COLOMBO: Sri Lanka has approached India for a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on nuclear disaster management in view of the establishment of a nuclear plant at Koodankulam which is near the Mannar coast in north western Lanka.
“If there is a nuclear accident that causes radiation to escaape from the Koodankulum nuclear power plant, the entire North Western Sri Lankan coast, particularly Mannar district, may be affected. We have pointed this out to India. We have proposed that India should start negotiations with us to prepare a plan to face any nuclear emergency,” said Lanka’s Minister for Power and Energy Patali Champika Ranawakka. He was speaking to BBC’s Sinhalese service on Monday. Ranawakka, however, added that he was not opposed to India’s going for nuclear power as there was no alternative to it now. But he wanted disaster management to be improved and coordinated with neighbouring countries which could be affected by an accident.
When Express tried to get in touch with Ranawakka for more information on the proposed MoU, he did not come on the line.
However, the executive director of the Centre for Environmental Justice (CEJ), Hemantha Withnage, said that Sri Lanka should oppose the Koodamkulam plant and support the protestors in TN. When told that scientific teams appointed by the Indian Central government and the Tamil Nadu government had certified the Koodankulam plant as being safe, Withanage maintained that there was no scientific proof that nuclear plants were safe.
The Sri Lankan environmentalist deprecated the tendency to locate nuclear plants near the sea because any accident could pollute the sea which would carry the pollution far and wide. Withanage proposed that India and Sri Lanka tap other sources of energy which offered many possibilities.