CHENNAI: Sharing their experiences of a nuclear disaster, survivors of the 2011 Fukushima accident said India can probably be the next country to face a possible nuclear disaster. They also warn us to be prepared on handling the ‘nuclear energy age’.
Referring to the upcoming 50 nuclear power plants in the country, one of the survivors, Masami Yoshizawa, said that it would be pathetic if India witnessed a tsunami or earthquake just like Japan experienced five years ago, as millions would be forced to live as refugees within the country.
As a part of his anti-nuke campaign across countries where Japan exported nuclear plant components, Yoshiwaza presented a seminar on impact of the accident on the Fukushima people even today at University of Madras recently.
The 62-year-old Yoshiwaza, a cattle rearer from Namie town in Fukushima, started a movement, ‘Ranch of Hope’ right at the heart of the evacuation zone (20 km surrounding the nuclear plant). As a sign of protest, he continues to feed 330 cattle which were affected by radiation during the accident.
“Though the government ordered killing of affected cattle, I am feeding them so that they can help researchers show the world what nuclear energy could do,” he told CE.
“It was not just cattle; even humans continue to suffer — so far 166 children in the locality developed thyroid cancer,” said another Fukushima resident, Emito Fujiko.
Fujiko said that even after five years, more than one lakh people from the affected areas (5% of Japan’s population) continue to remain as evacuees with no hope of returning to their homes.
In an attempt to raise hope, Fujiko had started another movement, ‘seeds of hope’ through which she had started cultivating rice, vegetables through organic farming methods and cleared safety standards set by the government to sell in the market.
Drawing a parallel to this, Venkatesan, an environmentalist who has been protesting against the Kalpakkam power plant said that almost all the preliminary faults before major industrial accidents witnessed across the world were also recorded here. “With more number of mentally retarded children in Kalpakkam and Mahabalipuram, the impact was spreading towards Chennai and it was high time, people joined protests against this,” he said. The event was organised by NGO, Poovulagin Nanbargal.