Proposed Nuclear Power Plant Spurs Protests and Repression in India

Indian activists protest nuclear power. DIBYANGSHU SARKAR/AFP/Getty Images

The struggle for the right to information, local consent, and a healthy environment has gone on for years at the site of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant – at India’s far southern tip. Now, after the disastrous failure of the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan, and with the Kudankulam plant nearing completion, the protests have intensified.

And so has the repression of over 100,000 protesters’ rights to gather peacefully and speak up against the plant.

On one side are opponents of the plant, mostly local, who fear that proper safety precautions have not been taken at a site affected by tsunamis and earthquakes. They would surely bear the heaviest burden should anything go wrong at the plant.

Some have asked why the plant is being built in remote rural Tamil Nadu instead of near Delhi. They have not been properly informed or consulted by authorities about the plant and its risks, which threatens the lives and livelihoods of these fishing communities. Protesters have peacefully demonstrated, carried out extended hunger strikes, and surrendered their voter IDs in protest. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Nuclear Power Plant Protesters Charged With Sedition

Tamil Nadu Nuclear Plant Protes

courtesy of the Indian Muslim Observer

You would think that after the massive 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and last year’s nuclear calamity at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi plant, Indian authorities might consider more closely the potential threats posed by the country’s many nuclear power plants.

But unlike some countries that have spurned the aggressive pursuit of nuclear power post-Fukushima, India presses on full speed ahead. Barely five months after the Fukushima disaster and despite serious concerns about India’s readiness for a similar accident, India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said: