Stop Koodankulam and Start a National Debate on Energy Policy: Rajya Sabha MP demands

Ali Anwar, Member of Parliament

Shri Ali Anwar, member of Rajya Sabha from Janta Dal (United) made a special mention of the ongoing people’s movement in Koodankulam against the nuclear power project. He demanded an immediate moratorium on the reactor and an open national debate on energy future of India. He questioned the relevance of nuclear energy for India’s energy requirements. He also demanded that the imprisoned fisherfolk, women and innocent people of Koodankulam must be released immediately.

Here is his full statement:

Despite the Prime Minister’s pledge after Fukushima disaster that nuclear projects in India will be implemented only after consulting people, official committees in Koodankulam have refused to meet people’s representatives or share relevant information with them, including site safety and environmental impact assessment reports.

There have been wholesale arrests and gross violations of the fundamental rights of free expression, association and peaceful protest. Thousands of FIRs (according to one estimate, over 55,000) have been filed and hundreds of people (up to 6,980) have been charged with sedition.

The government, NPCIL and Department of Atomic Energy trivialise the inherent hazards of nuclear power, including cancer-causing radiation, potential for catastrophic accidents like Chernobyl and Fukushima, risks of leaks from high-level waste storage which persist for tens of thousands of years.

Koodankulam poses grave design- and site-specific hazards, including volcanic and seismic activity, poor emergency cooling systems, and absence of an independent freshwater supply source. NPCIL is in flagrant breach of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board’s siting regulations, including a 1.5-kilometre zero-population zone, and the stipulation to conduct full-scale off-site emergency exercises within a 16-km radius before beginning live fuel-loading.

There has been no inclusive discussion of India’s energy policy with reference to safety, climate change, economic and environmental costs, and equitable access to electricity, which is denied to 40 percent of our people. An independent citizens’ commission, including non-government experts and people’s representatives, must assess India’s energy needs and the relevance of nuclear energy.





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