Should Koodankulam nuclear plant be abandoned ?


(December 13, Chennai, Sri Lanka Guardian) Nandini Voice For the Deprived a Chennai based NGO organized an essay competition for college students in Tamil Nadu on “Should Koodankulam Nuclear Plant be abandoned ?”
 ( Photo: A. Shaikmohideen – The Hindu)
The objective of organizing the competition was to provide an opportunity to the college students to express their views on the subject and forward the views of the students to the Government of India and Government of Tamil Nadu for its consideration.
112 college students in Tamil Nadu participated in the essay competition. Amongst them, 65% were women students and the remaining were men students.
77% of the students said that the Koodankulam plant should be commissioned and 23% of the students said that it should be abandoned.
The following ten students have been selected for the award of prize in the competition.
Ms. G. Krithi, Jeppiar Engineering College, Chennai
Ms. Pooja Sathyanarayanan, JBAS College for Women, Chennai
Ms. S. Divya, Government Arts College, Salem
Ms. Kavitha, Joe Suresh Engineering College, Tirunelveli
Ms. G.K. Padma, Annammal College of Education for Women, Thoothukudi
Mr. S. Mohammed Shygal Akram, National College of Engineering, Tirunelveli
Mr. R.Pradeep, Velammal Engineering College, Chennai
Mr. S. Benon, PSG College of Technology, Coimbatore
Mr. V.Bhaskaran, Madras University
Mr. B. Vijayarajan, P.S.R.Engineering College, Sivakasi
It is gratifying to note that most of the students have attempted to study the issue in an objective way.
The observations of the students are given below
The students who want the project to be commissioned pointed out the following arguments in favour of the project
India has no options other than nuclear power in view of the huge scarcity of coal, fuel oil and natural gas and their rising international price. While the non conventional energy such as solar and wind power should be utilized to the maximum, they would not be adequate considering the futuristic demand for power in the country.
Given the serious shortage of power situation in Tamil Nadu, there is great urgency to commission this nuclear power plant to avoid production loss of several crores of rupees.
Many suspicions of the protesting local people such as fisheries getting affected , threat of tsunami and cyclones , radiation effects etc. have been pointed out as unfounded by senior Indian nuclear scientists and
Dr. Abdul Kalam himself, a renowned scientist and a humanist. But, the leaders of the protest movement are not listening and the poor innocent people who sit in agitation cannot understand science and technology issues and depend on the leaders of the protest movement for guidance.
There is no justification to doubt the credibility and claims of Indian nuclear scientists who have repeatedly said that they would explain the safety aspects of the project to whoever would approach them. Further, any remote possibility of any accident such as in aircraft or on roads have not prevented people from using such mode of transport, though every precaution has to be taken to avoid possibilities of such accidents.
Many arguments advanced against the project are based on suspicions , pessimistic view and lack of understanding of the recent technology developments. Further, the leaders of the present movement give an impression that they are sworn opponents of nuclear power . There is certainly political undertone in the protest movement.
It is unacceptable that religious outfits should take part in such agitations, which essentially concern matter of science and technology.
Most of the protestors at the site are people from lower income group who are innocent and who do not have the advantage of good educational background. Quite number of them are elderly people living in old age homes or school students still in their teens and relatives of fishermen . The leaders of the protest movement persuade such people to take part in the protest because of their local contacts and proximity to the local people..
The students who wanted the project to be abandoned have the following observations.
The local people are the stake holders and even if the majority of the people in Tamil Nadu would want the project, it should not be implemented when the local stake holders object.
There have been incidents of accidents in nuclear plants that have taken place in the world which cannot be ignored by local people. In the unfortunate event of such accidents occurring in Koodankulam area , (even if it would be rare and nearly unlikely) , the consequences would be very severe for the local people.
Human life is more important than the issues of economic and industrial development and such development factors cannot get priority when safety concerns for human beings are prevalent , particularly when local stake holders are not convinced.
The scientists are not able to communicate with the local people to convince them effectively, may be due to their lack of training in communication skills.
By taking a “silent stand” , Tamil Nadu government gives an impression that it favours abandoning Koodankulam project. In recent times, the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister has not spoken in approval of the project in spite of the huge controversy it has generated. In the wake of such stand by the Tamil Nadu government, Koodankulam project should not be implemented.


Author: Sri Lanka Guardian

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