We Need A Nuclear-Free India: Resolution from Koodankulam Convention

Resolution of National Convention of Anti-Nuclear Movements Idinthakarai (Tamilnadu):

At every site where a nuclear power plant is proposed or already built, local communities have put up a fierce resistance highlight the inherent dangers of nuclear power and the undemocratic manner in which it is sought to be thrust on them. These projects, which are promoted as engines of “development” are pushed through despite the opposition and through strong-arm tactics by the state. Democracy is the inevitable victim in this pursuit of development. In contrast, in countries like Germany, nuclear facilities cannot be set up without winning a referendum in the locality where they are to be located. Even as we make this resolution, the Prime Minister is set to lay the foundation stone for NPCIL’s 700MW nuclear plant in Gorakhpur, Haryana, amidst widespread protests.

Koodankulam Convention

The plant will draw precious irrigation water away from fields, desiccating the fertile lands for a project of questionable effect. Across the country, parcels of Indian soil are being handed over to the French, the Americans and the Russians to set up nuclear projects. Dr. Manmohan Singh and the Congress party have proved beyond doubt that they are agents of colonisation. As a person who hailed the signing of the controversial Indo-US nuclear deal as the pinnacle of his achievements as a Prime Minister, Dr. Singh has been consistent in declaring which side he is on. The profusion of public private partnerships, the efforts to privatise cash-rich public institutions like the LIC, the facilitation of FDI in retail, the handing over of natural resources to multinational corporations and the privatisation of every sector barring the parliament is a clear indication of the ongoing decolonisation.

The promotion of large centralised electricity production projects is mere smokescreens to hide the obvious issues of corruption, opacity, inefficiencies and inequities in the electricity sector. How else would one explain the fact that while Mukesh Ambani’s Antilla pays a monthly electricity bill of Rs. 76 lakhs, 400 million people in India live without electricity. How else would one justify the fact that more electricity can be provided by reining in inefficiencies in the production, transmission, distribution and consumption of electricity than can be generated if all the proposed nuclear power plants were to materialise? At a conservative estimate, more than 27 percent of electricity generated in India is lost in transmission and distribution due to ageing and inefficient transformers, capacitors and other equipment. International best practices can bring such losses to less than 7 percent. For India’s installed capacity of around 200,000 MW, such a loss-cutting exercise will yield 40,000 MW without having to add a single MW of capacity. At Rs. 50 lakhs/MW, freeing up electricity by reducing losses is far cheaper than the Rs. 20 crores/MW required for nuclear projects, or Rs. 8 crores/MW for coal.

If bridging the electricity deficit is the objective, why then is the Government pursuing capital intensive nuclear projects that are unpopular and beset with huge cost and time over runs, rather than opt for the non-controversial efficiency enhancement projects or renewable energy schemes? The Indian Government’s enthusiasm to dilute nuclear liability laws to immunise nuclear equipment suppliers is a dead giveaway of its perverted loyalties.

The major national parties do not differ in their readiness to sacrifice democracy and the interests of future generations and local communities in the pursuit of their questionable nuclear agendas. The Indian nuclear establishment has expressed interest in amending the Indian Atomic Energy Act, 1962, to facilitate privatisation. While private companies will make money, Indian taxpayers and ordinary citizens will bear the cost of dealing with all the liabilities such as nuclear waste, decommissioning, and possible accidents.

The Idinthakarai Convention declares that the Indo-US nuclear deal is one of the biggest disasters in independent India, and has paved the way for recolonisation of India with a renewed vigour. The Convention expresses its solidarity with all struggles against privatisation in general, and in particular to those who are currently engaged in resisting nuclear projects in Fatehabad, Haripur, Jaitapur, Kovvada, Mithi Virdi, Banswada, Chutka, Koodankulam, Kalpakkam, Thevaram, Madurai, Manavalakurichi, Pazhayakayal and Jadugoda.

Pictures from the convention, by Lalita Ramdas:
(Please click on the pictures to see them in larger size)

One Comment

    Join discussion: leave a comment