Monday, March 14, 2011

Anti-nuke activists demand scrapping of proposed nuclear power plants

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, March 14: Anti-nuke activists are back in action demanding scrapping of all the proposed nuclear power plants and uranium mining units in the State.

They allege that the USA wants to "test its untested technology" of pressurised water reactors at Kovvada village in Srikakulam district.

Senior scientist Dr K Babu Rao, who has been fighting against nuclear pollution in the country, argued that pressurised water reactors or light water reactors from the USA are of the same design as the reactors in Fukushima Daiichi, which faced the threat of meltdown.

"These reactors are the same design as those in Fukushima Daiichi, and are actually a newer version of Generation 4 reactors, which have not been used or tested anywhere in the world. Nobody can say either about the efficacy or the durability of these reactors. So, people of AP will be the experimental guinea pigs to “test” this “un proven” technology," he pointed out.

The anti-nuke activists are now armed with a Barc report obtained by RTI activist Chetan Kothari. The Barc report has admitted that as many as 1930 scientists and other staff of various nuclear units in the country had died mostly of cancers in the last 15 years.

These deaths include 197 cases of suicide. Barc leads the deaths with 680 cases, followed by Nuclear Power Corporation of India with 346, Nuclear Fuel Complex with 172 and Uranium Corporation of India Limited with 86. However, there's no medical evidence to link these deaths with exposure to radiation.

Saraswati Kavula, joint convener of the National Alliance of People's Movement, said even if the nuclear plants proposed in the State are of proven technology, there's no guarantee that they would withstand a tsunami or an earthquake.

"Can we guarantee that another tsunami will not hit our coast, or that another earthquake will not hit the proposed uranium mines in Nalgonda or the nuclear plants and uranium mines now in construction in Kadapa? When questions such as these are posed to the authorities, we get lame duck responses," she said.

The NAPA has urged people to take note of the nuke mishap in Japan and bring pressure on the Central and the State governments to stop their "mad schemes of mass murder in the name of development".

Social scientist Dr Chenna Basavaiah said "atoms for peace is a myth and nuclear power is neither clean nor safe". He said post Indo-US nuclear deal, authorities in the State and at the Centre had gone overboard in trying to convince people on the “need” for nuclear power plants and claiming that Indian track record with respect to nuclear industry is absolutely impeccable.

"During the Tsunami of 2004, Kalpakkam Nuclear Reactor was damaged and the sea water entered the plant and people too died of radiation impact. However, this information was suppressed as with all other incidents in the past," research fellow Dr K Satyalakshmi said.

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