, "No to Uranium Mining in Nalgonda and Tummalapalle and anywhere else. No to Nuclear Power."
In our discussion regarding the above, on 6th June, 2009, we had four major contentious issues which were raised by you:
First – You said that we had a rich deposit of Uranium in AP. I wish to differ with that claim, since the quality of ore in Andhra Pradesh is very poor, i.e., is only 0.045% which means hardly one ton of usable uranium from 3000 tons ore processed every day. The only thing that will be left after 300 days of operation per year and 30 years of mining and processing, is a mind boggling, 2 Crores and Seventy lakh (27 million) tons of Radioactive Wastes in just one mine which will contaminate the only water source for six districts including twin cities, in terms of irrigation and drinking. While in Tummalapalle the quality of ore is even lower.
Second – You said that with renewable energy like Solar and Wind power we cannot generate large amounts of power like 10, 000 MW, which will only be possible by using Nuclear Power Generation. However, as I had already mentioned, Nuclear Power generated in India with total installed capacity of about 4,000 MW, has only been about 2.8% of the total energy used in India. This is less than the present electricity being generated by Wind Mills alone. Together Solar and Wind power today generate about 14% of the total energy used in India.
Even with the projection of 50,000 MW (as envisaged by Dr. Abdul Kalam) for the year 2030, it will only be 12.5% of the total projected energy use of India for year 2030 which is 4, 00, 000 MW. As per one estimate, the entire accessible uranium in India is just enough to produce 10.000 MW!
So, in what way is Nuclear Energy the answer to India's Energy security?
You might say "that is why we have signed the Indo-US Nuclear Deal". If we have to depend up on outside resources for our energy requirements, in what way can we say we are "energy secure"? Considering that all will be well and we will have unconditional access to Uranium from all over the world, here is a fact to be considered:
"If the current level of nuclear energy production is maintained, it is estimated that all (currently and future) accessible uranium would be dug up in next 50 years. The present share of nuclear energy in the total global energy consumption is just 2.7%, with 442 nuclear power plants worldwide. China has been forecasting the construction of numerous nuclear power plants over the last 25 years but so far, it has only built eleven out of which three are very small."
And if production does increase then these deposits of Uranium may not even last up to 50 years.
Therefore, even globally, Nuclear Energy is not a viable option.
Why must we spend such huge amounts of tax payers' money to generate such a small amount of energy?
Third – With reference to Radioactive Wastes, you had said that in India all precautions are being taken to safely dispose of the wastes and you had very kindly invited us to view the facilities in Jharkhand. We would very much like to see the facilities and like to educate ourselves on this matter.
However, as per our knowledge and repeated press reports in national and international press like BBC, and noted universities like Kyoto University (Japan) it is well known that UCIL and other Nuclear establishments working under the DAE are not following any environmental and people safety precautions. They have no disaster preparedness plan, which should be in public domain. So far they have not seemed to share information with regard to radiological hazards with the public living in the surrounding areas (Which is mandatory). The incidents and accidents taking place in all these installations are always brushed aside as "DAE's policy is to deny such incidents", which as informed public we are not ready to accept. Before launching any new activities, DAE should learn to be more transparent and gain public good will.
These are but a few points in support of our argument to Say No to Nuclear Power.
There are many more, but would not like to take any more of your precious time. If given time as you had mentioned, we will be able to present all our arguments to you. Once again, we wish to thank you for initiating this democratic process of dialogue.
With a hope that you will consider the safety of current and future generations,
Movement Against Uranium Projects, Andhra Pradesh.
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