Capt J Rama Rao's Blog

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Myth of Nuclear Power



The former Chairman of NFC Dr. N Saibaba is reported to have stated that “Nuclear Energy is not at all Expensive. It is Safe and Green Energy”, to dispel the view that Nuclear Energy is dangerous. This seems to be distortion of facts amounting to misleading  the Public. 

Not Safe

The fact that the process of fissioning uranium in Nuclear Power Reactors (NPRs) creates more than 200 new man-made radioactive elements, some of which remain radioactive for millions of years, is a well established scientific finding. It is also a well established fact that these diabolical elements, once created, will inevitably find their way into the environment and will eventually enter the reproductive organs of plants, animals and humans. They will mutate the genes in reproductive cells to cause disease and death in the immediate generation or pass a hidden genetic disease to distant offspring down the time track.
Nuclear Power Reactor accidents induced by human error/ fallibility or due to natural calamities cannot be ruled out, as evidenced by melt-down of Three Mile Island Reactor in the United States, a massive power excursion erupted at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in former Soviet Union  and the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant disaster due to Tsunami in Japan as recent as March 2011. The possible threat of terrorist attacks, similar to the one on WTC Towers in New York, on Nuclear Power Reactors cannot be ruled out, by any stretch of imagination.
Each stage of Uranium processing and use creates large amounts of radioactive waste/materials, some of which having half-life up to 4.5 billion years. The problem of permanent storage and safe-disposal of highly radioactive nuclear waste / material is currently practically unresolved.

Not Cheap

The Nuclear Industry way back, proclaimed that nuclear power would provide an endless supply of electricity that would be good for environment and “too cheap to meter” which is no where near the present day reality. Taking into account the economic costs of Nuclear Power -all costs incurred by the Society during the entire Nuclear Fuel life-cycle- the Solar Power may prove to be cheaper even today.

The cost of the Six Westinghouse AP 1000 Reactors, now under consideration for Kovvada Nuclear Power Project in Srikakulam District of AP State, is estimated to be in the region of a whopping Rs. 2.8 lakh Crore! The cost of such nuclear power would be about Rs.12-14 per unit (KWh), or about three to four times that from coal fired plants, and far higher than the Wind and Solar power costs.

Not Green / Clean

In fact, the vast hidden infrastructure necessary to cater for the entire nuclear fuel life-cycle-- from uranium mining to decommissioning of NPRs & safe disposal/storage of nuclear waste-- is a prodigious user of fossil fuels, which actually releases a large amount of carbon dioxide and as well as other global warming gases, although nuclear power plant by itself releases no carbon dioxide.

         Electricity is but the fleeting byproduct from Nuclear Power.
              The actual  product is forever deadly radioactive waste.”

            Nuclear Power--A Very Expensive, Sophisticated and
                               Dangerous Way  to Boil Water”

Myth of SRDP - Reduction of CO2




The proposed Strategic Road Development Project (SRDP) around KBR Park at an exorbitant cost, is being justified by guestimated reduction of CO2 Emissions. According to the Study, reported to have been conducted by concerned Authorities regarding Road Transportation system in Hyderabad City, around 2.5 lakh vehicles are reported to be at the Jubilee Hills Check Post Junction per day, emitting around 107.92 Tonnes of CO2. The Study also reported to have estimated that number of Vehicles is likely to go up to 5.5 Lakhs by 2035 emitting around 456.19 Tonnes of CO2.

Based on the Study, the authenticity of which is not known, State Govt. is reported to have planned construction of Flyovers / Sky-Ways at 6 junctions around KBR Park, with the object of limiting CO2 emissions to 121.01 Tonnes of CO2 by 2035, apart from easing traffic bottle necks. It is also claimed to save 40.59 Crore Ltrs of Fuel by providing Signal-Free Traffic, during the next 20 years

SRDP is Supply Side Management

The Flyovers/SRDP are only “Supply Side Management” of the Traffic, which will have snowball effect on traffic problems / air Pollution. The benefits will not be commensurate with the expenditure /environmental impact involved. As it has proved to be in Hyderabad and Delhi, with building of flyovers /sky-ways by sacrificing the green cover, more and more vehicles are added contributing to more traffic congestion / problems and more air pollution.
The reduced use of public transportation proves that addition in road space is quickly occupied by the increasing vehicular growth and induced travel behaviour In a time when it is extremely easy to own a car. SRDP may prove to be an expensive short term relief , if any.
 
We Need Demand Side Management

What we need is “Transport Demand Side Management”, so as to suppress volume of Vehicular Traffic on the roads by providing an efficient Mass Transport System and scientific Urban Planning & Development to suppress intra-city commuting. As highlighted in the Vision Document for “Car Free Thursday Initiative” prepared by “Gear Change”, the problem of traffic congestion is not unique to Hyderabad or just India.

In the later part of the 20th century, Cities attempted addressing this by widening roads and building flyovers. However, they soon realized the effect of “induced demand”. Researchers have found a one-to-one relationship between road capacity and amount of traffic, which means that a 20% addition to roads results in a corresponding increase of 20% or more in traffic.

Way Out
As suggested in Vision Document of “Gear Change” certain strategies are to be adopted for “Travel Demand Management”(TDM), by encouraging individuals to alter their Travel Behaviour. Some of them are:

a) “High Parking Fee” representing the value of land occupied will bring down the number of vehicles in use. Case studies of London, Mumbai.

b) “Parking Space Reduction” in Residential, Commercial etc areas is another strategy to be adopted. Case studies of Brooklyn-NewYork State, Tokyo,Vancouver etc

c) Re Purposing Road Space is another strategy to bring down congestion. New York City has implemented multiple road re purposing solutions including converting an 8 lane road into just 3 lanes for cars. Indore BRTS Bus.
All these measures involve No / Low Cost, with Short gestation& High Impact.

Technological Innovations
 
Before investing huge sums in developing massive infrastructure, we should take into account the technological advances in the offing. Within next 10 years or so, we may not need to own a Car, as it can be called on Phone to any location and driven to the destination. It will change the Cities, because we will need less cars and less parking space. We can transform former parking spaces into Parks. Auto mobile Pollution may go into history with introduction of Electric Cars (Tesla).
 
Kodak, which had 170,000 employees and sold 85% of all photo paper worldwide in 1998, got bankrupt and disappeared within just a few years. Did we think in 1998 that 3 years later, we would never take pictures on paper film again?

Can we think and plan Traffic Infrastructure required in 2035, taking into account the likely technological advances ?
                                                                                      **********

SRDP around KBR Park repetition of Flyovers Blunder of 1996

FLYOVER PROJECT of 1996
 
The administrative & financial approval for construction of 16 flyovers, at an estimated cost of around Rs 125 Crores was cleared by State Govt., in a hurry and then the Chief Minister laid the foundation stones for four flyovers on March 12, 1996. The flyovers built were not based on proper traffic surveys and realistic growth projections; study of land availability, cost effective designs and alignments; environmental impact assessment etc. As a result, the project was unduly delayed, resulting in wasteful expenditure & avoidable hardship to the citizens and finally not providing the required relief to traffic congestion and air pollution.

LIMITATIONS OF FLYOVER PROJECT
 
Many of the flyovers were built, having the right of way around 20 to 24 meters only against the requirement of 28 to 32 meters, limiting the width of the vehicle carriage way and the service roads, imposing many restrictions on free flow of vehicular traffic, defeating the very purpose of flyovers. As the designs were prepared based on traffic census conducted in January 1996, and not based on futuristic and realistic traffic volume projections, these flyovers have now proved to be serious traffic bottlenecks.

Strategic Road Development Project (SRDP) around KBR Park

The Flyovers/SRDP are only “Supply Side Management” of the Traffic, which will have snowball effect on traffic problems / air Pollution. The benefits will not be commensurate with the expenditure /environmental impact involved. As it has proved to be in Hyderabad and Delhi, with building of flyovers /sky-ways by sacrificing the green cover, more and more vehicles are added contributing to more & more traffic congestion/problems and more air pollution.

SRDP is something like loosening the Belt to get relief from Bloating Tummy after Overeating.
What we need is “Demand Side Management”, so as to suppress volume of Vehicular Traffic by providing an efficient Mass Transport System and scientific Urban Planning & Development to suppress intra-city commuting. The pollution checks of automobiles are end of the pipe control measures and what we need are the preventive measures under precautionary principle.

CONCLUSION

As AP High Court observed in W.P Nos.25835/96 &35/97 “the City's Parks & other open spaces are hopelessly inadequate as per the standard in this behalf--.The city is already breathing less than required breath and further depletions, by acts of the state, of the lung spaces of the city will make the breathing more difficult"
" We have taken the view that any conversion of the parks to any other use, would violate the rights under Articles 21 & 14 of the Constitution of India, we unhesitatingly accept the Petitioners' plea that respondents have to be restrained from converting the parks to any other use"
Cutting down 3000 odd Trees in the name of SRDP is nothing but violation of the Right of Hyderabad Citizens for Good Quality of Life – to breathe Adequate Clean Air .

Friday, January 22, 2016

Miracle of Rs.750 !


About Akshaya Patra
The Akshaya Patra Foundation is a non-profit organization , that operates on a Public-Private -Partnership Model. It is the implementing partner of the “Mid-day Meal Scheme” with steady support from Govt.of India, various State Govts.and inestimable support from many Corporates, Philanthropic Donors and Well-Wishers. By implementing the Mid-day Meal Scheme in the Govt. Schools and Govt. Aided Schools, the Akshaya Patra strives to fight issues like Hunger and Malnutrition of impoverished & excluded families of India and also aims to bring Children to Schools under “Right to Education.”
 
The Foundation has grown from humble beginnings in the year 2000, serving just 1,500 children across 5 schools. Today Akshaya Patra is the world’s largest (not-for-profit run) mid-day meal programme serving wholesome food to over 1.4 million children from 10,845 schools across 10 states in India. It aims to accomplish bold goal of feeding 5 million children by 2020.
 
The Foundation is of the belief that there is a dire need for the operations of Akshaya Patra to be replicated so that it realizes the vision that “No child in India shall be deprived of Education because of Hunger.”

What Can We Do ?
 
It takes just Rs. 750 to feed a Child for a Year. Feeding the school children is an excellent cause & dharma. We should become part of this noble effort in service to the society, with passion, dedication and excellence. May the world bear witness of how such amazing things can be done with responsibility to care for people and the environment.
Let us make a beginning by contributing at least Rs. 2,250 to feed 3 Children for a year or multiples of Rs.750.
How to Go About ?

India: We can do On-Line Donation by visiting www.akshayapatra.org
                                                          Or
Send Cheque by Post to: The Akshaya Patra Foundation
                                             #72, 3 rd Floor, 3 rd Main Road, 1 st & 2 nd Stage
                                      Yeshwantpur Industrial Suburbs, Rajajinagar Ward No.10
                                                                  Benguluru-560022

Note:Every donation of Rs. 500 or above to Akshaya Patra is eligible for   
        100% Tax Exemption under section 35 AC or 50% Tax Exemption
         under Section 80 G of the Indian Income Tax.

USA :To donate and receive a 100% Tax Exemption in USA, by accessing www.foodforeducation.org/donate
United Kingdom: If you are a resident of the U.K. you can avail Tax Exemption by donating on www.foodforeducation.org.uk  the U.K. wing of The Akshaya Patra Foundation

                   
Let Us Donate and Help Change the Life of A Child
                                                                 and
   Reach the Goal of Feeding 5 Million Children much before 2020.


               “They Alone Live , Who Live For Others----”
                                                                                      -----Swamy Vivekananda

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Monday, December 28, 2015

Let us avoid “Nuclear Disaster Made in India” at Kovvada


The dangers of “Untested & Expensive Imported Reactors” pointed out in the Article“The Strange Love for Nuclear Energy” by Prof.M.V. Ramana & Prof.Suvrat Raju, published in The Hindu of 17 th December 2015, are highlighted below:

Dangers of Untested Nuclear Reactors

The“ Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactors” (ESBWR) developed by General Electric (GE) in collaboration with Japan's Hitachi are proposed for Kovvada Nuclear Power Project. (KNPP). The same GE, which built the Fukushima Reactors, was considered a “laggard” in the industry even before its reputation was damaged by Fukushima Disaster in 2011.Since then GE struggled to find buyers for its ESBWR design, which was certified by the U S Nuclear Regulatory Commission only in 2014.

These untested and unproven reactors provide no empirical track record of safe operation, in spite of tall claims by the suppliers based on unreliable theoretical grounds. The industry is itself well aware of possibility of devastating accident, as is clear from its constant efforts to alter India's Nuclear Liability Law.

Lessons from Fukushima Nuclear Disaster of Japan

The Fukushima disaster, which has not been contained even after 4 years, continues to remind many Japanese of the dangers of Nuclear Power. Despite a strong push by the Abe Govt., Nuclear Power finds little support in the country. A poll conducted by a Japanese national news paper in 2014, found that 77% of respondents supported a phase-out of Nuclear Power.
 
More than 50 years ago, Japan succumbed to pressure from Nuclear Suppliers and initiated a law to indemnify them. Consequently, when the GE Reactors at Fukushima suffered an accident, in part due to design defect that had been pointed out decades earlier, G E was protected from any claims from victims. The cost of the Clean-up, estimated at about $200 billion, has been born almost entirely by Japanese Tax-Payers.

Expensive Nuclear Power

Apart from being hazardous by way of Nuclear Waste generated and likely disasters caused due to design / equipment failures of unproven imported Nuclear Reactors, the Nuclear Power from Imported Reactors is going to be prohibitively expensive source of electrical energy, because of their astronomical capital costs.

A Reactor that costs $11.6 billions in Europe is likely to lead to a first-year tariff of Rs.19 per unit of electricity, against the range of Rs.4.50 to Rs.5.50 per unit of electricity from Coal & Solar Power. If the real and full cost of insurance against accidents of Nuclear Reactors is included in the price, it is going to be prohibitive.

Nuclear Power from the G. E. Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactors (ESBWR) is a Very Expensive, Sophisticated and Dangerous Way to Boil Water. The “Electricity is but the fleeting byproduct and the actual product is forever deadly Radioactive Waste.”

Does Nuclear Power provide Energy Security?

The projection of huge growth of power generating capacity to 800,000 MW by 2031-32 (about 4 times from the present level), to sustain annual growth rate of 8% to 10% .for the next 20 years, seems to be based on the “Supply Syndrome”, rather than the thrust to improve efficiencies in the Power Sector.

The hollowness of the argument that India needs Nuclear Power for ensuring Energy Security, can be seen from the fact that it hardly contributes to around 2.50% of the present installed capacity, in spite of huge investments in mega centralized Nuclear Power Projects during the last 4 decades or so.

Even assuming that the projected installed capacity of 60,000 MW of Nuclear Power will be achieved by 2031-32, (which, going by the past record, is most unlikely), at huge financial costs under the Myth of Nuclear Safety, it hardly contributes to 7.5% of the projected total installed capacity of 800,000 MW by then, which is no where near providing energy security.

The Nation’s Energy Security depends on efficient use of Energy Services that maximize economic competitiveness and minimize resource depletion, environmental degradation / impacts. The Energy Efficiency / Conservation Measures coupled with distributed and decentralized Renewable Sources of Energy can compensate for more than the proposed Nuclear Power capacity by 2032. It is much cheaper and environment friendly option for Energy Security.

Conclusion

Japan is the unique country which experienced Nuclear Bomb and Nuclear Power Reactor Accident. Both are quite delicate and sensitive to the Japanese Psyche, forcing the Government to respect the public sentiments in respect of Nuclear Power Policy and shutting down all of its Nuclear Power Reactors. Germany, a major consumer of nuclear power, permanently closed 8 of its 17 nuclear reactors following Fukushima; other European countries shelved their Nuclear Plans.

It is time for India to review and reconsider the option of going for Mega  Imported expensive & untested Nuclear Reactors and locating them at places like Kovvada reported to be unsafe, ignoring Safety Precautions and the Public Opinion.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

BRS / VRS & Govt. Lands Sale - Death Knell of Hyderabad



HMDA Master Plan 2031

The Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Plan covering an area of 5965 Sq Kms., notified vide G.O. Ms No 33 dated 24-01-2013, is planned for a time period up to 2031, taking into consideration population of about 184 lakhs, with work force of 65 lakhs. Also taking into account, the present trends of developments, the Inner Ring Road, the Outer Ring Road & Radial Roads, it has proposed a radial-concentric structure of development with new urban nodes and urban centers in all directions to promote balanced development in the Hyderabad Metropolitan Region with a Peri Urban Zone all along the urban area, hierarchy of circulation network to cater to the present and future travel needs of population and activities.
 
Accordingly, Zoning & Development Promotion Regulations are formulated, conducive to balanced, integrated, comprehensive and sustainable development of area in HMDA, so as to provide congenial surroundings and Good Quality of Life, aspired by Urban Population.

As per Zoning Regulations, the following Land Use Zones are classified in the Master Plan:
 
1.Residential (R1 to R4)
2.Peri-Urban
3.Commercial
4.Manufacturing
5.Public, Semi Public Facilities & Utilities
6.Multiple Use
7.Recreation & Open Space & Open Space Buffer around Water Bodies
8. Water Bodies
9. Forest
10. Special Reservation ( Heritage Bldgs.& Precincts, Defence Lands, Bio-
      Conservation & Others reserved for special use)
11. Conservation ( Agriculture)
12. Traffic & Transport ( Roads, Railways , Railway Stations, Bus Stands/
       Stations, Airports and Allied Infrastructure )
 
Note: The Land Use under Water Bodies, Green Buffers around Water
             Bodies, Forests & Bio Conservation is designated as Protected
           and their Land Use Change is not to be permitted.


Metropolitan Planning Committee
 
As per the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signed on 27-3-2006, seeking financial assistance under JNNURM to Municipal Corporation of Hyderabad (MCH), it was agreed to constitute Metropolitan Planning Committee (MPC), vide Article 243- ZE, by March 2008. And also the resolution by State Government, expressing commitment to implement 74 th Amendment Act, was to be passed within 6 months from the date of MOA & copy submitted to MOUD, GOI.

Accordingly, the Urban Areas are to function as institutions of self government in accordance with Article 243 W of the Constitution of India. And also any changes to approved Master Plans prepared by MPC are to be considered and recommended by MPC to the Govt. as per Article 243 ZE.

BRS & LRS Proposals
 
Any unilateral regularization of of Buildings / Layouts undertaken in violation of Zoning & Development Promotion Regulations formulated under notified HMDA Master Plan 2031, amounts to violation of Seventy-Fourth Amendment Act of 1992 and MOA signed under JNNURM.
 
In particular, Building Regularization Scheme (BRS) & Layout Regularization Scheme (LRS) approvals in Water Bodies, Green Buffers around Water Bodies, Forests & Bio Conservation Areas, designated as Protected and whose Land use cannot be changed, may amount to be a Criminal Offense. In this connection, the Chennai High Court order holding “TN Govt responsible for flooding &deaths, as it let Land Sharks Swallow Water Bodies” is relevant.
 
As per Press Reports , Telangana Govt is reported to have relaxed Rules- Minimum Setbacks & Height -for issuing No Objection Certificate (NOC) for Buildings by the Fire Services Department while regularizing unauthorized buildings under BRS. This is nothing but bending backwards to help/accommodate Owners & Builders of Illegal Structures in violation of National Building Code, Fire Safety & Prevention Rules, Norms of State Disaster Response etc, which may prove to be disastrous to public safety. Where is the Accountability ?

Sale of Govt Land
 
As HMDA Master Plan 2031 is prepared for estimated population of 184 lakhs by 2031, there is going to be tremendous pressure on land-use and the traffic for intra urban travel. The Implementer of Master Plan will have to give importance and priority for preservation and protection of natural resources such as Water Bodies, Forests, Parks, Hillocks, Open Spaces, Heritage Bldgs, & Precincts , with out treating Urban Land as a Commodity as it is being done all these years.

Protected Areas
 
The sale of Land, covered under Water Bodies, Green Buffers around Water Bodies, Forests, Bio Conservation, which are designated as Protected should be treated beyond the scope of any future Land transactions as it amounts to selling Environment / Future, in violation of provisions of Articles 48-A and 51-A (g).

Conservation Area ( Agriculture )

The area covered under Agriculture in HMDA area has already come down drastically, because of rapid urban growth around Hyderabad during the last 2 decades or so. This contributed to micro-climatic changes having adverse impact on Quality of Life and shortage of Vegetables, Fruits , Flowers etc grown in the vicinity.

Traffic & Transport Area

The City which is already experiencing serious traffic bottle necks resulting in, far too many Road Accidents, serious Air Pollution etc, cannot afford to loose, any area earmarked for meeting the growing traffic & transport needs up to 2031.

Public, Semi Public Facilities & Utilities
 
As it is, there is acute shortage of Public Schools, Social & Welfare Centers, Group Housing Facilities, Public Utility Bldgs, Water Supply, Drainage & Sewage Systems, Other Services, Night Shelters etc. As the requirement is going to be multiplied to cater for the growing needs, any reduction of already earmarked area, is bound to have serious adverse impacts on the delivery of essential Public facilities, utilities & services.
Recreation & Open Space
 
The A.P. High Court in its landmark judgment on WRIT PETITIONS W.P. Nos.25835/96 and 35/97,observed "None of the respondents have been able to dispute the averment on behalf of the Petitioners and interveners that the City's Parks and other Open Spaces are hopelessly inadequate as per the standard in this behalf ……The city is already breathing less than required breath and further depletions, by acts of the state, of the lung spaces of the city will make the breathing more difficult" (Pages 51 - 52).

"Since we have found that the respondents have acted in violation of the fundamental rights of the Petitioners and others similarly situated and we have taken the view that any conversion of the parks to any other use, would violate the rights under Articles 21 and 14 of the Constitution of India, we unhesitatingly accept the Petitioners' plea that respondents have to be restrained from converting the parks to any other use" (Page 59).

"Whatever little scope was available to argue that the Government of the State represent the sovereign and retained thus its eminent domain in deciding in respect of the use of a public place one way or the other is taken away by the Constitution (Seventy-Fourth Amendment) Act, 1992 and Article 243W(a) therein read with the list in the Twelfth Schedule" (Page 49).
 
Conclusion

In the light of the facts stated in the preceding paragraphs, the State Govt should not be permitted, to unilaterally change the specified Land Use and/or dispose off Govt. Lands, with the sole object of mobilizing the required funds to meet present day requirements. It amounts to treating the precious Urban Land as a Commodity and Depriving the Future Generations, just to cater for the present, without fully evaluating and assessing the long term Environmental, Social and Economic implications.
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