Strong opposition by the villagers of Kudankulam to the nuclear power plant
Strong opposition by the villagers of Kudankulam to the nuclear power plant
DAE's atomic plant at Kudankulam witnessed a huge opposition from locals. Keeping the fact in mind that the nuclear reactors in India at various sites have been working safely, were the oppositions justified or was it a political move? What are your views?
Tamil Nadu is one of the states suffering from unprecedented power cuts. However there has been strong opposition by the villagers of Kudankulam to the nuclear power plant. Considering the fact that other reactors in India have been working safely, I wish to analyze the facts and put forth my views on the subject.
A major reason has been the lack of proper communication between the government and the local people on issues related to the nuclear project, land takeover, effects on means of livelihood, fair compensation, displacement fears, treatment of project wastes, environmental hazards, and health issues and so on.
There are a number of nuclear reactors in India at various sites which have been working safely and also in developed nations like USA, Britain, France, Germany and others. The number of reactors set up in these nations for peaceful use of generating power is far more then that in India. No major nuclear hazards have been reported at these reactor plants where power is produced and distributed to residences and industries.
Following are some of the merits of the Kudankulam project:
- The location of the Kudankulam was chosen because it is least earthquake prone
- The height ensures safety from potential tsunamis.
- It's a technologically proven design.
- Two reactors when fully operational will generate 2,000 MW of power
- Inbuilt safety features minimize the risk of any radiation leaks.
In view of the above, the opposition to the project looks unjustified. It seemed to be more of a political plot to stall the project. However, demerits of the project should not be ignored and can be summarized as follows:
- The design of the reactor by a European company is new& untested.
- By nature of the technology involved, all nuclear plants are high risk.
- There are doubts about the cost per unit of nuclear power.
- It's not clear if the environmental impact was credibly verified.
- The storage, disposal of nuclear waste is a cause for concern.
- The impact of an earthquake or a tsunami on people can be devastating.
Taking into account all above positive and negative factors relating to the project, the state and central government should jointly work to hold dialogue with the local people, resolve welfare issues and ensure safe passage for the project by convincing people that the advantages of the project are far greater then the disadvantages. India is a nation of 1.25 billion people and the rising population will definitely require more power projects for its growth. Having said this, is ‘nuclear’ the only way forward for generating power? That is the question that needs a proper and honest reply.
- RE: Strong opposition by the villagers of Kudankulam to the nuclear power plant -Deepa Kaushik (04/17/14)
- Establishment of nuclear power plant is not a matter of joke, but requires an in-depth analysis of the pros and cons. Setting up a nuclear power plant in a residential area is not all that wise decision. Though government justifies its point for the selection of the land due to least seismic zone or least prone to natural calamities, still they fail to look into the health hazards of the people residing in the village.
People of the Kudankulam village are not at fault in opposing the nuclear power plant. Though we have safe nuclear reactors generating power in India so far, still that in no way removes the risk factor of this reactor to be safe too. Whatever safety measures could be followed for the functioning and removal of the radio-active wastes, but we cannot guarantee the nullified effect of the radio-active material on the civilization residing in the same locality.
If government has a lot many reasons to justify the choice of the place for this power plant, why can’t they shift the villagers to a safe place providing them with houses, livelihood, and all the utilities for a peaceful living, same as they have now. This could be a justified solution for the villagers. Coming up to the power concern the other way around, why can’t we try to generate power by alternative means like hydro-electric power and solar panels wherever applicable? To summarize, reasons could be many, but it is not wise to set up a hazardous nuclear power plant in a residential area.
- Strong opposition by the villagers of Kudankulam to the nuclear power plant -Janhvi Johorey (04/04/14)
DAE's atomic plant at Kudankulam witnessed a huge opposition from locals. Were the oppositions justified or was it a political move?
The Kundankulam atomic plant attracts its share of protestors every time there is an attempt by the government and the Department of Atomic Energy to move past the hurdles. As with any issue, there are complex factors at work. Anti nuclear and peace activists often launch politically motivated campaigns for creating an issue where there should be none. This may have been the case at Kundankulam plant. It remains interesting as to why the activists chose to target only this particular plant despite assurances that all safety procedures had been followed.
From forming human chains in the sea close to the plant to ferrying protestors at 500 metres from the plant on the boats, activists have come up with new and innovative ways to protest against the Kundankulam plant. Despite confirmation from the government and the scientists that all safety standards have been met, anti-nuclear protestors even tried to prevent fuel from being loaded on to the plant by placing a petition to the apex court. Activists belonging to the People’s Movement against Nuclear Energy (PANE) gathered fisherman and farmers as well as local protestors from Tirunelvi, Kanyakumari and Thoothukudi to raise their voices against the plant. Their contention was that the entire world is against nuclear power.
They are taking a short-sighted and narrow view of the situation. Only when India acquired nuclear capabilities did our nation find a place among the leading countries when it comes to defence capabilities. National security is of paramount importance and while other nations have gained the benefits of nuclear technology, why should India lag behind? We are not a warring nation. We have maintained peaceful relationships with all our neighbouring countries despite provocation from many quarters. Enhancing nuclear capabilities will improve the status of the nation and inspire confidence and pride among its citizens. Activists are being misguided in their intentions if they are opposing nuclear technology.
The Kundankulam project is critical for meeting the energy needs of our country. This plant is safe but fears purportedly founded on the Fukushima disaster were used as a tool by activists to protest against what they claimed was a nuclear evil. Businesses in this area need power. They are suffering from power shortages. The Kundakulam plant can promote a huge amount of growth and development in this region. The plant aims to generate 63,000 MW of nuclear power by the year 2032. If vested political interests were the reason, they undoubtedly did a huge disservice to the successful execution of this atomic power plant project.
New nuclear projects are currently on the rise in nations such as Iran, Bangladesh, Pakistan, US and Russia. India has the right to keep with the latest advancements in technology. Our scientists are brilliant and we should definitely progress as far as nuclear technology is concerned. The protestors were completely in the wrong and they created delays in the project. Rather than concentrating on the politics of nuclear technology, perhaps the activists should concentrate their energies on other issues. When world class standards of safety and security have been met, there is no reason why the Kundankulam plant should be opposed.
What is in question is the funding obtained by the protestors to organize such campaigns on a massive scale. To what extent were these “anti-nuclear” protestors funded by foreign agencies? What was the nature of foreign involvement in the protests? India should be clear about protecting its national interests. It is clear that the protestors knew very little about the intricacies of how nuclear power plants are safe. When scientist-leaders such as former President Abdul Kalam went to assuage the public that there was no possibility of a Fukushima type disaster at Kundankulam, this failed to pacify the protestors. The nature of funding provided to the protesting agencies and local activists for carrying out this campaign should be thoroughly examined as a precautionary measure. India needs to safeguard its national interests. It also needs to grow and develop. Taking massive strides in nuclear technology is one important step forward in this direction. The activists need to understand this.