Jaitapur EIA Inaccurate on Seismic Risk: Greenpeace

Jaitapur EIA Inaccurate on Seismic Risk: Greenpeace
Leading independent campaigning organisation Greenpeace, citing a research paper, has demanded re-donning the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report on the issue of seismic risk for the Jaitapur Nuclear Power project, saying the assumptions of the study are faulty.

"A paper published in Current Science journal concluded that the proposed Jaitapur nuclear site is not immune to 6-plus magnitude earthquake. The study was conducted by two leading geologists, Roger Bilham and Vinod Guar," Hozefa Merchant, Media Officer of Greenpeace India said.

"It had been claimed in the EIA report that the seismic activity at the Jaitapur site is in zone 3 and not a risk to the proposed nuclear plant," Greenpeace said.

The Paper concludes, "unhappily, however, the apparent seismic quietness of Jaitapur does not mean that a severe earthquake cannot occur there. If stress in the region is sufficiently mature to have brought an existing sub-surface fault close to failure, an earthquake may be imminent."

The paper states that since Jaitapur lies in the same compressional stress regime that has been responsible for generating both the Latur and the Koyna earthquakes measuring 6.3 and 6.4 respectively on the Richter scale in the past five decades, it can be argued that a similar sized earthquake could possibly occur directly beneath the power plant.

According to Karuna Raina, Nuclear and Energy Campaigner for Greenpeace India, "the EIA report clearly highlights the lack of consensus on the seismicity of the area. After this report, the government can not claim that the seismicity of the area is a sorted issue. The environmental clearance based on wrong data should be scrapped and the process taken up in light of the scientific views available now."

"The methodology used to determine the maximum strength of an earthquake at the site relies on patchy geological data covering only the past two centuries.

"Lack of recent earthquakes during that period can be an indication of higher, just as well as lower, earthquake risk in the future, as major earthquakes at any given quake-prone location in the region occur at intervals of millennia rather than centuries," Raina said.

Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project is a proposed 9900 MW power project of the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) at Madban village of Ratnagiri district in coastal Maharashtra.
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