Chernobyl Day: India should stop its nuclear programme and conduct scrutiny

[हिंदी][Photo] 26th April 2011 marks the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster. Together with the ongoing nuclear crisis in Fukushima, Japan, this marks a pivotal moment for us to reflect on the day that changed the world's view on nuclear power. The Chernobyl disaster occurred in 1986. 12 years after in 1998, India conducted its nuclear tests in Pokharan and rushed to join the nuclear club. Now 25 years later since Chernobyl, India has also signed the Indo US Nuclear Deal and the government is hurrying to build several large nuclear power reactors all over India.

"We believe it is time to stop all nuclear programmes and conduct a transparent and open scrutiny and audit of nuclear facilities before India embarks any further on her nuclear roadmap" said Ramon Magsaysay Awardee Dr Sandeep Pandey.

In a seminar organized by Jahangirabad Media Institute (JMI), National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), Citizens for Healthy Lucknow campaign, and Asha Parivar, WHO International Awardee Professor (Dr) Rama Kant and member, national presidium, Lok Rajniti Manch Dr Sandeep Pandey were the keynote speakers.

"Radiation can trigger unconscious long-term effects which are usually even more dangerous. The impact of chronic long-term alias of nuclear radiation would generally be triggered by low levels of radiation that is not realized and are not anticipated until the years. Some of the lethal effects of nuclear radiation exposure due to long-term agreements are as follows: cancers (particularly blood cancer or leukemia), premature aging, nervous system disorders, reproductive and genetic mutation" said Professor (Dr) Rama Kant, President of Indian Doctors for Peace and Development (IDPD), Lucknow and President-elect of Association of Surgeons of India (ASI) 2012.

"Nuclear disaster in Japan was assessed at par with the 26 April 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster (highest alert level 7). One wonders what will Japan's take be on nuclear energy option after this tragedy - the magnitude of which is already nerve-racking and yet to be estimated. But other countries should get the message clear how dangerous nuclear energy option is - as well as - the deadly nuclear bomb option" said Dr Sandeep Pandey.

"Recent nuclear emergency in Japan leaves no doubt that this world needs to renounce nuclear power for military and civil/ energy purposes, as soon as possible, to put an end to any further catastrophe in the name of 'energy', 'security' or 'technology'. Nuclear power is clearly the most dangerous options for civil or military use" said Dr Pandey.

The much-touted India US Nuclear Deal is not about India's energy security. "Energy security lies in using indigenous energy resources such as coal, gas, hydro (small, micro dams or run of the river categories), solar, wind energy, biogas etc., and ensuring our future energy supplies from Iran and other countries in West and Central Asia. Obviously, augmenting indigenous coal production, building hydro plants (small, micro dams or run of the river categories), investing in oil exploration, securing gas supplies through Iran Gas Pipeline are much more important for India's energy security than buying imported reactors and importing uranium for such nuclear plants. Although we realize that fossil fuel based method of energy production is also harmful contributing to global warming and ideally like European Union and Japan we should aim for a low-carbon energy production system. India’s future energy policy should be low carbon and no nuclear" said Dr Sandeep Pandey.

Bobby Ramakant - CNS