South Asians Against Nukes | January 27, 2004


Tsunami and Kalpakkam: Questions Left in Disaster's Wake

(January 10, 2005)

The tsunami disaster of December 26, 2004, has vindicated the very
serious and repeatedly voiced concerns raised by the location and
functioning of India's coastline nuclear plants, including the one in
The all-India Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace (CNDP) and
the Chennai-based Movement Against Nuclear Weapons (MANW) have
consistently articulated such concerns. They have held a consistent
and clear stand with regard to these and other nuclear plants, and
repeatedly raised the following two demands: (1) the maintenance in
these plants of safety standards of the level that the hazards
involved call for and (2) transparency of the order in this regard
that public interest warrants and makes, indeed, mandatory.
The issue of transparency has acquired considerably increased
post-tsunami urgency in relation to the Kalpakkam nuclear plant and
complex. The nuclear establishment, here and at higher levels, has not
cared to allay legitimate apprehensions and to answer many such
questions raised in the wake of the disaster. The few answers provided
have not been to the full satisfaction of all concerned sections, to
say the least.
The questions concern the damage done by the tsunami onslaught to
different parts of the complex and to the environment. The questions
cannot be dismissed as irrelevant when there are conflicting reports
even about the loss of lives in the complex. Apprehensions persist
about the larger and long-term threat of radioactive leaks.
Terse official reassurances cannot take the place of a transparent and
credible investigation of the consequences of the tsunami disaster in
Kalpakkam. They cannot do so, especially in view of the past
experience here and elsewhere.
Studies by experts, some of whom addressed the media conference in
Chennai on the subject organized by the MANW on January 10, reinforce
the stand of our movement on the issues of safety and transparency in
relation to nuclear plants as well as the case for an independent
investigation of the consequences of the natural calamity in
The tsunami disaster also brings into sharper focus the more basic
question: Is it not time for rethinking on the location of India's
nuclear plants on an entirely unprotected coastline?
We are setting up a fact-finding committee to report on the tsunami
disaster and Kalpakkam in order to seek answers to such questions -
answers that the authorities deny the citizens on grounds that are
utterly untenable in a democracy.

J. Sri Raman
[Email protected]
Movement Against Nuclear Weapons [India]