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17.03.2011 Feature Article

Citizens demand to stop India's nuclear programme

Recent nuclear emergency in Japan leaves no doubt that this world needs to renounce nuclear power for military and civil/ energy purposes, as soon as possible, to put an end to any further catastrophe in the name of 'energy', 'power' or 'technology'. Humankind has only seen unprecedented and uncontrollable devastation, misery and agony due to nuclear accidents over the past years or atom bomb strikes in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. Nuclear power is clearly the most dangerous options for civil or military use - and - time is running out before we can act upon nuclear disarmament in the world.

India's (and US') much touted Indo-US Nuclear Deal and all previously existing nuclear programmes must be renounced for humanity.

Also governments need to pay heed to people's voices. Sane voices of peace activists like former Navy Chief Ramdas, Dr Sandeep Pandey, and others have been opposing nuclear energy and nuclear weapons both since close to two decades.

To raise public consciousness and demand an end to India's nuclear programme, a demonstration will be held in city centre of Lucknow by the citizens on 18th March 2011.

"Even after more than 65 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 Dr Sandeep Pandey, Magsaysay Awardee and member, national presidium of Lok Rajniti Manch.

"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.

The nuclear accidents in Japan this year has clearly demonstrated how potentially dangerous nuclear power can be. Japan had never built a nuclear bomb because it never wanted any country, last of all its own citizens, to face the heart-wrenching calamity as that of Hiroshima or Nagasaki. Japan only had used nuclear power for energy purposes and the World is a witness how dangerous are the outcomes if things go wrong! (even with nuclear power plant). India, not only boasts of a considerable nuclear energy programme but also had gone ahead and made a bomb - when the ground reality strikes us in the face that it is a country that is home to world's largest number of poor people.

"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 Dr Sandeep Pandey.

It is not that nuclear accidents like those of Japan or Chernobyl should only set the alarm bells ringing. The nuclear accidents of a smaller scale are already killing our own people. 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.

Similarly most of the nuclear power plants in India have faced some or the other accident. For example, the recent tritium poisoning episode at Kaiga Generating Station (KGS) in India, which exposed about 50 employees to increased levels of radiation.

The ominous shadow of accidents like those in Japan will linger on for generations probably, just like Bhopal gas tragedy or Hiroshima-Nagasaki atom bomb strikes that the humanity suffered for so long. What will it take India to vote for peace? (CNS)

Bobby Ramakant – CNS
(The author is a World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General's WNTD Awardee 2008 and writes extensively on health and development through Citizen News Service (CNS). Email: [email protected], website: www.citizen-news.org )

Bobby Ramakant
Bobby Ramakant, © 2011

This author has authored 181 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: BobbyRamakant

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