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No Imported Nuclear Plants, No Compromise Safety via People’s Democracy

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The mega nuclear parks planned to be set up in Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh with US reactors would also be costly. The whole idea of importing nuclear reactors on such a large scale is unviable and is part of a flawed plan for energy security.

 

The CPI(M) is totally opposed to the import of nuclear reactors for power generation as they would be costly and unsustainable. When India has indigenously produced the PHWR, it is totally unnecessary to go in for the Light Water Reactors or the French EPR.

 

Further, in all the sites selected for the mega nuclear parks there are serious issues of displacement of people from their lands and their livelihood. After the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan in March 2011, the question of the safety of nuclear power plants has come to the fore.  It has become clear that setting up of six reactors at a single site as in Fukushima is fraught with serious risks and hazards.

 

The CPI(M) is opposed to the proposed nuclear parks being set up with multiple imported nuclear reactors. In this context, questions are being asked about the Party’s stand with regard to the Kudankulam nuclear power plant. Why is it that the Party has not supported the demand for shutting down the two nuclear reactors bought from Russia being commissioned there? These two reactors which have been installed in Kudankulam fall in a different category. These reactors were purchased from Russia much before the Indo-US nuclear deal. Construction to set up the two reactors has already been completed at an overall cost of Rs 15,000 crore. It will not be practical nor in the country’s interests to shut down these two units.

 

This stand of the CPI(M) is criticised by some as adopting a different position to that taken regarding the Jaitapur and other nuclear parks. This criticism has come mainly from those who do not want civilian nuclear power and nuclear power plants in India.

 

The main reason for the agitation by the local people against the plant has been the fears for their safety. This became pronounced after the Fukushima disaster. There are genuine apprehensions among the people regarding the safety of a nuclear plant in their area and their concerns should be taken seriously. The CPI(M) had stated last year when the agitation began that till all the safety measures are put in place and the apprehensions of the people allayed, the plant should not be commissioned. The Party wanted an independent safety review to be undertaken. However, the government and the Department of Atomic Energy did not do so. They have not clarified if all the safety measures recommended by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board have been put in place. Nor has it made public the Safety Analysis Report.

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