Engaging Psychiatrists to Counsel Anti-Nuke Protesters is an Abuse of Our Science: Statement from INDIAN DOCTORS FOR PEACE AND DEVELOPMENT

Statement from the Indian Doctors for Peace and Development


Indian Doctors for Peace and Development is an affiliate of International Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW).

The move of the Indian government to engage Psychiatrists to counsel the anti- nuclear protestors at Koodankulam is very perturbing. Opposition to the nuclear power plants is not based on any delusion but on scientific evidence of the effects of nuclear radiation on not only human health but all the flora and fauna around. This opposition is not just at Koodankulam but worldwide. There are ample scientific studies to prove the detrimental effect of nuclear radiation including the one carried out by Indian Doctors for Peace and Development (IDPD) on the “Effect on Health of People Living Around Jadugoda Uranium Mines,” which shows statistically significant effect on the health of the people. Fears of the people around the Koodankulam plant are therefore justified and need to be addressed by the government rather than the witch hunting they are doing. People who think of a safe environment, the well-being of masses, social justice, co-existence, not competing with nature and reducing the wealth gap are the sanest people. This whole exercise by the government is unethical and smells of some business deals.

No one can ever say with 100% authenticity that there can never be an accident in a nuclear power plant or any other industry so to say anywhere in the world. Who could imagine the disaster at Fukushima in Japan which is known for one of the best technological applications and disaster management? On the contrary the track record of disaster management in India is extremely dismal. We are till date unable to cope up with the Bhopal gas tragedy.

A team of doctors from International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) including IDPD is likely to visit Fukushima in August 2012 to take stock of the ground reality. However, lots of studies have been done on the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident. Based on information from the Belarus National Academy of Sciences, Greenpeace places the figure at 93,000 deaths as a fall out of this accident.

The Belarus National Academy of Sciences estimates 270,000 people in the region around the accident site will develop cancer as a result of Chernobyl radiation. Another report by the Center for Independent Environmental Assessment of the Russian Academy of Sciences found a dramatic increase in mortality since 1990—60,000 deaths in Russia and an estimated 140,000 deaths in Ukraine and Belarus—probably due to Chernobyl radiation.

The biggest challenge facing communities still coping with the fallout of Chernobyl is the psychological damage to 5 million people in Belarus, Ukraine and Russia. “The psychological impact is now considered to be Chernobyl’s biggest health consequence,” according to Louisa Vinton, of the UNDP. “People have been led to think of themselves as victims over the years, and are therefore more apt to take a passive approach toward their future rather than developing a system of self-sufficiency.”

It is high time, therefore, that the Indian government pays more attention to the renewable energy resources which are inexhaustible and non-hazardous in our country. The Japanese have already put a stop to the nuclear power plants and so are many other countries.

Dr L S Chawla
President IDPD

Dr Arun Mitra
General Secretary IDPD

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