Tell the Nation the Truth about the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant
January 28, 2013
Angered by moral and political corruption, disturbing developments and the overall mismanagement of the body politic, Marcellus tells Horatio in utter disgust and disappointment in Shakespeare’s classic play Hamlet: “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.”
We, the people of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, who have been fighting against the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) are feeling very much like Marcellus. We have been asking in vain for the basic reports on the project. Even after the Central Information Commissioner (CIC) passed an order to share the reports with the public, the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL) has been ducking and dodging.
We have been asking several important and pertinent questions about the design of the Reactor Pressure Vessel (RPV) in KKNPP, availability of sufficient fresh water for cooling and other purposes, disaster preparedness, liability arrangements, waste management, decommissioning plans, impact of reactors and desalination plants on our sea and seafood, and the livelihood of our fishermen and farmers. None of these issues has been addressed in a truthful, responsible, sensitive and sensible manner.
Throwing all our democratic precepts and principles to the air and callously ignoring the ongoing peaceful and nonviolent struggle of the concerned citizens, the Indian State and its nuclearocrats went ahead with Uranium fuel loading and testing at Koodankulam. The inept and improvident NPCIL that has had a very dismal record on delivering goods to the people of India is pushing hard on the KKNPP that is, by many accounts, still born.
The haste in getting the senior officers such as Dr. S. K. Jain and Mr. Kasinath Balaji out of Koodankulam, the employment of Croatian and German technicians in the Russian designed and erected nuclear power plant, and the calculated and cunning leaking of ‘leaks and repairs’ news by the Minister of State at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) are all clear indications that the KKNPP units are neither breathing nor crying. Strangely enough, NPCIL is claiming an excess spending of a whopping sum of Rs. 4,000 crores on the non-functioning and non-delivering power plant.
We see a dangerous drama unfold in the Indian nukedom. On the one hand, the NPCIL wants to run the KKNPP units by any means and at any cost. They are desperately trying to keep the American, French and all other agreements and arrangements alive and start walking in the emerging India with the borrowed foreign crutches. The PMO that seems to be more bothered about the foreign-friendly Dr. Manmohan Singh’s leaving a false legacy of being the “Father of Developed India” than safeguarding the safety and wellbeing of ordinary Indian citizens stands solidly behind the NPCIL. They together are very eager to enjoy the technological and political benefits and profits of KKNPP and all other projects.
On the other hand, there is the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB), which has been severely rebuked and reprimanded by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India just a few months back for its non-performance. It is important to remember that the AERB is just a ‘desk and chair’ in the sprawling DAE complex and may not stand tall for too long. It is also pertinent to remember here that the Indian Parliament is considering the setting up of an independent and potent Nuclear Safety Regulatory Authority (NSRA) which may have more autonomy and credibility.
Aghast at the manipulations and machinations of the DAE, NPCIL, AERB, PMO and the Indian State, some groups went to the courts including the Madras High Court, Delhi High Court, National Green Tribunal (NGT) and the Supreme Court (SC). The Madras High Court, among other things, had the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) officials change the thermal pollution temperature figures in a rushed and hushed manner and handed over a favorable verdict to the Indian State. They appealed to the Supreme Court where the case was heard and the judgment has been reserved for several weeks now. No one knows where the SC stands!
But we know full well where the people of India stand. On the streets! Feeling clueless and hopeless! Abusing its power in an arrogant and authoritarian manner, the Indian State has imposed ‘sedition’ and ‘waging war’ cases on unarmed and nonviolent protestors. More responsible Prime Minister, Chief Minister and other senior leaders and officials keep strictly silent while a junior minister in Delhi goes around making infantile, irresponsible and incomplete statements on the KKNPP happenings. The honest and hard working citizens of India have been struggling for more than 500 days with so many hardships and difficulties. When all is said and done, we seriously think and feel that “Something is rotten in the state of India.”
The PMO, DAE, NPCIL, AERB and the Indian State must put the interests of Indian citizens first, convert the still born KKNPP into something useful, envision alternative energy futures and create a win-win situation for the Indian citizens and the State.
As Horatio replied to Marcellus that “Heaven will direct it,” may the Heavens direct the State of India to sanity, stability and security!
The Struggle Committee
The People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE)
Idinthakarai & P. O. 627 104
Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 28 Jan 2013.
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