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March 08, 2012

Solidarity Message from Indian Clean Energy, Anti-Nuclear and Beyond Coal Campaigns, to Our African Brothers and Sisters

It is a shocking news for us in India, that two African countries -- South Africa and Egypt -- are trying to build new nuclear power plants for generating electricity.  

Those in India living around the nuclear establishments -- mines in Jadugoda/ Turamdih, nuclear power plants in Tarapur, Rawatbhata, Kalpakkam and others, and even the workers in nuclear processing industries, have suffered for years from the radiation induced cancers, severe deformities in new-born children, loss of fertility of women and various other ailments. There were near accidents in Narora and Kaiga (actual tritium contamination) NPPs, which if not averted by brave workers at the cost of their lives -- would have devastated densely populated areas. The nuclear establishment here -- following the same pattern elsewhere -- either denies or tries to downplay, in the name of need for electricity.  There are ample number of studies showing that nuclear-fission based power -- apart from being extremely dangerous -- is neither climate friendly or zero-emission, nor cheap, and even science has no answer to the very long lived radioactive nuclear waste problem. 

We have also seen an insane expansion of our (India) coal power capacity and associated coal mining devastating forests & forest communities, contaminating vital ground water for large areas, large amounts of agricultural irrigation water requirement being diverted for these power plants. People living near coal based thermal power plants are facing varieties of diseases and loss of agriculture & horti/ floriculture.  The African continents -- especially South Africa's over dependence on coal power is also causing similar problems. The many impacts of climate change are also putting great stress on the vulnerable communities -- both here in India & in Africa,  and the massive coal use is the biggest contributor to this.

Both India and  Africa (in even greater measure) are endowed with plentiful clean renewable energy sources like solar, wind, micro-hydro and geothermal. These do not have large scale adverse impacts like coal or the threat of long term radioactive damage like nuclear fission based energy. The renewable energy resources are distributed, as are the needs of the people -- and is thus an ideal match.  Over the last decade, the cost of various renewable energy applications -- particularly solar photovoltaic and concentrated solar thermal and wind -- has come down drastically, to levels  below nuclear power plant costs, and not much above new coal power plants if associated costs are included. Clean energy from wind in better locations is already competitive with dirty coal power. And the whole world has started realizing these, reflected in more investment in renewable energies than coal or nuclear.   

The potential to generate "virtual electricity" -- by energy efficiency measures across our economies are also huge, and these cost about 1/3 to 1/4 of setting up new power plants, while reducing emissions/ pollutions as an added benefit. We call upon our governments and industry to aggressively pursue all round energy efficiency measures, rather than destructive new power projects.

In view of these realities, right thinking and sane people every where -- especially in India (south Asia as a whole) and Africa, who are facing these threats to a greater extent and are amongst the most vulnerable countries/ continents to the multiple threats of climate change, must unite to resist these insane expansions of both coal & nuclear power, and raise country/ continent wide demands that our governments abandon these destructive routes to power generation, and rapidly move over to clean renewable energy sources coupled with energy efficiency. 

We need a future where our children will have safe power, not the curse of coal or the nuclear nemesis.

Power for Africa-& India -  Abundant Clean Renewable are our Future - No to Dangerous Nuclear, Phase out Dirty Coal

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Admiral L. Ramdas - Former Chief of Naval Staff, Magsaysay Awardee

Lalita Ramdas - Former Board Chair, Greenpeace International and Greenpeace India

Praful Bidwai – senior Journalist & Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament & Peace (CNDP)

Soumya Dutta – National Alliance of Anti-nuclear Movements (NAAM), India & South Asian dialogues on Ecological democracy (SADED),

Dr Arati Choksi – People’s union of Civil Liberties (PUCL) & with struggle against Gogi uranium mining,

P K Sundaram – Editor, DiaNuke, resource website for nuclear information,

Neeraj Jain – Lokayat, NAAM & with struggles against jaitapur & Koodankulam NPPs

Prof B L Sharma – Azadi Bachao Andolan, NAAM & leading struggles against Gorakhpur & other NPPs,

Saraswati Kavula – part of struggle against Uranium mining in Andhra Pradesh,

Yashveer Arya – Haryana Parmanu Sanyantra Virodhi Manch (Haryana Platform Against Nuclear Plants),

Kisan Sangharsh Samity (farmer’s struggle committee – fighting against proposed Gorakhpur NPP),

Shankar Sharma – Power policy analyst, India, (and co-author of alternative energy policy for India),

Sushovan Dhar –     Activist in campaign against proposed Haripur NPP

Krishnakant - Bhavnagar Jilla Gram Bachao Samiti – struggle against Mithivirdi NPP & NAPM (Gujarat)

Prof Achin Vanaik – Dean, School of Social Sciences, Delhi University

 

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