Citizens' Issues
Widespread support for CAG findings on nuclear technology from activists

It is imperative to ensure the safety of nuclear facilities in India, and the welfare of the people residing in the immediate vicinity of nuclear installations, emphasises Dr EAS Sarma, former Union Power Secretary, Government of India

Following the Comptroller and Auditor General of India’s (CAG) audit performance of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB), some startling facts have emerged about how the Department of Atomic Energy will be ensuring the safety of nuclear facilities in India, and the welfare of the people residing in the immediate vicinity of nuclear installations, according to Dr EAS Sarma, former Union Power Secretary, Government of India, in an article published on Dialogues and Resources on Nuclear Nature and Society ( He has added that the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) is underplaying the safety concerns and is projecting the mythical virtues of nuclear technology as though it is infallible.


DiaNuke has added a word of caution from prime minister Manmohan Singh whereby those who have favoured nuclear technology development belong to the ‘thinking’ section of the society. Also, in reference to the safety audits conducted at the existing nuclear facilities in the past, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) assured the public on 26 April 2012 that “action taken on previous safety reviews will be put in the public domain.” DAE is yet to do so.


The CAG report has highlighted the following points:

  • AERB has been created as an authority subordinated to DAE, which means the regulator is controlled by the regulated.
  • AERB enjoyed only such powers that DAE thought it fit to grant it. Even in cases of infringement of safety requirements, the penalties under the Atomic Energy Act are too lenient to serve as deterrents.
  • AERB had neither any role in deciding the quantum of the penalties nor in enforcing them.
  • AERB had no role in radiological surveillance of nuclear power plants and in monitoring the health of the workers in the plants.
  • The regulator had no inventory of radiation sources in the country and missing radioactive material can get into the hands of anti-social groups.
  • There are serious gaps in emergency preparedness at the nuclear power plants.
  • There is a need for an elaborate legislative framework within which aging nuclear power plants can be decommissioned.
  • The regulatory practices of AERB have not been subject to periodical peer reviews by independent professionals, both domestic and external.
  • There is a need for an independent regulatory authority for ensuring the safety of the activities in the nuclear installations and consequently, the DAE has come up with Nuclear Safety Regulatory Authority (NSRA) Bill to be enacted by Parliament.


Even the NSRA Bill is not a final solution, as Section 21 of the Bill is bizarre. It reads as “the Authority, while discharging its powers and functions, shall not act against the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the state, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality.” According to Mr Sarma, apparently, in its present form, the NSRA Bill will create a regulator who will be as ineffective and powerless as its previous avatar of AERB.


A statement from an anti-nuclear group said, “The obsession with GDP and growth has been behind the plans to expand eco-destructive energy projects—be it nuclear, huge coal-based plants or large dams. An alternative model of development has to be evolved to deal with the present crisis, rather than going for dangerous illusions like pursuing nuclear power. People are resisting these projects which stand to threaten their lives and livelihoods.”


The jury members including social activist Aruna Roy, member of the National Advisory Committee, former Navy chief Admiral L Ramdas, and KS Subrahmaniam heard testimonies of people, who are part of the grassroots movements at sites where nuclear plants were coming up, on 22-23 August 2012 in New Delhi. Nuclear plants are coming up in Kudankulam (Tamil Nadu), Jaitapur (Maharashtra), Chutka (Madhya Pradesh), Gorakhpur (Haryana), Banswada (Rajasthan), and Rawatbhata (Rajasthan).


National Advisory Council member Aruna Roy said in a statement, “Place for dissent is shrinking in our country which is evident in Kudankulam, where non-violent protests are being seen as intolerable by the Indian government.” This was after her visit to Kudankulam nuclear project site in Tamil Nadu.



Resham Thakur

4 years ago

The Indian nuclear power plant projects are the biggest scams of the century, the corrupt politicians, bureaucrats & businessmen are playing havoc with our environment & lives. We have to say absolute NO to Existing & forthcoming nuke power plants in India, all developed western countries like France, Germany & others are switching over to eco-friendly solar power. India is blessed with 365 days of bright sun shine, it's high time we force our corrupt & rogue politicians to cancel the forthcoming nuke power plant projects & switch over to solar power immediately. Plz support the people's anti-nuke agitations all over India. Jai Hind !

Brazil court supports consumers’ resistance to GMO in food items

“It appears another victory has been declared in the battle against Monsanto and GMO ingredients,” comments Nation of Change  

A Brazilian court has demanded that multi-billion dollar food giant Nestle label all of its products as genetically modified that have over 1% GMO (genetically modified organisms) content. The ruling reportedly coincides with Brazilian law which demands all food manufacturers alert consumers to the presence of GMOs within their products. This has been reported by Anthony Gucciardi, Nation of Change, which is a non-profit organisation with the motto of progressive journalism for positive action.
Mr Gucciardi reports that instead of grovelling to Brazilian officials and mega biotechnology groups, the Brazilian business wire reports that the court determined the Brazilian government to be illegally working with the food industry entity known as ABIA. Furthermore, the court stated that consumers have the basic right to know what they are putting into their mouths especially when it comes to GMO ingredients.
“It appears another victory has been declared in the battle against Monsanto and GMO ingredients,” comments Anthony Gucciardi, Nation of Change. This confirms the long-standing consumers’ resistance and that of activists to GM ingredients in food in India and abroad, the latest being Brazil.
The Brazilian court issued a fine of $2,478 per product that was found to violate the ruling after finding the presence of GMO ingredients in Nestle’s strawberry Bono cookies, according to Nation of Change.
The injunction also requires that the information on the label must contain the graphic sign designating GM food (a ‘T’ in lowercase, inserted in a triangle with yellow background), accompanied by the term ‘transgenic’, as reported by Jornal DCI, Sao Paulo. The injunction was given in the civil action filed by the Public Prosecutor of Sao Paulo (SP-MP). The analysis found genetically modified products in the composition of ‘Bono’ cookies, strawberry flavour, manufactured and marketed by Nestle. Although more than half of the soyabean used in manufacturing the biscuit are transgenic, this is not declared on the product packaging, as was determined in the civil investigation.
According to Natural Society, where the same activist has written a year ago, in an act of defiance against bloated biotech companies like Monsanto, Peru has officially passed a law banning genetically modified ingredients within the nation for a period of 10 years. Peru’s Plenary Session of the Congress made the decision despite previous governmental pushes for GM legalization. Anibal Huerta, President of Peru’s Agrarian Commission, said the ban was needed to prevent the danger that can arise from the use of biotechnology.
While writing in Natural Society, earlier this year, Mr Gucciardi has commented that in the United States, the government continues to ignore and deny the concerns surrounding genetically modified crops and ingredients, instead streamlining the approval process for Monsanto’s new modified creations.
The safety of GMOs in the food chain has been questioned by environmental groups, with concerns such as the possibilities that GMOs could introduce new allergens into foods, or contribute to the spread of antibiotic resistance. The battle against genetically modified seed companies like Monsanto is continuing and is watched by avid journalists and activists alike. 


SEBI to prefer PSU banks for deposit of surplus funds

SEBI's Committee of Executive Directors felt that the investment of funds should be guided by consideration of return balanced with safety of funds rather than sole criterion of highest return

New Delhi: Capital market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has decided to park its surplus funds in fixed deposits of public sector banks, even if the returns offered by them are lower than that of private banks by up to 10 basis points or 0.1%, reports PTI.


The current investment policy of SEBI is guided by the sole criteria of highest return, but it has been now proposed to change to the consideration of return as well as 'safety of funds'.


SEBI's board discussed the matter at its last meeting, after its Committee of Executive Directors (CoED) recommended a change in the regulator's investment policy to this effect, a senior official said.


SEBI's Audit Committee has also agreed with the CoED recommendations in this regard.


The surplus funds available with SEBI are invested as per its approved policy guidelines for investment, which have been in place since April 2009.


Presently, investment of surplus funds of SEBI is made in fixed deposits (FDs) after inviting competitive quotes from PSU banks and approved private sector banks and institutions.


These investments are subject to certain exposure limits and are made with the banks offering highest quote for the desired tenure.


The exposure limit is 20% for a PSU bank and 10% for approved private banks or institutions. The private entities approved by SEBI for such investments are ICICI Bank, Axis Bank and HDFC Bank/HDFC Ltd. The exposure limit of 10% is considered cumulative for HDFC Bank and HDFC Ltd.


Each investment proposal is approved by the CoED, which after its recent discussions felt that the investment of funds should be guided by consideration of return balanced with safety of funds rather than sole criterion of highest return.


Accordingly, the CoED recommended that the funds may be invested in fixed deposits with a public sector bank, even if its quote is lower by not more than 10 basis points, as compared with the highest of the quotes offered by any of the approved private sector entities.


The Audit Committee has also expressed its views that SEBI might continue with the present policy of making investment with ICICI Bank, Axis Bank and HDFC Bank/HDFC Ltd, subject to the present exposure limits.


SEBI's funds comprise of fees and penalties collected by the regulator from various market entities and listed firms.


As per SEBI's budget estimates, its overall accounts had a surplus (of income over expenses) of Rs104.31 crore for 2011-12.


Its total revenue for the fiscal ended 31 March 2011 is estimated at about Rs338 crore and net surplus after various expenses at about Rs180 crore. The regulator's fee income alone that year stood at about Rs200 crore.


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