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India’s government just doesn’t ‘get it’ on popular opposition to nuclear power

Koodankulam struggle: Western nations are learning from their mistakes, India is notThe Weekend Leader,   By Nityanand Jayaraman & Sundar Rajan, Chennai, 30 Nov 2011, Since August 2011, Tamil Nadu has witnessed renewed protests against the commissioning of the first of two 1,000 MW power plants as part of the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP).

While protests have been ongoing against the project since the proposal was mooted in 1988, the impending commissioning of the reactors in light of the devastating and uncontrollable nuclear meltdown in Fukushima, Japan, has rightly triggered a wave of concern among thinking people in India.

The protest against nuclear power plants is not isolated to Koodankulam. Even as we speak, fisherfolk and farmers in Jaitapur, Maharashtra, and farmers and residents of Gorakhpur, Haryana, are saying a loud “No” to nuclear power plants in their area. Haripur, West Bengal, which was to be a site for Russian reactors, will no longer be on the nuclear map, as the state government bowed to local sentiment and declared West Bengal a nuclear-free state.

Wise people do learn from others’ mistakes. Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Belgium and Japan have all announced that they will move away from the nuclear option, and explore clean and sustainable forms of electricity generation.

But India’s chest-thumping “nucleocracy” wants to play the death game, with peasants and fisherfolk as pawns in the gamble.The staunch and united protests by farmers, traders and fisherfolk in Tirunelveli, Kanyakumari and Thoothukudi have scared the nuclear establishment.

Faced with the real prospect of having to abandon the project, the Congress-led UPA government is doing what it does best — divide and rule; communalise the issue and allege that foreign hands are at play…..

November 30, 2011 - Posted by | India, opposition to nuclear

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