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Ex-Navy chief for gasoline-based power project at Kudankulam

Special Correspondent
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Shun nuclear energy:Vice-Admiral L. Ramdas (retd.) with his wife Lalitha Ramdas and activist Achin Vanaik (right), addressing reporters in Chennai on Saturday.— Photo: S.S. Kumar
Shun nuclear energy:Vice-Admiral L. Ramdas (retd.) with his wife Lalitha Ramdas and activist Achin Vanaik (right), addressing reporters in Chennai on Saturday.— Photo: S.S. Kumar

If India's gross domestic product growth could reach 7.5 per cent from 3.5 per cent over the years without further addition of nuclear energy, the country can achieve similar growth in 100 years without nuclear power, said former Naval chief Vice-Admiral (retired) L. Ramdas on Saturday.

Vice-Admiral Ramdas, who was part of a team of writers, artists and intellectuals who visited Kudankulam on March 15 and 16, told reporters that nuclear plants contributed only 2.5 per cent of the power requirements, while the rest came from non-nuclear plants.

Asked whether the investment of Rs.14,000 crore into the nuclear power plants in Kudankulam could be allowed to go waste, the former Naval chief pointed out that technology was available to convert the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) into a gasoline-based one.

“Of late the US has not built any single nuclear power plant and converted them into gasoline-based plants. Moreover, solar concentration technology can be used to generate 1500 Celsius to run the turbines in these power plants,” he said.

As compared to so many scams involving loss of thousands of crores to the exchequer, the amount invested in Kudankulam was nothing.

On the allegations that the anti-nuclear protests in Kudankulam received funds from foreign countries, activist Achin Vanaik said that the movement against nuclear project was being sustained by contributions from local people, who had come forward to pay a day's salary.

Pointing out that the government, through its campaign, had succeeded in diverting the anti-nuclear protests into anti-patriotic acts, Prof. Vanaik said there was a fear that the government had prepared the ground for “repressive measures” and “physical attack”.

He alleged that though experts team led by nuclear scientist M.R. Srinivasan could complete its inspection in a few hours and express satisfaction over the safety measures, it refused to meet the people who had assembled outside the plant.

Women's right activist Lalitha Ramdas said that the protest against the nuclear plant was going on for 20 years and was not fully understood or was neglected.

Ms. Ramdas, one of the signatories of the memorandum sent to Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, said women were in the forefront and their intensity, commitment and vocal opposition and proved that they were running a battle for life itself.

“Please take their side, please take our side and call an immediate halt to this mindless project.”

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