We strongly oppose the joint statement between UK and India signed during PM Modi’s visit to London, which calls for renewed push in the civil nuclear sector. The nuclear cooperation is absurd and dangerous for a number of reasons:
- The nuclear industry is facing terminal crisis in the UK, particularly with Hinkley Point coming under strong criticism for the its staggering cost and environmental impacts. UK itself is embarking on nuclear deals with China to import reactors, a move that has been called disastrous by the energy and safety experts in the country.
- In India, there have been intense protests by farmers and local communities against the proposed reactor sites where nuclear plants imported after the Indo-US nuclear deal are being set up. These protests have raised a wide array of issues – the local issues of livelihoods and environmental damage, the generic problems of nuclear energy and its inherently unsafe nature, the adverse economics of nuclear power and its undesirability for India’s nuclear future, the much worse safety culture in India owing to a non-independent regulator and a totally unaccountable and non-transparent nuclear industry, and the global shift away from nuclear power in the post-Fukushima world which India stands to miss due to its nuclear obsession.
- The joint statement furthers the dangerous myth of nuclear being a clean energy and a solution to climate change. Nothing could be farther from the truth. While nuclear does have substantial carbon foot-print from mining to the fabrication of high-grade concrete and other equipments, it cannot address climate change simply because climate change is a much more immediate challenge and nuclear power plants take typically 12-15 years to be built.
Modi government, ever since assuming power, has only furthered its predecessor’s discredited agenda of a dangerous and anachronistic nuclear policy. On issues like nuclear liability, fresh environmental assessment of Jaitapur and other projects that were hurriedly pushed by the Manmohan Singh government, and taking into account local people during land acquisition for these projects, the Modi govt has made dangerous and blatantly undemocratic u-turns from the stance of BJP itself when it was in opposition.
We demand an immediate scrapping of all such nuclear agreements, a moratorium on projects in the pipeline and an open and democratic national debate in India about nuclear energy.
For CNDP –
Achin Vanaik, Anil Chaudhary, Lalita Ramdas, Abey George, Kumar Sundaram