An Open Letter to the People of Russia
KUDANKULAM ANTI-NUCLEAR SATYAGRAHA, INDIA, 21 May 2012
Dear Sisters and Brothers of Russia:
Greetings! We, several millions of people from the southernmost tip of India, are writing to you to send our love and seek your support for the peaceful and nonviolent struggle that we have been waging for the past nine months against the Koodankulam nuclear power project (KKNPP). This mega nuclear power park is being built with Russian loan and technology against the will and wishes of the local people.
The Indian authorities have not conducted any public hearing to seek our permission or consent for this project. They have not shared the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Report, the Site Evaluation Study, and the Safety Analysis Report with our people. After a long and hard struggle of more than 22 years, we have just obtained a copy of the EIA report which is outdated and so full of inaccuracies and incomplete information.
After two years of application and appeal, we have just got an order from the Center Information Commission (CIC) of India that we must have copies of the Site Evaluation Study, and the Safety Analysis Report to ensure and enhance public safety. The Site Evaluation Study is very important because there are some undisclosed secrets about the siting of the reactors 1 and 2. The Russian scientists and engineers had strong objections over the Indian engineers’ and scientists’ shifting the sites from the ones that the former had chosen for the reactors 1 and 2. It was reported here in the local newspapers that the Russians had left the project site in disgust but the entire episode was covered up by the officials here. And they have refused to divulge any information until now.
Similarly, the authorities refuse to give us a copy of the Safety Analysis Report saying that it contains proprietary information of the Russian company, Atomstroyexport (ASE). Please understand that we are not interested in any such information but the rest of the report is important for our safety and security. The Indian authorities refuse to give this report also.
Our people have no information about the Koodankulam project and whatever little information we have is in English which most people in our area do not understand. Moreover, the authorities have not given us any disaster training or evacuation exercise to safeguard our families in case of an accident at the Koodankulam site. With high and dense population in our area, we desperately need complete safety and evacuation drills.
Our expert team claims that there are serious hydrology, geology, oceanography and seismology issues involved in the Koodankulam nuclear project and hence we demand a complete and thorough probe into all these issues. After all, this area has been hit by the 2004 tsunami, and there have been several small to big earthquakes in the Indian Ocean rendering the Koodankulam site vulnerable. But the Indian authorities summarily reject our legitimate demand to study these concerns. Similarly, both the Indian and the Russian governments have signed a secret Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) on liability and they refuse to share a copy of that with us. Our officials are silent about the amount and management of the nuclear waste from the Koodankulam project also.
There are credible reports that the Indian Intelligence Bureau (IB) chief is making frequent visits to Moscow and taking orders from the KGB. Already the Russian Ambassador to India has been interfering in the internal affairs of India by making unwanted statements about our energy policy issues and other related subjects.
Please do understand that we want your country to prosper and become strong. We also like our country to do business with Russia at the bilateral level and through multilateral institutions such as RIC, BRICS etc. But we certainly do not want any business in the dangerous nuclear sector. Would you please request your lawmakers not to support the Koodankulam nuclear power project or more reactors in India. We desperately need your kind cooperation and help to safeguard the right to life and livelihood of millions of our fisherfolks, farmers, workers, women, youth and children.
Let us together secure the interests of our children and grandchildren and leave a clean, green and safe Earth for them all. Looking forward to your support and solidarity, we send you our best regards and all peaceful wishes.
Millions of Indian Citizens
People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE)
Idinthakarai & P. O. 627 104
Tamil Nadu, India
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 21 May 2012.
Anticopyright: Editorials and articles originated on TMS may be freely reprinted, disseminated, translated and used as background material, provided an acknowledgement and link to the source, TMS: An Open Letter to the People of Russia, is included. Thank you.
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