Koodankulam: Nuclear Barons Mislead the People

The AEC Chairman has once again made a statement about the risk of the KKNPP “being damaged” by the blockade of the protesting people (The Hindu, 29-10-2011, p. 13). Again he makes a preposterous presumption that the general public or activists know nothing about the working of nuclear power plant. He tells us it cannot be “switched off like a car factory”. What a precious piece of information from the mouth of a sacred high priest of our nuclear sanctum sanctorum! Sir, do you know this is the very reason why we oppose nuclear plants? We know it cannot be switched off once it is started. That is why we demand that it should never be commissioned and that it should be scrapped forever.

The government of India has asked the protesters to suspend their struggle and constituted a 15 member committee to go into the security aspects of KKNPP and to “allay the fears of the public”.  The AEC Chairman and the NPCIL Chairman have sidestepped all due procedures and declared that everything is safe and secure at Koodankulam. They have the audacity to slight the people’s struggle and this statement is a gross violation and breach of trust of the assurances given by the government. Koodankulam has a “beautiful design”, they say. Well and good. But there are others who point out that the VVER design itself is defective and inherently dangerous.

Another insulting remark made by these nuclear bigwigs is about the “foreign assistance” to the struggle. Is this not simply a cheap and baseless allegation, intended to confuse and mislead the public? It is amusing, if not shocking, to see the head of the AEC which has all these years been almost totally dependent on `foreign’ assistance and collaboration for running their secretive establishment and even
now are eager to safeguard the interests of foreign reactor traders even at the expense of risking Indian lives, saying that the protesters are assisted by foreigners. We challenge these nuclear barons to prove their charge.

It is people such as these, making irresponsible statements and working purely out of vested and narrow professional interests that we are supposed to trust about the ‘safe’ running of our nuclear plants – they are in fact more dangerous than nuclear plants themselves. This complacent attitude and contempt for the people even at a time when the nuclear industry is being challenged everywhere since the Fukushima catastrophe, are unpardonable. People such as these on top of a risky establishment such as AEC are a national shame on us.

K.Ramachandran, K.Sahadevan, N.Subrahmanyan, Fr.Augustin, Sajeer.A.R


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