Kudankulam nuke plant row intensifies as activist slams govt's atomic energy body

   Apr 18, 12:11 pm

Chennai, Apr 18 (ANI): Criticizing the Department of Atomic Energy, anti-nuclear activist Neeraj Jain has urged the Central Government to halt operations at existing plants such as Tamil Nadu's Kudankulam project.

"If nuclear plants around the world, not just in India, (but) around the world, are not shut down, sooner or later, another major accident is bound to happen anywhere in the world. The possibility of it happening in India is even more large because our Department of Atomic Energy is amongst the most inefficient in the world," Jain told media here.

Jain further asked the government to explain why it was risking the lives of thousands of its citizens by refusing to shut down the Kudankulam nuclear project.

"You are playing with the lives of lakhs of people living in South India, because if there is a major accident in Kudankulam, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and South Karnataka will be contaminated for thousands of years," he said.

Jain said: "Again, after the Fukushima (disaster), they ordered a safety review. No one knows what happened. They just declared our plants are safe. So, we are trusting the safety of these huge reactors being built in Kudankulam, in Jaitapur, in Kovada, on a department, which is known to be inefficient, where, in the small nuclear reactors, there have been numerous occasions when a Chernobyl type accident very nearly happened."

"You see, nuclear energy is inherently very dangerous. In a nuclear reactor, during the fission reaction, more than 200 types of deadly new radioactive elements are created. The nuclear fuel which results in the reactor is a billion times more radioactive than the earlier nuclear fuel," he added.

For the past few months, Kudankulam remained the epicentre of a wave of heated protests, with environmental activists and agitators' voicing their ire at what they said was the government's apathy towards the dangers posed by the plant.

Established in a joint collaboration between India and Russia, the Kudankulam nuclear power project envisaged to build two 1,000 MW VVER type reactors by December 2011.

The Kudankulam power station is one of several planned power projects that are seen as vital to plugging huge electricity shortages that have damaged economic growth.

India suffers from a peak-hour power deficit of about 12 percent that acts as a brake on an economy growing at nearly 8 percent and causes blackouts in much of the country.

About 40 percent of Indians, or 500 million people, lack electricity, as per a 2011 estimate. (ANI)

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