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    » 03/21/2012, 00.00

    INDIA

    Tamil Nadu: 200 people arrested, including a priest, in anti-nuclear protest



    People peacefully demonstrate against the Kudankulam plant approved by the government. Jesuit priest says India needs nuclear plant. For him, it is crucial for "maintaining the energy security of India, reducing atmospheric pollution and gaining economic benefits". People must be educated on the matter.

    Chennai (AsiaNews) - Two days ago, police in Tamil Nadu arrested about 200 people following clashes between security forces and anti-nuclear protesters. Fr Suseelan, a priest from the village of Koottapuli, and some members of his parish, were among those arrested. They had joined the more than 5,000 people demonstrating against the construction of the Kudankulam nuclear power station. Members of civil society, including former judges, writers, scientists, academics, filmmakers and lawyers oppose the government's decision to build the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP).

    People were arrested under Sections 121 ('Waging, or attempting to wage war, or abetting waging of war, against the Government of India'), 121A ('Conspiracy to [. . .] overawe, by means of criminal force or the show of criminal force, the Central Government) and 153A ('Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language') of the Indian Penal Code.

    An agreement to build a Soviet-made plant was signed in 1988, but began only in 1997. Since then, supply problems and local opposition have delayed construction. And since last year's Fukushima accident, residents near the site are even more concerned and have begun protesting on a regular basis.

    Fr S. Ignacimuthu sj, director of the Entomology Research Institute at Loyola College in Chennai, is instead in favour of the Kudankulam plant. "Nuclear power can play a larger role in maintaining the energy security of India, reducing atmospheric pollution and gaining economic benefits," he said.

    In his view, people are influenced more by certain accidents involving nuclear plants (like the one in Fukushima) than by the advantages they can bring.

    "Nuclear energy does not release greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, and chlorofluorocarbon) during nuclear reaction," he explained. It "does not create pollution and acid rain" and its "operating costs are relatively low and stable". If built correctly, they are safe.

    Of course, the "disposal of nuclear waste is a major task" but it can be done. India can take advantage of its geological stable formations.

    Other "energy sources such as coal, hydroelectric, gas, wind, solar, refuse-based, and biomass yield very less amount of electricity and they have many disadvantages," including environmental ones.

    For these reasons, a nuclear plant is crucial for sustainable development in India. People should be educated about these new forms of energy.

    Nuclear power is the fourth-largest source of electricity in India, and meets 3 per cent of its needs. At present, 20 reactors are in operation in six plants, generating 4.780 MW of electricity. They are: Kaiga (Karnataka), 880 MW; Kakrapar (Gujarat), Kalpakkam (Tamil Nadu), Narora (Uttar Pradesh), 440 MW each; Rawatbhata (Rajasthan) 1.180 MW; and Taraour (Maharashtra), 1.400 MW. (NC)

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    See also

    09/08/2012 INDIA
    Tuticurin bishop calls for a stop to nuclear plant that endangers people
    Mgr Yvon Ambroise criticises the Kudankulam station (Tamil Nadu) for its shortcomings and the government for its indifference. For about a year, 50,000 people are on a rotating fast demanding the plant be shut down. The Church backs them through its prayers. Growth and development are necessary but not at the cost of human lives.

    11/09/2012 INDIA
    Police violence against antinuclear protesters: two dead and a church profaned
    The victims are a fisherman of 44 and a 6 year-old girl. The man was killed by a shot fired by the police, the little girl was crushed. A priest denounces the "atrocities" committed by police: attacks on unarmed and non-violent protesters; statues of the Madonna destroyed and desecrated.

    22/10/2013 INDIA
    Tamil Nadu: controversial Kudankulam nuclear power plant begins operating
    The Indian-Russian plant starts up just as Indian Prime Minister Singh and Russian President Putin meet in Moscow summit. For years, the project suffered delays, especially because of protests by local residents fearful that pollution caused by discharges might contaminate the Bay of Bengal.

    15/03/2012 INDIA
    Tamil Nadu, new Church and fishermen protests against the Koodankulam nuclear plant
    The fishermen also want to unfreeze the bank accounts of the diocesan NGO run by Msgr. Yvon Ambroise, Bishop of Tuticorin. The government stops all funds, accusing them of finance anti-nuclear demonstrations with foreign money. The bishop sends a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to seek to resolve the situation.

    23/09/2011 INDIA
    Bishop and residents against construction of Kudankalam nuclear power plant
    The chief minister of the state stops the Indo-Russian nuclear plant project and the people break their hunger strike. Bishop Yvon Ambroise: "The Church is supporting this good cause," because "people's lives are more valuable than any investment."



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