We express our deep anguish to the families of the people lost in the recentearthquake and tsunami that hit Japan on the 11thof March 2011. While the Tsunami itself resulted in great devastation, the deadly explosion in the quake hit Nuclear Power Plant of Fukushima Daiichi is a threat that will impact not only to the current generation of Japan, but to future generations as well. Another plant is also crossing the danger mark.
The dangerous explosion is said to have blown the roof off the reactor building, brought down walls and caused a very heavy radiation leak. Even after the plant’s chain reaction was stopped, the fuel rods continue to produce heat and must be cooled in order to avoid the meltdown of the fuel. The plant needs a continuous supply of electricity to run the water pumps and the instruments. Since the emergency diesel generators at the Daiichi plant failed, pressure mounted in the reactor, the normal cooling function stopped and resulted in the explosion.
The Tokyo Electric Power Co., who operates the exploded power plant has said that the explosion happened “near” the No. 1 reactor. The Japanese nuclear authorities have claimed that “small amounts of radioactive material were likely to leak out.” This is the universal attitude and approach of the nuclear departments of all countries.
We will come to know the full and complete details of this worst nuclear disaster in a few more weeks or months. As the world is gearing up to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the deadly nuclear power plant accident at Chernobyl on April 26, 2011, another calamity has stuck the humanity.
When a technical fault in a Nuclear reactor in Chernobyl, in 1986, resulted in a nuclear accident, the radiation impacts were felt not just in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, but in the entire Northern Hemisphere. According to Green Peace between1986, the year of the accident and 2004 9, 85,000 deaths happened as a result of the radioactivity released due to the accident.
One can only hope that the accident in Japan will not lead to a similar situation. In the context of this accident and numerous others in the past, many environmentalists and civic society groups have been opposing the setting up of new Nuclear Power Plants, citing that atoms for peace is a myth and that Nuclear Power is neither Clean nor Safe. It’s a great irony that the country that faced the impacts of Nuclear Bombs now faces a similar situation due to its use of nuclear technology for “peaceful purposes”.
However, post Indo-US nuclear deal, the authorities at the State and Center have gone overboard in trying to convince people on the “need” for Nuclear Power Plants and also claiming that Indian Track Record with respect to Nuclear Industry is absolutely impeccable. Nothing could be farther from the truth. During the Tsunami of 2004, the Kalpakkam Nuclear Reactor has got damaged and the sea water entered the plant and people too have died of radiation impacts. However, this information is suppressed as with all other incidents in the past.
Our own Environmental Minister Mr.Jairam Ramesh, felt that the “Nuclear Power Plant” in Grade 4 (highly dangerous) earthquake prone Jaitapur was absolutely safe. The records have been changed from Grade 4 to Grade 2 to show Jaitapur as a “quake safer” place.
Even without accidents, nuclear power is not safe, as has been seen in the BARC report that was procured by an RTI activist. The data in these reports, state that nearly 1733 deaths have happened from 1995–2010, mostly from cancers, multiple organ failures. However, they never accept or acknowledge that such deaths could be due to Radiation exposure.
Fishermen in Kovvada of Srikakulam as also many intellectuals in the state are being convinced that the as yet untested technology of Pressurised Water Reactors or Light Water Reactors, from USA, is absolutely safe. 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 / 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.
Even if this was a proven technology, 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 like the way our Prime Minister said, “There won’t be an earthquake in India!”
Therefore, NAPM calls to the people not just of Kovvada, Nalgonda and Kadapa, but the entire people of Andhra Pradesh to take note of this urgent situation, and bring pressure on the governments to stop their Mad Schemes of Mass Murder in the name of development.
National Alliance of People’s Movements