Call for endorsement- Citizens Statement Demanding Independent Enquiry into Koodankulam Safety


Please find below the citizens statement on Koodankulam drafted by Mr.Praful Bidwai and Mrs. Lalita Ramdas.

In thelight of recent news arrest of the Russian supplier ZiO-Podolsk chieffor a scam related to sub-standard equipments, the statement callsfor an independent enquiry into the plant’s safety issues, somethingthat the people’s agitation has been demanding from day one. Theformer chairman of India‘s Atomic Energy Regulatory Board has alsodemanded a moratorium on the reactor pending an independent enquiry.

Thestatement also appeals for transparency on vital safety issues inKoodankulam.

Pleasealso forward the statement to your friends for endorsement and urgethem to send back the signatures to 

 

pksundaram@gmail.com

 

With bestregards,
AchinVanaik

P KSundaram

Coalitionfor Nuclear Disarmament and Peace

www.cndpindia.org

 

Citizens Statement Demanding Independent Enquiry into Koodankulam Safety

 

Recent developments in Koodankulam, which highlight grave technology-related problems with the first nuclear reactor, take the shocking failures of the operator, Nuclear Power Corporation, to a new low.

The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board was forced to admit to the existence of sub-standard and unsafe equipment in the reactor only after a major scandal concerning a Russian sub-supplier firm was brought to light by the ongoing people’s movement against the project. However, the admission came only after the nuclear establishment’s denial tactic manifestly failed. Former AERB Chairman Dr. A. Gopalakrishnan has unequivocally and publicly opposed the commissioning of the plant and trashed the AERB’s admission and assurances.

We urge that an independent enquiry must be conducted into the safety aspects of the Koodankulam reactors, including the supply of sub-standard equipment, vulnerability of the reactor pressure vessel,and the fraudulent post-dated environmental clearance given to the desalination unit. Till then, a moratorium on the reactor’s start-up must be imposed in Koodankulam.

#India-“Give up KKNPP, go for solar and wind energy”- Adm.Ramdas


TIRUNELVELI, January 1, 2013, The Hindu

Staff Reporter

 

The Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project is totally unsafe and should not be commissioned, according to former Navy Chief Admiral L. Ramdoss.

With ample resources of renewable energy and over 300 bright sunny days, government agencies should tap the potential to generate wind and solar energy, instead of commissioning the high-risk nuclear energy project at Kudankulam, he said.

The technology for generating solar energy was very competitive and cheaper than nuclear energy. However, the existing grid system was not suited to tap such clean energy resources. While developed countries around the world had abandoned the nuclear energy option on grounds of safety, the Indian government was pushing ahead with the commissioning of the risky nuclear energy project, overlooking safety concerns raised by the people, especially the coastal population.

Admiral Ramdoss was addressing the media at Idinthakarai near Kudankulam on Monday.

“In my view no assurance on safety has been made by the Central government, the Russian government, NPCIL, Department of Atomic Energy or any expert from the Indian officialdom,” he noted.

In the past, experts had certified nuclear energy plants to be safe.

These included plants such as Three Mile Island in the US, Chernobyl in Ukraine and Fukushima in Japan. Yet these plants suffered accidents, he pointed out. Design of the equipment, natural causes beyond our control and human failure could cause accidents, Mr. Ramdoss warned.

“People have the right to protect themselves from the risks of nuclear energy, but all these rights have been scuttled. They have been told lies that the emerging nuclear plant is safe. It is time to give up this unsafe project and the government authorities should find alternative source of energy to safeguard the lives of the people in the vicinity of Kudankulam and protect their livelihood,.” he said.

Binayak Sen, national vice-president, People’s Union for Civil Liberty, said the judicial process had been misused and AERB norms were being flouted in the process of commissioning this nuclear plant.

The protest by the people against nuclear energy was being suppressed. The PUCL and human rights organisations had been engaged in the withdrawal of sedition charges levelled against the protesters.

Praful Bidwai, senior journalist, said fake cases had been foisted on the protesters. As many as 325 cases were filed against those involved in the agitation at Idinthakarai. Charge sheets were filed against 1,20, 000 people and 13, 350 were charged with waging a war against the State and criminal conspiracy.

As many as 8,456 persons were booked on sedition charges, 18,143 persons accused of attempt to murder and 15,565 persons charged with destroying government properties. Sixty-six persons were arrested and nine imprisoned. Forty-five persons were released on conditional bail.

Children performed cultural programmes on the eve of the New Year. S.P. Udhayakumar, convener, People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy, and members of organisations against nuclear energy from various States took part in the agitation. The agitation at Idinthakarai has crossed 500 days.

 

Activists cast doubts over IAEA review of Rajasthan atomic power plant


JAIPUR, November 11, 2012

MOHAMMED IQBAL, The Hindu

 
“The inspection team must look into tritium leak at Rawatbhata earlier this year and occurrence of diseases in the plant’s vicinity”
 

Expressing doubts over the ongoing operational safety review by an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team at Rawatbhata Atomic Power Station in Rajasthan, anti-nuclear activists here have demanded “transparent and independent” inspection which can address the issues of vulnerability, unaccountability and secrecy plaguing the Indian nuclear industry.

Activists said at a Press conference here over the weekend that they had received information about the 12-member IAEA team raising serious safety issues, particularly non-availability of crucial auxiliary generators and use of obsolete equipment in the health physics unit to check radiation exposure to workers in the reactors. The team’s final report is not likely to be made public.

Those who addressed the Press conference included senior journalist Praful Bidwai, who writes on environmental and nuclear issues, scientist Sowmya Dutta, activist Kumar Sundaram and People’s Union for Civil Liberties general secretary Kavita Srivastava. The PUCL and the Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament & Peace (CNDP) jointly organised the Press meet.

Raising the larger issues of nuclear safety vulnerabilities and lack of independent regulation of atomic power production in the country, the activists said the first-of-its-kind inspection must look into the tritium leak at Rawatbhata earlier this year, high occurrence of diseases in the power plant’s vicinity and lack of published data about radiation releases.

Mr. Bidwai pointed out that the IAEA team is visiting the Rawatbhata plant’s Units 3 and 4, whereas the tritium leaks took place in Unit 5 in June this year, in which 34 casual workers were exposed to high doses of tritium: “These casual workers, not given any health benefits, are the most vulnerable part of the nuclear industry.”

Independent observers have documented the facts about the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) seniors forcing the workers to operate in unsafe zones and intimidating them to hide radiation exposures from the media and the society at large, said the activists.

“In Rawatbhata, we have come to know that the contractual workers have been asked to take leave for next 15 days or work only in night shifts until the IAEA team is there. The Rawatbhata contractual workers have been struggling for [proper] wages, health benefits and independent radiation check-ups,” said Ms. Srivastava. Rawatbhata is situated in Chittorgarh district, 322 km from here.

Noted experts Sanghamitra Gadekar and Surendra Gadekar have carried out an independent health survey around Rawatbhata reactors revealing high occurrence of cancer, leukaemia and other diseases. “This study was published in a reputed and peer-reviewed medical journal but the NPCIL has callously ignored it,” said a statement issued by activists.

Besides, the Union Government has not done any independent safety review of its atomic power facilities after the nuclear accident at Fukushima in Japan following the massive earthquake and tsunami on March 11 last year. Concerns have been expressed at the top level about the safety of nuclear plants in the country in the wake of the damage caused in Fukushima.

The NPCIL hastily carried out an internal safety review last year within three months and gave a “clean chit to itself”, alleged the activists. The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB), which has no independence and is due to be replaced by a new regulatory body currently under discussion in Parliament, has in the meanwhile given only very general recommendations on safety, they said.

Calling for a thorough safety review under independent experts, the activists requested the IAEA team to ask for a moratorium on new constructions and commissioning of nuclear reactors until such an independent review takes place. They said the people at the grassroots have raised serious safety issues in Koodankulam, Jaitapur, Mithivirdi, Chutka, Fatehabad, Kovvada, etc., where intense mass struggles are under way to oppose nuclear projects.

Charges denied

Rawatbhata atomic power station spokesperson D. Chanda, contacted by The Hindu , denied all the allegations and said the IAEA team, comprising experts from eight countries, was working in an “absolutely independent” manner and would submit its report to the international body which would share it with the NPCIL.

“The people who are out to defame the nuclear regulatory institutions are probably unaware that the IAEA mission is visiting India on the Union Government’s request. This is not a suo motu inspection. It will [just] look into our proven good practices and our adherence to safety standards,” said Mr. Chanda, adding that the plant is working within the limits laid down for it.

The IAEA team, comprising experts from the nuclear power plants of Canada, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Sweden, will stay at Rawatbhata till November 15. The experts have conducted plant tours and interacted with the personnel.

However, activists said the nuclear industry in India does not publish data about radiation releases in its nuclear facilities, nor does it carry out any periodic health survey of the population around its facilities. Despite the Government officially asking people living near Hyderabad’s Nuclear Fuel Complex not to drink ground water, no proper mechanism to ensure transparency on radiation health has been put in place and the establishment lives in complete denial of health hazards caused by radiation.

The Rawatbhata atomic power station — comprising eight units, including two units of 700 MW each under construction — is at present generating 1,140 MW power. The two units selected for the IAEA mission had earlier undergone peer review by the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) in 2003 and 2009.

 

ATTN DELHI-Invitation- People’s Hearing on Nuclear Energy, August 22


English: Internationally recognized symbol. De...

English: Internationally recognized symbol. Deutsch: Gefahrensymbol für Radioaktivität. Image:Radioactive.svg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


People’s Hearing on Nuclear Energy

 

Date and Time:

August 22, 2012

11 am – 6pm

 

Venue:

Gandhi Peace Foundation,

221-223, Deendayal Upadhyay Marg

New Delhi-110002

Dear Friends,

A people’s hearing will be held on August 22nd in New Delhi on nuclear power in India to discuss grassroots concerns and people’s experiences, and to take note of violations of their human rights.

People from all the sites will make presentations with a special emphasis on Koodankulam and Gorakhpur. Also, experts will present their testimonies to a panel of judges consisting of eminent citizens, who will examine this evidence and give their verdict.

Background:

The Government of India is pushing through a massive expansion of nuclear energy in the most undemocratic manner, overlooking its dangerous impacts on the health, safety and livelihoods of local communities, the larger perspective of energy security for India, the economic and environmental costs of nuclear energy, and the global decline in the salience of nuclear energy after the Fukushima catastrophe.

There has been an upsurge of strong grassroots struggles against nuclear power projects and other installations in the recent past. At Koodankulam, for instance, a mass agitation involving tens of thousands of people has been sustained for a year since August 16, 2011. At Gorakhpur, in Haryana’s Fatehabad district, farmers have sat on a dharna every day for 2 years in protest against the planned nuclear power station. They are particularly agitated over a fraudulent public hearing which was held on 17th July without giving copies of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report to the people, as is mandatory.

Strong agitations have been launched in Jaitapur in Maharashtra, where the world’s biggest nuclear power park has been planned. Similar protests have broken out at other planned sites all over India.

The government has vilified these movements as “misguided” instigated by “outsiders”, has criminalized them and has filed hundreds of police cases against them. It has studiedly ignored their concerns about nuclear safety heightened after Fukushima and refused to part with basic documents such as Environmental Impact Assessment and  Safety Evaluation Reports (SERs) and the inter-governmental contracts etc.

The repression has led to blatant violations of basic rights at different sites – for instance, nearly 7000 people in Koodankulam who have led consistently peaceful protest face charges of sedition and war against the Indian state. Similar repression and undermining of democratic norms is under way at the other nuclear sites such as Jaitapur, Chutka in Madhya Pradesh, Mithi Virdi in Gujarat, Kovvada in Andhra Pradesh, Kota in Rajasthan, etc. More recently, a fresh protest broke out at Rawatbhata in Rajasthan where a nuclear fuel complex has been planned. The recent tritium leak in the Rajasthan Atomic Power Station exposing 38 casual workers to dangerous radiation has also put a question mark over the safety of existing nuclear facilities.

 

People’s testimonies: Koodankulam, Jaitapur, Gorakhpur, Chutka, Mithivirdi, Rawatbhata

Independent Experts: Praful Bidwai, Soumya Dutta, Surendra Gadekar, M G Devasahayam and others

Jury: Justice A P Shah, Admiral L. Ramdas, Aruna Roy, K S Subramanian

We cordially invite you to this public hearing. Please also circulate this invitation to your friends.

With best regards,

Sundaram, NEW DELHI (91-9810556134, cndpindia@gmail.com)

Bhargavi NEW DELHI: (91-9582452343, bhargavi@delhiforum.net)

Neeraj Jain PUNE:  (91- 9422220311, neerajj61@gmail.com)

Lalita Ramdas ALIBAGH (91-9422495315, lalitagpi@gmail.com)

Abey George, THIRUVANANTHAPURAM (91-9497800971, )

Vaishali Patil, MAHARASHTRA, (vaishraj4@rediffmail.com)

Santanu Chacraverti, KOLKATA: (91-9831034089, s.chacraverti@gmail.com)

Nityanand Jayaraman CHENNAI (91-9444082401, nity682@gmail.com)

Kamayani Bali Mahabal, MUMBAI (91-9820749204, kamayni@gmail.com)

Kavita Shrivastava JAIPUR (kavisriv@gmail.com)

Indian Govt Imposing Koodankulam Plant on People


English: Construction site of the Koodankulam ...

Published on: June 13, 2012 -

BY PRAFUL BIDWAI, The Navhindtimes

SO monumentally arrogant is India’s nuclear establishment that it brazenly brands its critics insane and in need of psychiatric treatment. It has asked the state-run National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences (NIMHANS) to “counsel” the tens of thousands protesting against the Koodankulam nuclear power station in Tamil Nadu that it’s perfectly safe.

This marks a new offensive to impose nuclear power upon people who have resisted Koodankulam’s Russian-made reactors since 1988. After Fukushima, the presumption that fears about nuclear hazards are irrational betrays delusional insensitivity.

The police have filed 107 first information reports against an incredible 55,795 people in Koodankulam, charging 6,800 of them with “sedition” and “waging war”. This sets a new record in harassment of popular protests anywhere. Leave alone sedition, there hasn’t been one violent incident during the seven-months-long Koodankulam protests.

NIMHANS psychiatrists, to their shame, are striving to help people “understand the importance of the nuclear power plant”. They treat opposition to nuclear power as a disorder like schizophrenia, paranoia, or craving for victimhood.

By their criteria, more than 80 per cent of the population of Japan, Germany, France and Russia, which opposes new nuclear plants, must be considered insane. As an academic research institution, NIMHANS shouldn’t act as a nuclear propaganda agency.

Role of Foreign Hand

NIMHANS seems to have taken its cue from the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, who attributed the protests to the “foreign hand”. But the real “foreign hand” is Dr Singh himself, who is hitching India’s energy trajectory to imported reactors, including French reactors at Jaitapur (Maharashtra), and American reactors at Mithi Virdi (Gujarat) and Kovvada (Andhra).

After Fukushima, nuclear safety can no longer be analysed from the usual “expert” probabilistic perspective. As the official German Ethics Commission on safe energy says, Fukushima has decisively changed nuclear risk perceptions: “More people have come to realise…that major accidents can indeed occur.” As physicist Mr Alvin Weinberg said: “A nuclear accident anywhere is a nuclear accident everywhere”.

Fukushima occurred in an industrially advanced country, still hasn’t been brought under control, and exposes flaws in the global nuclear industry’s technological risk-assessment methods. Says the Ethics Commission: Fukushima “has shaken people’s confidence … [They] are no longer prepared to leave it to … experts to decide how to deal with… the possibility of an uncontrollable… accident.”

This applies to India too. Its Department of Atomic Energy has a poor safety culture and record. DAE parrots clichés about the Russian reactors’ safety. But it doesn’t even have full access to their design.

It’s the DAE and Nuclear Power Corporation, not the protesters, who are delusion-prone. When the Fukushima crisis decisively turned for the worse with hydrogen explosions, the DAE secretary, Mr Sreekumar Banerjee said these were “purely a chemical reaction and not a nuclear emergency …”.

Of course, the explosions were chemical reactions. But the hydrogen indicated severe nuclear fuel damage. The explosions ruptured plant structures, aggravating the nuclear emergency with three reactor-core meltdowns.

Last September, the government suspended work on Koodankulam until people’s safety concerns are fully allayed by a 15-member ‘expert group’. This failed to convince anyone or furnish any documents, including the environmental impact assessment report. It refused even to meet the independent scientists nominated by the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy.

Koodankulam raises two sets of safety issues: specific to the reactors and site, and generic to nuclear power. The reactors haven’t been certified safe by an independent international or Indian agency. A recent report by nuclear safety experts on Russian rectors shockingly reveals that they are grievously under-prepared for natural or man-made disasters.

Russian reactors are marked by 31 “serious flaws”, including: absence of regulations to deal with contingencies; inadequate protective shelters; lack of records of previous accidents, which would enable learning from past mistakes; and poor attention to safety-significant systems.

The report questions the reactors’ ability to remain safe long enough if cooling systems fail. These systems are vulnerable to metal fatigue and welding flaws. Worse, the earthquake hazard isn’t considered in designing Russian reactors. Many lack earthquake-triggered automatic shutdown mechanisms.

There are serious site-specific issues too, including impact on people and fisheries, and inadequacy of safety systems and waste storage. The site could be vulnerable to tsunamis caused by “slumps” (massive agglomerations of loosely-bound seabed sediments), small-volume volcanic eruptions, and geological and hydrological instability.

Koodankulam is probably the world’s sole nuclear plant without independent freshwater supply. The desalination plant, on which it will fully depend, could fail.

Safety Procedures Bypassed

These issues were highlighted in an impressive 84-page report by PMANE. The official committee hasn’t answered them.

NPC is now bypassing Atomic Energy Regulatory Board safety procedures. It’s rushing into starting the first reactor, which gathered rust for five months. Prior to nuclear-fuel loading, it should be put through another “hot run”, similar to last year’s, says former AERB chairman, Mr A Gopalakrishnan.

In this operation, the core is loaded with dummy fuel and hot water is circulated through it at the same temperature as its operating level to check its vessels, piping, valves, etc. The AERB also mandates an emergency evacuation drill in the emergency planning zone covering a 16-km radius, before fuel loading. Nothing suggests this will happen.

Koodankulam violates the stipulation that there must be zero population within a 1.5-km radius, and only a sparse population within a 5-km radius. Several thousands live in the 1.5-km radius. At least 40,000 people live within a 5-km radius, and 100,000 in the EPZ.

The generic hazards of nuclear power include radiation at each stage, from uranium mining, fuel fabrication, reactor operation and maintenance, to waste storage. Cancer-causing radiation is harmful in all doses. Routine emissions from reactors also pose
grave hazards.

Even graver is the problem of nuclear wastes, which remain hazardous for thousands of years. Science knows no safe way of storing, let alone neutralising, them.

Nuclear power is the only form of energy production with a potential for catastrophic accidents like Fukushima. These problems make nuclear power uniquely, irredeemably, hazardous.

Koodankulam concentrates these hazards, dangerously. It must be scrapped.

An Urgent Appeal to the Conscience of Nation on Koodankulam


A warning to the TN Govt on Koodankulam

A warning to the TN Govt on Koodankulam (Photo credit: Joe Athialy)

 

Dear Fellow Citizens of India,

On the occasion of our Parliament, the pinnacle of democratic governance, celebrating its 60th anniversary, our hard earned democracy is being ruthlessly repressed and violently suppressed. Within the accelerated race towards ‘destructive development’ and the generation of nuclear power to fuel such ‘development,’ entirely peaceful mass protests voicing people’s legitimate dissent are brutally put down. The common man, woman and child are unheard. In utter desperation, people at large are surrendering their ‘Voter ID cards,’ the ultimate symbol of ‘people’s power,’ which is the essence of any genuine democracy. Can there be a more ominous way to dissent?

Much like the recent anti-corruption upsurge, various actions for social, gender and ecological justice and other struggles in various parts of the country to safeguard people’s rights for their lives, dignity, resources, and livelihoods, the people’s movement in Koodankulam demanding a safe future is facing callous repression from the government and continued apathy from the public at large. Disappointingly, our mainstream media also persists in under-reporting this genuinely populist movement.

People in Idinthakarai village had to end their 14-day long fast this week. It is appalling that nobody from the Tamil Nadu, or Central, Government came to speak to them, and that police strength in the area has been intensified, with every possible intimidating tactic –including taking away the food ration cards of agitating villagers.

We appeal to you in a state of urgency and desperation.

The debate on India’s energy future is far from settled. We will need broader consensus and greater persuasion to ensure that India opts for the safest, most sustainable people-centric energy future.

The reactor project in Koodankulam perpetrates too many unacceptable violations of norms and procedures. The agitating people are peacefully and persistently trying to raise several important questions – both site-specific and generic with regard to nuclear power – through all possible forums. Many independent experts and scientists have already emphasized the various dangers of going ahead with the Koodankulam reactors.

At this critical juncture, we urge realizing a wider consultation is necessary before continuing the large-scale nuclear expansion that this government is already deeply engaged in.

We entreat you to demand that the government immediately stop intimidating and harassing peaceful protesters.

It is imperative that we immediately unite by raising our voices to defend democracy and the ethos of our country. Unacceptable precedents like the outright repression and silencing of the Koodankulam people’s movement will have adverse implications for all future individual and collective struggles.

With best regards,

Prashant Bhushan
Vandana Shiva
Partha Chatterjee
Admiral L. Ramdas
Lalita Ramdas
Surendra Gadekar
Sanghamitra Gadekar
Narayan Desai
Anand Patwardhan
M G Devasahayam
Gnani Sankaran
Achin vanaik
Suvrat Raju
Saraswati Kavula
G Sundar Rajan
Adil Ali
Gabriele Detrech
Ramesh Radhakrishnan
R R Srinivasan
Sudhir Vombatkere
Jatin Desai
Sukla Sen
Vivek Sundara
Ram Puniyani
Shabnam Hashmi
John Dayal
EAS Sharma
Malem Ningthouja Chairperson, Campaign for Peace & Democracy (Manipur)
Aruna Rodrigues
Pushpa Mitra Bhargava
Nagesh Hegde
Sudha S
Meher Engineer
Arati Chokshi
Ujjwala Mhatre
Preeti Sampat
Kabir Khan
G R Vora
Harsh Kapoor
Shri Prakash
Praful Bidwai
Chandra Bhushan Chaudhary
Gowru Chinappa
A K Ramakrishnan
Gita Hariharan
Kavita Krishnan
Indira Chakravarthi
Sajeer Abdul Rahman
Anivar Aravind
Asit Das
Priyamvada Gopal
Aflatoon
Kamayani Bali Mahabal
Shankar Sharma
Karuna Raina
Xavier Dias
Nayana Patel
Stan Swamy
Rajeev Bhargav
Ilina Sen
Soumya Dutta
Vivek Monteiro
Madhura Chakraborty
Shonali Sardesai, Senior Social Scientist, World Bank
Jaya Seal Ghosh, Actress
Nirupa Bhanger, Executive Director, The Anchorage
Vijay Bhangar, ITT Bombay
Sandeep pandey
Neeraj Jain

PLEASE CLICK BELOW TO SIGN

urgent-nationa-appeal-koodankulam

National Yatra in Support of Anti-Kudankulam NPP agitation – March 15-16, 2012


Kudankulam Nuclear Plant

Kudankulam Nuclear Plant (Photo credit: Eunheui)

APPEAL: Kudankulam Chalo! Let Us All March To Kudankulam!!

Join the National Yatra to Kudankulam, March 15-16, 2012

Appeal issued on behalf of Admiral Ramdas, Lalita Ramdas, Praful Bidwai, Prof. Banwarilal Sharma, Fr. Thomas Kocherry, Justice Kolse Patil, Vaishali Patil, Sunil, Soumya Dutta, Anil Choudhary, P. K. Sundaram, Sajeer Rehman, Musab Iqbal, Neeraj Jain, and many others

The government of India has launched a most vicious propaganda campaign to malign the heroic struggle of the people of the southern Tamil Nadu who are fighting the Kudankulam Nuclear Plant. The people of the region had been opposing the plant since the late 1980s; the Fukushima nuclear accident of March 2011 greatly increased their concerns and they intensified their agitation demanding that the plant be shut down and the government focus on conservation of energy and renewable forms of energy to meet the energy needs of the country.

Since October 2011, the people of the region have been sitting on a relay hunger strike, which has entered its sixth month now. Tens of thousands of people have participated in massive rallies, village campaigns, public meetings, seminars, conferences, and other demonstrations such as shaving our heads, cooking on the street, burning the models of the nuclear plants etc. It has been an entirely peaceful Gandhian agitation, of which even Mahatma Gandhi would have been proud.

Instead of paying heed to the people’s concerns and the concerns voiced by numerous intellectuals all over the country about the terrible dangers of nuclear energy – which have once again become highlighted after the deathly Fukushima accident in Japan, the government has launched a most despicable campaign to slander and terrorise the people of Idinthikarai and the surrounding villages, in order to break their will and prepare the grounds for repressive action. There is the possibility of a military-style crackdown in the offing. The slander campaign is being headed from the front by the Prime Minister himself, who announced to the media that India’s nuclear programme is being derailed by NGOs funded by the Americans. Next, an innocent and unsuspecting German tourist, Sonntag Rainer Hermann, was picked up from his budget hotel at midnight, and deported on suspicion that he was illegally diverting funds to the Koodankulam campaign. Hermann is a harmless backpacker, who had come to India a month ago from Bangkok, and like tens of thousands of Germans, is a nature lover, and has a healthy scepticism of nuclear energy. The media has most shamefully lapped up these allegations, without bothering to even make the most elementary efforts to verify them. The government has also filed hundreds of serious cases of ‘sedition’ and ‘waging war on the Indian state’ on the leaders of the movement.

In a stirring letter to the people of the country, the leaders of the agitation write: ‘To put it in a nutshell, this is a classic David-Goliath fight between the ‘ordinary citizens’ of India and the powerful Indian government supported by the rich Indian capitalists, MNCs, imperial powers and the global nuclear mafia. They promise FDI, nuclear power, development, atom bombs, security and superpower status. We demand risk-free electricity, disease-free life, unpolluted natural resources, sustainable development and harmless future. They say the Russian nuclear power plants are safe and can withstand earthquakes and tsunamis. But we worry about their side-effects and after-effects. They speak for their scientist friends and business partners and have their eyes on commissions and kickbacks. But we fight for our children and grandchildren, our progeny, our animals and birds, our land, water, sea, air and the skies.”

APPEAL: Kudankulam Chalo! Let Us All March To Kudankulam!!

Dear friends,

On behalf of CNDP (Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace) and NAAM (National Alliance of Anti-Nuclear Movements), we had organised a two day National Consultation in Delhi on February 25-26, wherein it was resolved that all of us should go for a two-day visit to Kudankulam and Chennai to express solidarity with the fighting people of Idinthikarai and the surrounding areas in their agitation agaisnt the Kudankulam Nuclear Plant.

The struggle of the people of this region has reached a crucial turning point. With work on the plant stalled, and the ‘real foreign hand’ of the Russians breathing down the government’s neck, the government is desperate to use every trick and weapon in its book to crush the movement. At such a crucial juncture, it is important for all of us, who stand for genuine democracy, for people-centred sustainable development, for a strong India which does not lick the boots of imperial powers, to go to Kudankulam and express our solidarity for their struggle, to express our disgust with the tricks resorted to by India’s rulers to malign a heroic people’s movement, and demand that the government stop using slanderous and repressive tactics to gag discussions on nuclear or any other ‘development’ issues and instead adopt a consultative approach with people of the region, to resolve their issues and concerns.

We call upon all of you to join us for this two day visit to Kudankulam. The program is:

March 15: Reach Kudankulam by the afternoon, 2 pm or so. Address a public meeting there.

March 15 night: Travel to Chennai by train.

March 16: Chennai – address a Seminar and a Press Conference.

You can reach Kudankulam by flying down to Trivandrum or Madurai, and then driving down to Kudankulam. Since there will be many of us, we can coordinate and take a common vehicle, which we shall arrange. So do let us know where you plan to come, and we will do the coordination. Trivandrum is more well connected by air, so that might be more convenient.

Or you can come by train, via Chennai or Bangalore, to Kanyakumari/Nagercoil.

Do let us know if you can join us, and we will then see how to coordinate amongst all those who are coming. Please feel free to contact any of the following for more details:

P K Sundaram, New Delhi (9810556134, pksundaram@gmail.com)

Lalita Ramdas (lramdas@gmail.com)

Neeraj Jain, Pune (neerajj61@gmail.com)

Sajeer Rehman, Calicut (sajeerhere@yahoo.co.in)

Musab Iqbal, Bangalore (syedmusab@gmail.com)

Lokayat Organises Book Release Function and Seminar on Nuclear Energy


india calcutta bookstoreTitle of book: NUCLEAR ENERGY: Technology from Hell
Author: Neeraj Jain
Published by: AAKAR BOOKS, Delhi
450 pages, Price Rs. 295

The government of India is attempting to set up a string of nuclear plants across the country, with imported and indigenous reactors, and also start several uranium mines. People everywhere, from Kudankulam, Jaitapur, Mithivirdi, Gorakhpur to Jadugoda and Gogi, are fighting these projects.

The government is deriding these movements as being anti-development, and the country’s top scientists and leading intellectuals are claiming that nuclear energy is clean, green, cheap and safe, and is the solution to the country’s future energy needs.

In reality, nuclear energy is none of these. Nuclear energy is very expensive. Neither is it green and the sustainable solution to the energy crisis. But the biggest problem with nuclear energy are the safety issues associated with it -the deathly radioactive pollution of the environment caused by leakage of radiation from the mines and nuclear reactors, the as yet intractable problem of safe storage of high level wastes, and the potential for catastrophic accidents. For these reasons, nuclear energy was already in decline the world over, the Fukushima accident has sent it into a tailspin.

Discussing the problems of nuclear energy in depth, and giving alternate sustainable solutions to the energy crisis in the country, Neeraj Jain has written a book, NUCLEAR ENERGY : TECHNOLOGY FROM HELL. The book release function of this book is being organised on Saturday, January 21, 2012. On this occasion, Lokayat has organised a SEMINAR on Nuclear energy. The details of the program are as below:

SPEAKERS:
Justice P. B. Sawant, Retd. Justice, Supreme Court of India
Bhai Vaidya, former Home Minister, Maharashtra State
Prof. Sulabha Brahme, noted economist

Date: January 21, 2012
Time: 5.30 to 8 pm
Venue: Bharat Itihas Sanshodhak Mandal, Near Bharat Natya Mandir, Sadashiv Peth, Pune.

COMMENDATION OF BOOK BY PRAFUL BIDWAI:

Nuclear power is the greatest energy fraud ever played upon the world. Inherently and unacceptably unsafe, it leaves behind radioactive poisons for thousands of years, besides exposing people to hazards at each step of the nuclear fuel chain. It is unaffordably costly, predatory upon public funds, and locks the energy system into the wrong trajectory. This book is a scathing, well-documented, passionate critique of the nuclear industry. Analysts and activists will find it valuable at a time of growing popular resistance to nuclear reactors at Kudankulam, Jaitapur and other sites.

Praful Bidwai, Columnist, former Senior Editor of The Times of India,

and author of The Politics of Climate Change and the Global Crisis: Mortgaging Our Future

COMMENDATION OF BOOK BY MADHU BHADURI, IFS

Exceptionally well researched … systematically uncovers many lies of the powerful nuclear lobby in India and abroad in its claim that nuclear energy is safe, clean and green. The facts presented in a simple and straight forward way reveal instead how dangerous and destructive it is…

The author marshals evidence from many diverse sources … to make the powerful case that nuclear reactors are devastatingly unsafe. Indeed, so unsafe that without government guarantees they cannot be insured. No wonder the Indian government kept its nuclear program in a totally non-transparent wrap of official secrecy … This book cogently argues and compels the reader to agree that neither economic logic nor concern for the environment but the power of vested interest alone has forced decision makers to opt for nuclear energy … a must read to illuminate one of the most important debates of our time.

Madhu Bhaduri, IFS, former Ambassador of India to several countries,

was associated with the Indian mission to the IAEA, Vien