Statement:

We are shocked at the government’s sheer insensitivity in announcing on the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl catastrophe that it is going ahead with the Jaitapur nuclear power project. This means disregarding the overwhelming opposition to the project by 40,000 local people and the larger public, the caution counselled by numerous experts, and the grave safety concerns raised by the still-unfolding Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan. These concerns are eminently reasonable. Many governments, including those in Germany, China and Switzerland, have taken them on board by adopting a “pause-and-review” approach towards reactor construction. The European Union has ordered “stress tests” on all its 143 reactors lasting many months.

Our government too promised to review its nuclear installations for safety. But the Department of Atomic Energy has conducted a wholly internal, hasty and technologically superficial exercise and declared all installations perfectly safe. This is unconvincing. What is urgently needed is an independent, thorough and transparent review of our nuclear policy and installations by a broadly representative body, which includes non-DAE personnel and civil society representatives. Pending this, projects like Jaitapur must be put on hold and their clearances revoked.

We welcome the government’s intention to separate the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board from the DAE. But the AERB’s responsibilities and powers must be defined in advance and its members selected with exemplary prudence so that only persons with the highest integrity, impartiality, and commitment to the public interest are chosen by a broad-based collegium. This is as important as choosing the Lokpal. The life and death of millions will depend on the AERB. India’s experience with regulatory authorities in telecom, insurance and hydrocarbons is unhappy. We simply cannot afford “regulatory capture” in nuclear matters.

 

Signatories –

 

A Gopalakrishnan, former Chairman, Atomic Energy Regulatory Board
Achin Vanaik, Professor, Political Science, Delhi University
AGK Menon, Architect and conservationist
Amit Bhaduri, Economist, Professor Emeritus, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Amit Sengupta, Journalist, Executive Editor, ‘Hard News’
Amita Baviskar, Sociologist, Delhi School of Economics
Ammu Joseph, Journalist and writer, Bangalore
Amrita Chhachhi, Sociologist, International Institute for Social Studies
Anil Chaudhary, Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace
Anuradha Chenoy, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Arun Mitra, General Secretary, Indian Doctors for Peace and Development
Aruna Roy, Mazdoor Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, Rajasthan
Arundhati Roy, Writer and Social Activist
Banwarilal Sharma, Azadi Bachao Andolan
Bharati Chaturvedi, Chitan Environmental Group
Bharti Kher, Sculptor
C Rammanohar Reddy, Editor, ‘Economic and Political Weekly’, Mumbai
Darryl D’Monte, Environmental journalist and writer, Mumbai
Deepak Nayyar, Economist and former Vice-Chancellor, Delhi University
Dunu Roy, Environment and Safety Activist, Hazards Centre, Delhi
EAS Sarma, Former Power Secretary, Government of India, Vishakhapatnam
Geeta Kapoor, Art critic, historian and writer
Girish Sant, Energy specialist, Prayas, Pune
Gulam Mohammed Shaikh, Artist, Baroda/Delhi
Harsh Kapoor, Social and Internet Activist, Delhi
Imrana Qadeer, Public Health Researcher, former JNU Professor, Delhi
Jagdeep Chhokar, former Professor, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad
Jaya Mehta, Economist and activist, Indore/Delhi
K Ashok Rao, Engineer, leader of public sector officers’ union
K. Sujatha Rao, Former Health Secretary, government of India.
Kamal Mitra Chenoy, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Kamala Bhasin, Feminist Activist, SANGAT
KN Panikkar, Historian, formerly JNU, now in Kerala
Krishen Khanna, Artist
Kuldip Nayar, Columnist, former High Commissioner to the UK
L Ramdas, Former Chief of Naval Staff, India
Lalita Ramdas, Educator and Social Activist, Raigad district, Konkan,Maharashtra
Lawrence Surendra, Environmental economist, Mysore
LS Chawla, President, Indian Doctors for Peace and Development
Meher Engineer, ex-Professor of Physics, Bose Institute, Kolkata
Mushirul Hasan, Director, National Archives of India, former vice-chancellor, Jamia Millia
MV Ramana, Physicist, currently at Princeton University
Navroz K Dubash, Senior Fellow, Centre for Policy Research, Delhi
Nikhil Desai, Energy economist and environmentalist, Ahmedabad
Nikhil Dey, Mazdoor Kisan Sangharsh Samiti Activist, Rajasthan
Nirupam Sen, Former Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations
Pamela Philipose, Director, Women’s Feature Service
PM Bhargava, Former Director, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad
Praful Bidwai, Columnist, Nuclear Affairs Analyst
Rajeev Bhargava, Director, Centre for Studies in Developing Societies, Delhi
Ramachandra Guha, Anthropologist and Historian
Ranjit Roy Chaudhury, National Professor of Pharmacology
Ritu Menon, Feminist publisher, editor and writer
Romila Thapar, Historian, Professor Emeritus, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Sadanand Menon, Art Critic and writer, Chennai
Sanjay K Biswas, Professor, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore
Satyajit Mayor, National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore
Satyajit Rath, National Institute of Immunology, Delhi
Seema Mustafa, Columnist and former Editor, ‘The Sunday Guardian’
SG Vasudev, Artist, Bangalore
Shabnam Hashmi, Activist, ANHAD
Sonia Jabbar, Writer and activist
SP Shukla, Former Member, Planning Commission and Finance Secretary, GoI
Subodh Gupta, Sculptor and artist
Sudhir Chandra, Historian, Baroda university
Sudhir Chella Rajan, Indian Institute of Technology, Madras
Sudhir G Vombatkere, former Major General, the Indian Army
Sujata Patel, Professor of Sociology, University of Hyderabad
Sujatha Byravan, Molecular biologist and safe food campaigner, Chennai
Surendra Gadekar, ANUMUKTI, Vedchi, Gujarat
Sumit Sarkar, Historian, Delhi
Suvrat Raju, Physicist, Harish Chandra Institute, Allahabad
Tani Bhargava, Social Activist, Delhi
Tanika Sarkar, Professor of History, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Vandana Shiva, Ecofeminist and writer-activist
Vineeta Bal, Immunologist
Vinod C Khanna, Indian Foreign Service (Retd)
Vishnu Bhagwat, Former Chief of Naval Staff, Dapoli, Ratnagiri district, Maharashtra
Vivan Sundaram, Artist
Zoya Hasan, Political scientist, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi