A group of residents held a press conference on Thursday to warn the authorities from establishing two nuclear plants on the outskirts of Karachi.
They also criticised the role of the Sindh Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa). "We find it very disconcerting that the Sepa is running its affairs in a manner that is contrary to the letter and spirit of its own regulations," said physicist Dr AH Nayyar.
Architect Arif Belgaumi spoke of China's lack of experience in nuclear physics and the possible backlash that could occur by using untested technology. "Experience in terms of nuclear power plants is counted by hours of operation. For this model, there are zero hours of operation," he pointed out.
According to Saeed Baloch of the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum, there are 4,000 species of marine life in the area, many of which are endangered, that will be killed by the 'hot water' that will be discharged into the sea during the process of nuclear energy generation.
Along with submitting an Environmental Impact Assessment, Sepa is also obligated to hold a public hearing. The report was made public on April 11 and the hearing is on April 27. That leaves the public 16 days to examine a 2,400 page report, something that will be impossible for experts let alone a common citizen.
Many of the claims made in the EIA need validation through technical studies including computer simulations that cannot be done even by the best of experts in this short time, said Nayyar as he read out their press statement.
Ambar Alibhai of Shehri claimed that Sepa's lack of in-house experts throws doubt on the speed at which the EIA was released. "[Sepa's] job is to monitor [a project] in public interest, not to facilitate it," said Belgaumi, who echoed the doubts of the previous speakers about the accuracy of the EIA.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 24th, 2015.
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