92 quakes in 20 yrs: Is Jaitapur safe?
Mumbai: With Japan struggling to contain radiation leak from its stricken Fukushima nuclear plant, which was last Friday hit by a massive earthquake and a subsequent tsunami, fears have risen in Maharashtra over the Jaitapur nuke plant which India is planning to build in collaboration with France –dubbed as one of the biggest in the world.
The local sentiment is already against the proposed Jaitapur facility and the area has seen massive tribal protests in the recent past. With the news of developments in Japan reaching the villages in and around the area, residents have stepped up their ante against the nuclear plant which will generate 9,900 MW of electricity.
According to a report in a leading daily, Jaitapur falls under the Seismic Zone 3 category. Data collated by the Geological Survey of India shows the area experienced as many as 92 earthquakes between 1985 and 2005, with the biggest of them recorded as 6.2 on the Richter scale in 1993.
Geologists and activists, who claim the ground in Jaitapur is unstable, say they are pretty unsure about the government's capability to safeguard the people and ecologically sensitive Konkan coast should there be a nuclear disaster triggered by an earthquake.
Union Environment and Forests Minister Jairam Ramesh meanwhile said the nuclear crisis in Japan is a wake-up call for India and everyone else, adding additional safety measures would be specified for the Jaitapur nuclear power project.
Ramesh’s assurance came even as Greenpeace yesterday said that Germany’s Commerzbank has pulled out of the Jaitapur project citing 'sustainability and reputational risk'. The decision was made prior to the Japan disaster, it said.