“Countries around world are closing down nuclear power plants”

While countries around the world are closing down nuclear power plants in the wake of three deadly accidents, India is commissioning new plants, said Prashant Bhushan, senior lawyer and Team Anna member, on Saturday.

Addressing a gathering at Idinthakarai, the hub of anti-nuclear protests near Kudankulam, he said though Japan generated 34 per cent of its power from nuclear reactors, all its reactors had been closed down now, following the Fukushima accident.

Pointing to the struggle of anti-nuclear activists at Idinthakarai, he said they had every right to fight for their cause. The region was vulnerable to earthquake, he stressed, highlighting geological, hydrological and oceanographic issues.

The Centre should have published on its website the nuclear safety audit of all nuclear plants as promised. But it had not done so. An independent body should have been constituted at least to look into safety aspects, but no effort had been made in this direction.

As per Atomic Energy Regulation Board regulations, KKNPP should keep fresh water for 60 days to sustain the plant at times of crisis. But, it had a capacity to store water only for seven days that too from a desalination plant manufactured in Israel.

No public hearing was conducted before starting the plant. Expert committees constituted by both the governments did not serve any purpose. Nuclear power is not cheap, he said, adding that India was closer to the equator and plenty of sunshine was available. Hence, solar energy could be tapped easily.

Collector meets panchayat presidents

Collector R. Selvaraj convened a meeting here on Saturday with 13 panchayat presidents of coastal villages and sought their lists of schemes for developing infrastructure and augmenting basic facilities.

Chief Minister Jayalalitha had recently announced a Rs.500-crore package for infrastructural developments at Idinthakari and neighbouring costal villages.

M. Pushparayan, a People's Movement Against Nuclear Energy activist, demanded the release of 30 people who had been detained on charges of sedition. As many as 148 persons held on similar charges were freed on conditional bail on March 29.