Millennium Post

Nearing nuclear tipping point

While it is an extremely unfortunate incident, the blast close to Kudankulam nuclear plant in Tamil Nadu tells a tale that no one in the establishment is ready to pay heed to. The bomb explosion on Tuesday night near the controversial nuclear plant site barely weeks after it began producing power after years of delay and enormous public protests bespeaks the deep disgruntlement of the local people, who have been forging a long-drawn battle against the project and setting up of the nuclear facility in an environmentally and demographically sensitive zone. The arrest of the local anti-nuclear activist SP Uthayakumar in this connection might pull the lid off who orchestrated the incident, or accident, but will it also address the deep-seated problems that have been ignored at the altar of a nuclear bravado by both the Tamil Nadu government and the ruling regime at the centre? Of course, the incident, even if it turns out to be accidental, must be condemned, since precious lives have been lost, making it into a terrible human tragedy. So, in that light, booking Uthayakumar, the head of the anti-nuclear People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy, as well as others, under different sections of the IPC and Explosive Substances Act, is but an ineffective and incomplete medicine to the disease.

The Kudankulam verdict has been already contested in the circuits of ecological studies, questioning its clean chits to several projects. This especially at a time when nuclear energy is losing its credibility in the whole wide world, with memories of Chernobyl and Fukushima scarring the history of nuclear power generation. Yet, such is the self-consolidated hubris of the energy mafia that this anti-people, anti-environment project has been hailed as a watershed moment in India’s quest for energy self-sustenance. India is blindly towing the nuclear line and even considering diluting its civil liability clause to let the foreign suppliers get away scot-free in case of an accident, at a time when nuclear power, with its exorbitant costs, is failing the market test. When will India wake up to the grim reality?
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