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  Asia-Pacific
'We Reject Indo-US Nuclear Deal' Campaign Begins
By Bobby Ramakant
Asia Correspondent
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (left) with U.S. President George W. Bush at the G-8 summit on June 08, 2007

The 'We Reject Indo-US Nuclear Deal' campaign was launched today in Lucknow by Dr. Sandeep Pandey, Ramon Magsaysay Awardee (2002) and convener of National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM). Dr Pandey was speaking on Indo US Nuclear Deal at Rao's IAS coaching centre on Faizabad road.

"The dream to provide electricity across the country by signing the Indo US Nuclear Deal is not true" said Dr Pandey. "Nuclear power is not a safe, affordable or better option for producing electricity. Rather nuclear power is a very dangerous and expensive option. The Indo US Nuclear Deal is actually a political and military deal" said Dr Pandey.

There is a deliberate misinformation being created that nuclear plants will be a quick fix to our huge shortages and power cuts. Nuclear plants have to have detailed studies regarding where and how to put them up and take a long time to build. The import of reactors have to be negotiated commercially and their fuel has to be guaranteed. Typically, the entire process takes 8-10 years. So even if we finish all the steps required to complete the India US Nuclear Deal, it will take not less than 8-10 years before any electricity is produced. And this is an optimistic figure; the last plant that the US commissioned — the Watts Bar 2 Reactor — took 23 years to complete. So the belief that nuclear energy will provide an immediate solution to our power crisis is a deliberate fraud on the people, said Dr Pandey.

The India US Nuclear Deal is not about India's energy security. Energy security lies in using indigenous energy resources such as coal, gas, hydro, etc., and ensuring our future energy supplies from Iran and other countries in West and Central Asia. Obviously, augmenting indigenous coal production, building hydro plants, investing in oil exploration, securing gas supplies through Iran Gas Pipeline are much more important for India's energy security than buying imported reactors and importing uranium for such nuclear plants, asserted Dr Pandey.

The Nuclear Deal is a part of a larger vision which seeks to subordinate India to the US's strategic vision. It is known that the US strategic thinking calls for dominance in all possible theatres. In Asia, the US has been handicapped that it has only one major base — Okinawa, Japan — in East, South-east and South Asia. The only other base it has in this region is in the Indian Ocean in Diego Garcia. That is why the US's interest in making India as a junior partner in Asia, said Dr Pandey.

The disabilities and diseases attributed to radioactive nuclear radiation have upped in the neighbouring areas where nuclear reactors, nuclear mining or nuclear waste dumping is done in India. Places like Jadugoda, where uranium mining and nuclear waste dumping is carried out, is an example where virtually every household is a living testimony of nuclear radiation hazards, said Dr Pandey.

The 'we reject Indo US Nuclear Deal' campaign will raise public consciousness on the issue and mobilize public opinion to protect the sovereignty of India.

Bobby Ramakant



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Bobby Ramakant, who serves as The Seoul Times' Asia correspondent, is a member of NATT, Network for Accountability of Tobacco Transnationals, and edits Weekly MONiTOR series, reporting violations of tobacco control policies as a senior public health and development journalist. He writes for newspapers in 11 countries. He is the recepient of World Health Organization (WHO)'s Award for the year 2008. He can be reached at bobbyramakant@yahoo.com)

 

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