News Courtesy: Times of India

Fissures in the CPM came to the fore yet again with CPM general secretary Prakash Karat on Thursday calling for a stop on the commissioning of nuclear reactors, including the ones requisitioned for Haripur in East Midnapore. Karat’s announcement marked a U-turn on an issue that chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had been advocating.

“Our party has been opposing the installation of the pressurised water reactors at Jaitapur in Maharashtra, planned as the world’s largest nuclear plant. Nuclear power experts say that it is an untested technology unknown to its developer Areva, let alone the Nuclear Power Corporation. They want a review of the commissioning of such reactors. We want an end to such nuclear reactors all over the country until the review is over. We have been saying this long before the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan,” the CPM general secretary said.

Karat’s announcement sealed Buddhadeb’s urge for nuclear power. During the debate on nuclear power as part of the Indo-US nuclear deal in 2009, the CM had vociferously argued for nuclear power in Bengal on grounds that fossil fuel could not cater to the state’s rising energy demand.

Putting forward his argument, the CM had said that the state needed to come out of its “over-dependence” on thermal power, which constitutes a high 97 % of the state’s aggregate generation, and strike a judicious mix with other sources of clean energy.

In fact, a sizeable section within the Bengal CPM has been in favour of nuclear power since long. Old-timers would recall that a committee under the chief secretary was also set up during Jyoti Basu’s tenure to find out suitable sites for nuclear power. But the entire plan had to be shelved because of stiff opposition in the CPM’s state secretariat.

The CM was the first among his party men to openly advocate nuclear power. He came out of the old mindset and took up the issue soon after the Left Front was re-elected in 2006. And he was pursuing his plan despite canards from a section of environmentalists and social activists until his party showed him the red card.

Karat went against all such installations including the proposed one at Haripur. “We are not experts in this field. But when top nuclear experts want a review before going ahead with nuclear power, India should wait and stop the commissioning at least for now,” the CPM general secretary said. The announcement comes at a time when CPM activists are facing a tough time addressing fishermen families at Haripur in East Midnapore during the polls.

The CM was the first among his party men to openly advocate nuclear power. He took up the issue soon after the Left Front was re-elected in 2006. And he was pursuing his plan despite canards from a section of environmentalists and social activists until his party showed him the red card.

 

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata-/Karat-pulls-the-plug-on-CMs-N-power-plan/articleshow/8053119.cms