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

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.

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.


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
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

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
United Kingdom: If you are a resident of the U.K. you can avail Tax Exemption by donating on  the U.K. wing of The Akshaya Patra Foundation

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

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