On a day when a large number of protestors attempted to lay siege to Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant seeking its closure, M S Swaminathan, UNESCO Chair in Eco-technology and former MP, on Saturday stressed the need for continuous interaction between experts and local communities to avoid controversies regarding setting up of such projects.
Delivering the fourth convocation address at the JIPMER in Puducherry, Dr Swaminathan pointed out that nuclear power is environmentally benign since it does not add to the green house gas burden. In such a scenario, there is a need for greater interaction between scientists and local communities. Such interaction should begin at the very early stage of conception of the nuclear power plant, he said. However, he added that nuclear waste disposal is another area which needs careful consideration.
As the eminent agricultural scientist spoke in Puducherry, 179 activists from more than 15 outfits, under the banner of People’s Confederation Against Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project (PCAKNPP), were arrested in Kanyakumari when they tried to take out a protest march to Koodankulam. The protest, led by Kolathur Mani, founder of Dravidar Viduthalai Kazhagam, saw participation of activists from Aam Admi Party, CPM-L (People’s Liberation), Campus Front of India, Women’s Front, Tamil Nadu People’s Party, TN Makkal Urimai Kazhagam and TN Desiya Pothu Udimai Katchi, among others. Fishermen too kept away from sea expressing solidarity. Tension prevailed in the tourist town for a few hours. Meanwhile, the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd said it has replaced the four faulty valves of the KKNPP. The statement comes a day after nuclear regulator Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) pointed out deficiencies in the same.