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06.08.2009 Feature Article

Hiroshima Day: Citizens oppose nuclear energy and nuclear weapons

To raise public consciousness about issues related to Indo US Nuclear Deal including the radioactive nuclear energy and life-threatening hazards, a demonstration was held in city centre of Lucknow by citizens opposing both: nuclear energy and nuclear weapons.

"This demonstration is to strengthen efforts towards protecting India's sovereignty, which is under threat as the Indo US Nuclear Deal is going forward" said Dr Sandeep Pandey, Magsaysay Awardee (2002) who heads the National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM).

"Even after 63 years of the most ghastly act of violence on Earth – the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombing in 1945, the country that masterminded that deadly bombing – USA – hasn't apologized even once. The keenness with which India is going ahead with the Indo US Nuclear Deal with USA, is of utmost concern" said Arundhati Dhuru, firebrand social activist of Narmada Bachao Andolan.

"The dream to provide electricity across the country by signing the Indo US Nuclear Deal is not true. Nuclear power is not a safe, affordable or better option for producing electricity. Rather nuclear power is a very dangerous and expensive option. The Indo US Nuclear Deal is actually a political and military deal" further added Dr Pandey.

"There is a deliberate misinformation being created that nuclear plants will be a quick fix to our huge shortages and power cuts. Nuclear plants have to have detailed studies regarding where and how to put them up and take a long time to build. The import of reactors have to be negotiated commercially and their fuel has to be guaranteed. Typically, the entire process takes 8-10 years. It will take not less than 8-10 years before any electricity is produced. And this is an optimistic figure; the last plant that the US commissioned -- the Watts Bar 2 Reactor -- took 23 years to complete. So the belief that nuclear energy will provide an immediate solution to our power crisis is a deliberate fraud on the people" explained Dr Pandey.

"The India US Nuclear Deal is not about India's energy security. Energy security lies in using indigenous energy resources such as coal, gas, hydro, etc., and ensuring our future energy supplies from Iran and other countries in West and Central Asia. Obviously, augmenting indigenous coal production, building hydro plants, investing in oil exploration, securing gas supplies through Iran Gas Pipeline are much more important for India's energy security than buying imported reactors and importing uranium for such nuclear plants" said SR Darapuri, Vice President of People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), UP who is a retired Inspector-General of Police.

"The Nuclear Deal is a part of a larger vision which seeks to subordinate India to the US's strategic vision" further said Darapuri.

The disabilities and diseases attributed to radioactive nuclear radiation have upped in the neighbouring areas where nuclear reactors, nuclear mining or nuclear waste dumping is done in India. Places like Jadugoda, where uranium mining and nuclear waste dumping is carried out, is an example where virtually every household is a living testimony of nuclear radiation hazards. A documentary film, 'Buddha weeps in Jadugoda' showcases the grotesque and gory radiation hazards faced by residents.

Bobby Ramakant, CNS
(The author is a World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General's WNTD Awardee 2002 and writes for Citizen News Service (CNS). Email: [email protected])

Bobby Ramakant
Bobby Ramakant, © 2009

This author has authored 186 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: BobbyRamakant

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