Carrying placards that read, “No More Chernobyls! No More Fukushimas!,” activists representing a coalition of anti-nuclear and human rights groups held a protest outside the Indian High Commission here on Friday, demanding a halt to the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) and withdrawal of police and court cases against anti-KKNPP protesters.
They said that at a time when Germany, France, Italy and Japan were turning away from nuclear power, India was “setting up new ones with no consideration for the safety of its people.”
A letter addressed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, signed by several British MPs and members of the European Parliament, was handed to the High Commission.
It said the project violated the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)'s safety guidelines as it was in “a tsunami and earthquake-prone region.”
It was “also in violation of the mandatory requirement for construction of fresh water reservoirs.”
“The primary cause for all major accidents such as at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima was lack of fresh water,” the letter said, expressing “deep concern” over the project's environmental impact.
Signatories included Labour MPs Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell, Mary Glindon and Paul Flynn; Green Party's Caroline Lucas and its MEP Keith Taylor ; Kate Hudson of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament; and Estella Schmid of the Campaign against Criminalising Communities (CACC).
Protesters criticised the government for accusing anti-KKNPP activists of being backed by foreign money.
“The fact is that the Indian nuclear programme itself is backed heavily by foreign corporates,” said Amrit Wilson of the South Asia Solidarity Group (SASG).
Ms. Lucas said she was “deeply worried” about the situation in Kudankulam.
“I very much hope that the Indian authorities will take notice of today's important protest in London,” she said.
The letter to Dr. Singh and Ms. Jayalalithaa warned that the project would have “serious consequences for the life and ecology of the whole of peninsular India” and demanded that all relevant information relating to the project be made public.
Signatories accused the authorities of using “draconian measures” to put down anti-KKNPP protests and alleged that “non-violent protesters are being intimidated, harassed, imprisoned, and falsely charged.”
The groups represented at the protest included the SASG, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, the CACC, Foil Vedanta, South-West Against Nuclear, and Globalise Resistance.