…the possibility, however remote it may be, of human error, systems failure, sabotage, earthquake and terrorist attacks leading to the release of radioactive matter in the public domain, cannot be entirely ruled out.


Guidelines on Management of Nuclear and Radiological Emergencies

National Disaster Management Authority

Govt of India

All nuclear power plants are inherently dangerous.  They are vulnerable to any combination of natural disaster, human error or design failure.  In India, institutional faults make that risk a little bit greater.  Yet these dangers are routinely and emphatically downplayed by the nuclear establishment.

There’s a myth propagated that nuclear power has become safer in recent years.  It’s now toted as the answer to climate change – an “environmentally-friendly” option that guides us away from the looming crisis of peak oil.  The truth is that even a significant increase in nuclear power would only lead to a negligible CO2 reduction 1, and that nuclear reactors are no safer than they were in the 20th Century.  If anything, as they become more powerful, the possible consequences of an accident become even more terrible.

Mistakes do happen.  The nuclear sector is replete with chilling stories of incidents, accidents and near misses.  There’s a story or more for every day of the year - all 365 of them.2 Accidents happened before Chernobyl.  They happened after Chernobyl.  Only the explanations and excuses get tailored anew each time.  The industry is known to have manipulated safety and inspection data, in certain cases, in order to avoid costly repairs and lengthy shutdowns.3 The secrecy that blankets the Indian nuclear power sector shields it further.

Yet even under normal operations nuclear power plants regularly discharge radioactive materials into the air and water.  Nuclear waste, the deadly by-product of nuclear power for which there is no real long-term solution, remains radioactive for generations.

Proponents of nuclear power want it discussed and evaluated on the same factors as other methods of power generation.   This can only be done if the risk factor is set aside altogether as being irrelevant, if the horrific, long-lasting consequences of an accident on huge populations is considered an acceptable price to pay. At Greenpeace, we don’t think it is.

Alternative power sources exist, such as solar, wind or micro-hydro energy.  They can be combined with energy efficiency to deliver India’s electricity needs, fast.  They won’t exacerbate climate change like fossil fuels, and nor do they leave a radioactive legacy or carry the unacceptable risk of a radiological accident, like nuclear energy.  India needs to stop gambling with the health of our children and our land by investing in nuclear power.

1 Energy Technology Perspectives 2010, IEA/OECD, June 2010
3 “Complacency, negligence threaten nuclear industry, WANO warns". Nucleonics Week, vol. 44/ Issue 42, Oct. 16,2003

The latest updates


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Feature story | December 8, 2004 at 4:30

MUMBAI, India — Today Greenpeace handed over the report called "Destination unknown: European Single hull Oil Tankers-No place to go" to Dr. Kant Singh, Secretary General, The Council of EU Chambers of Commerce in India (in the absence of the...

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Image | December 8, 2004 at 4:30

Greenpeace activists handed over the petition to the European Commission against dumping of single hull oil tankers on asian beaches.

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Feature story | December 6, 2004 at 4:30

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Politicians from around the world are gathering in Argentina to discuss climate change. We have unveiled our own 'Climate Ark' in the centre of Buenos Aires to illustrate the urgent need for action.

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Feature story | December 3, 2004 at 4:30

MUMBAI, India — Two very different events played out in the evening of Dec 3 at the Gateway of India, Mumbai. One was of pomp and grandeur and the other of remembrance and hope.

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Feature story | December 3, 2004 at 4:30

BHOPAL, India — This December 3rd marks the 20th anniversary of the world's worst industrial disaster at the Union Carbide chemical plant in Bhopal, India. Twenty years later, the legacy of tragedy continues, and Dow continues to deny...

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Image | December 3, 2004 at 4:30

On the 20th anniversary of the Bhopal Gas Disaster, members of the ICJB stand together at India Gate, bearing placards to remind the world of the ongoing disaster in Bhopal.

The historical India Gate stands witness

Image | December 3, 2004 at 4:30

The historical India Gate stands witness to candles burning a simple message on the 20th anniversary of the Bhopal Gas Disaster – No More Bhopals.

Greenpeace activists join other members of

Image | December 3, 2004 at 4:30

Greenpeace activists join other members of the ICJB in front of the India Gate to demand Corporate Accountability, and calling on Dow to clean up Bhopal. The event was part of the Global Day of Action on the 20th anniversary of the Bhopal Gas...

Champa Devi Shukla

Image | December 3, 2004 at 4:30

Champa Devi Shukla, Goldman Award Winner and activist from Bhopal, stands vigil at India Gate, New Delhi on the 20th anniversary of the Bhopal Gas Disaster.

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