Anti-nuclear group flay govt move

Chennai: The Centre`s announcement of setting up of an expert group to allay fears over Koodankulam nuclear plant has not been received favourably by anti-nuclear activists who have resumed their protests against the project. Activists with the People`s Movement against Nuclear Energy said they plan to intensify their stir, as the Centre is not ready to scrap the Indo-Russian project.

“Announcements like this (a high-level panel addressing safety concerns) comes with a patronising kind of attitude. You can`t disregard the mood of people in the locality,” said Bangalore-based Karuna Raina, an activist associated with Greenpeace. “You just can`t reduce everything to public relations. The locals have not understood…You are going to explain them things which they already do not accept,” Raina said.

Raina, who recently visited Japan to measure and study the radiation levels in areas near Fukushima nuclear plant, found it much higher than the accepted level and contended “nuclear energy can be very disastrous if something goes wrong.” “When there are disasters happening across the world, why are we so stubborn to go with it? Can the government forget what happened in Kaiga in 2009 or Mayapuri in 2010?,” she asked.

In their defence, senior Department of Atomic Energy official Prabhat Kumar at Kalpakkam Atomic Power Station said the activists were either “misinformed or not informed” and it was for the department to “explain” things to them. Kumar said, “Safety in nuclear energy was better than any other industry.”

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had announced that an expert group would be set up to allay the safety concerns, but just two days later anti KNPP activists resumed their agitation with a three-day fast demanding scrapping of the project.