Setting up of nuclear power plants is questionable when some countries are dismantling their nuclear installations
There is nothing sinister in the questions raised by ordinary people of the area regarding their safety
Government going ahead with innumerable nuclear power plants is “highly questionable”
National Advisory Council (NAC) member Aruna Roy has come out in full support of protests against nuclear energy in the country, urging the government to end the installation and commissioning of nuclear energy projects.
In a letter to NAC chairperson Sonia Gandhi,Ms. Roy said the government going ahead innumerable nuclear power plants was “highly questionable” when countries such as Japan, France and Germany were dismantling their nuclear installations in response to public opinion.
Visit to Kudankulam
The letter follows Ms. Roy’s visit to Kudankulam which, in the past one year, has witnessed a series of protests against the 2,000 MW nuclear power plant coming up in the area,
Ms. Roy came down heavily on the government for registering “false” police cases against the protesters.
“The demand for information and re-evaluation cannot be deemed sedition and ‘war against the State.’ There is nothing sinister in the questions raised by ordinary people of the area regarding their safety and the well-being of future generations.”
The government, she said, should initiate a dialogue with the people in the affected areas, including Kudankulam, and remove the “draconian measures [that have been taken] to dispel dissent and difference of opinion”.
She noted that the recent report of the Comptroller and Auditor General on the functioning of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board had raised many basic questions on need for rigour and caution in implementing a nuclear programme. She pointed out that the Prime Minister’s recent remarks on the liability issue related to the proposed reactors 3 and 4 at Kudankulam had brought out the want of clarity on the liability issues relating to the soon-to-be commissioned reactors 1 and 2.
“In a democratic country, these kind of controversial issues involving massive investment and resources cannot go forward without complete transparency and accountability. The dangers and threats must be, at the very least, fully discussed,” she said.
Ms. Roy urged that a comprehensive energy policy that included a comparative study of the costs of different systems of non-conventional and conventional energy be evolved and placed in the public domain, along with details of potential hazards of nuclear plants.
She asked as to why information related to safety, production and efficiency of nuclear power were being withheld under “the pretext of security,” if nuclear installations were for generating energy alone.
Recounting her meetings with fisherfolk, panchayat members and community leaders in Kudankulam, she said many of them had police cases registered against them, including charges of sedition and waging war against the State.