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Letter from UK: Solidarity For Koodankulam Struggle

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By A Correspondent

Doctors, academics, legal workers and activists at a packed meeting in the House of Commons in London, on October 18, declared their solidarity with the protesters against the nuclear power plants at Koodankulam, India and Hinkley Point, Somerset, UK and their opposition to nuclear power as a source of energy. The meeting was hosted by MP Caroline Lucas and organized jointly by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and South Asia Solidarity Group .

Caroline Lucas M.P. told the meeting that she was deeply worried about the situation in Koodankulam – both in terms of the nuclear plant and the treatment of local opponents. She also condemned David Cameron’s policy of exporting civil nuclear technology to India.

She said “In agreeing to lift a ban on the export of nuclear technology and components to India, Prime Minister David Cameron ignored official recommendations and shunned concerns that India is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty. The government also seems untroubled by the fact that the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, the organisation in charge of safety in all of India’s nuclear facilities, shares staff with, and is funded by, the organisations it is supposed to be regulating. This clearly compromises its ability to act independently and to enforce vigorous safety regulations. The fact that the nuclear establishment in India is under no obligation to disclose information on the nuclear power sector to citizens, nor does the country have a long-term radioactive waste disposal policy only adds to the concerns. I pay tribute to the campaign against the Koodankulam nuclear power plant, which is standing up for local people in the face of human rights abuses by the police and the authorities. By standing in solidarity together, we can send a clear and strong message that nuclear power is not a welcome solution to our energy needs.”

Kate Hudson, General Secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, pointed out that nuclear power was neither safe nor did it make economic sense “Protests against nuclear power in the UK , India , Japan and Germany – and many other countries – show the scale of global public opinion against this dangerous and expensive form of energy” she said ‘The mass non-violent protests in Kudankulam in India and the repeated demonstrations at Hinkley Point in the UK are powerful expressions of the widespread rejection of nuclear power that governments around the world would do well to heed. Rather than pumping subsidies into nuclear energy, the governments should be seriously investing in a sustainable energy policy based on renewable sources. If the lessons of Chernobyl and Fukushima are not learned, then governments are inviting further disasters.”

Amrit Wilson speaking on behalf of South Asia Solidarity Group, said “Nuclear energy is on the run in Europe with multinationals like GEC increasingly reluctant to invest in it. Unfortunately as part of the fall out of the notorious US- India Nuclear Deal of 2008, these companies have been running to India with their sub-standard and dangerous reactors. That is what has happened with in Jaitapur and Koodankulam and elsewhere. We stand in solidarity with the protesters there. The companies involved are all powerful global companies and so international solidarity is crucial.”

Speaking on behalf of Medact (the UK affiliate of Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War) Dr Frank Boulton who had visited both Fukushima and Koodankulam, expressed his warm feelings of solidarity with the protesters at Koodankulam. He said “Nuclear power is full of medical dangers for the people. The voices of ordinary citizens must be heard by all who carry their community’s responsibilities with integrity. The world does not need nuclear energy as a source of power, every effort should be made to promote non-nuclear, low energy sources of power.”

Anti-nuclear activist from Japan, Satsuki, told the meeting "I was irradiated after the explosions at Fukushima. I am not fighting for my own life. It is the children and the future and the future children who will be killed. I am fighting for them. You too are fighting for them in Koodankulam".

The meeting concluded by sending a strong message of solidarity to the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) in Koodankulam and pledging to oppose David Cameron’s policy of exporting civil nuclear technology to India.


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