New Delhi, 11 April 2011: Delhiites participated in a candlelight vigil today to mark the one month anniversary since the nuclear catastrophe in Japan. People gathered at the India Gate and held candles and placards to express their solidarity with the people of Japan, and to clearly voice their opposition to nuclear energy. Vigils were held in more than 10 cities (1) to mark a National Day of Action against nukes.
India has 20 reactors currently in operation and it plans to increase its fleet with additional 21 foreign reactors.(2) In Maharashtra, the proposed Jaitapur nuclear reactor park would be the largest nuclear power park in the world. “With 6 untested foreign reactors of 1600mw capacity supplied by the French company Areva and built on a site which is earthquake prone, makes Jaitapur project a recipe for disaster” said Karuna Raina, Nuclear Energy Campaigner Greenpeace India. Nuclear projects have also been proposed for Fatehabad, Mithi-Virdi, Kovvada as well as Haripur.
Rajni Thakur, a volunteer who helped organise the vigil in Delhi said that she is afraid of the Government’s plan to build a massive 'nuclear park' in Jaitapur, and a nuclear reactor in Fatehabad, a mere 240 kms from Delhi. “The Government is misleading us - a park is a place where children can play safely and people can relax and breathe clean fresh air amidst greenery. A nuclear park is not safe or green! After seeing what happened in Japan and after learning about Chernobyl, I don’t think that the government should use such risky and dangerous technology to generate electricity, especially when absolutely clean and safe renewable energy resources exist in abundance.” Rajni added.
In March 2011, almost 25 years after Chernobyl, the worst nuclear accident recorded so far, Greenpeace sent a team of researchers to one region in Ukraine to test food samples. The small pilot investigation showed that key foods sourced in the region are still subject to contamination with radioactivity today(3). Greenpeace team in the Fukushima prefecture is also recording contamination of foodstuff way above acceptable limits and outside the exclusion zone demarcated by the Japanese Government(4).
Pointing towards the Chernobyl report, Karuna Raina said: “this proves that nuclear technology is inherently dangerous technology with long term consequences. It’s been 25 years since Chernobyl and the food is still contaminated. The tragedy in Japan will have long term consequences too. The Indian government is taking a huge risk while planning these large nuclear reactor parks. If we are to avoid the consequences of future disasters like Chernobyl and Fukushima, governments must move to phase out nuclear energy, invest heavily in energy efficiency and harness clean, safe renewable energies for our future.”
Note to the editor:
1- 10 Cities: Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune, Goa, Ahmedabad, Delhi, Kolkata, Chandigarh, Chennai
For more details on these cities contact Jai Krishna, Climate and Energy Campaigner, Greenpeace India, +91 9845591992
3- Greenpeace report on food contamination in Chernobyl: https://p3-admin.greenpeace.org/india/Global/india/report/Food%20contamination%20report.pdf
4- Japan finds tainted food 90 miles from nuclear plant sites http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/20/world/asia/20japan.html
Karuna Raina, Nuclear and Energy Campaigner, Greenpeace India, +91 9901799669,
Usha Saxena, Greenpeace Activist, +91 9818649083
For Greenpeace Photo and Video:
Sudhanshu Malhotra: Photo Desk In-Charge: +91 9810058019,
Areeb Hashmi: Video Desk Incharge: +91 9999246267,