Monday, April 4, 2011

New Nuclear Plants To Help Geological And Ecological Mapping In India

At a press conference in Delhi last Friday, the Honorable Minister of Forest and Environment Mr. Rairam Jamesh announced that the country will see a strategic shift in its approach to geological and ecological mapping. Our scientists he said have mapped the geology and ecology on a regional scale. Now, we want more detailed finer resolution maps. For that we have come up with a novel method.

Take for example earthquakes. The recent events in Japan has helped us see the bigger picture in terms of the relationship between nuclear power plants and earthquake risk he said. We've done a survey of all our current and some future nuclear plants and realized that at all these sites detailed mapping revealed previously unknown faults. As a result, all these sites now fall in a higher earthquake risk zone than previously thought. Its incredible.. you site a nuclear plant and you will find a new fault.

he continued... The correlation is very strong and we intend to put it to use for making detailed geological maps of the country. We propose tens of new nuclear plants in areas where the geology is not that well known. Once the sites are approved and construction begins we are confident that we will find new faults, enabling us to upgrade our seismic risk zonation map the Minister said.

Asked how the process will work the Minister explained-

Our experience tell us that once construction starts, civic society gets nervous and begins to take a keen interest in the occurring and future collateral damage that is inevitable at these sites. The first Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report is critically evaluated and shown to be not adequate.

This will force us to order another more rigorous examination of the site. It is at this stage that the new study will reveal what was missed in the first report. New geological features will be discovered and a more thorough understanding of the earthquakes risks will be achieved.

So, the first EIA is absolutely crucial to this strategy he stressed.

The report's sloppy science is what galvanizes the second detailed study. And the first EIA also serves a secondary purpose of generating employment. Traditionally, for this first report, we hire consultants who otherwise won't find employment anywhere else.

This is the spin of the project the Minister said.

You mean this is the spin-off generated by the project, asked a reporter.

Yes exactly, the Minister agreed.

The Minister then expanded on the plan. We won't restrict this new strategy to just nuclear plants. There are plans to start construction of new coal powered thermal plants in scenic, picturesque and forested areas in the hope that we make new discoveries about the ecology and bio-diversity of the region following the same two step process outlined earlier.

Build and you will find summarizes this paradigm shift nicely the Minister said. 

A reporter was quick to see a parallel with urban development and asked about it.

Yes, that's a smart analogy the Minister said. Build it and they will come has long been a strategy for urban rejuvenation. For example, for long we have wanted to economically rejuvenate areas occupied by slums. We want people who have benefited from the recent economic growth, the noveau riche, to enjoy and spend their money. The best way to do that was to demolish the slums and build malls. People are now thronging to these temples of modern India and helping spur economic growth.

The Minister fielded one last question. Will the discovery of increased earthquake risk or ecological sensitivity stop all this construction?

The Minister frankly answered - Well, our job is one of scientific discovery, a fault here, a new species of frog there, perhaps an owl or a woodpecker or two. We want to develop a synergy between different scientific organizations and give a boost to basic research.

The decision about the fate of the new plants will be taken by the synergistic association of two other entities - the polity and the industry.


  1. this one is brilliant Suvrat

  2. good to hear from you Sunil...

    i got phone calls asking me about Mr. Jamesh's press conference! :)

  3. Is the guy for real?? or is this pure satire...!!