UK groups to step up campaign against Kudankulam plant

Vidya Ram London | Updated on November 15, 2017

London-based groups protesting against the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) have pledged to widen their campaign across Europe, as several British MPs voiced their concerns about the plant and the way protestors have been treated, ahead of a protest outside the Indian embassy in London on Friday.

“We want to extend the campaign links to Europe and the other anti-nuclear groups we work with,” said Dr Kate Hudson, General Secretary for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, one of the campaign groups participating in Friday's protest. The protest movement had already gained widespread support within Britain, where many were angered by the failure of the government to reconsider its nuclear plans, she said. “It's really touched people's hearts and minds,” she said.

“We want to continue to put pressure in a variety of ways,” said Ms Amrit Wilson of London-based South Asia Solidarity Group, which is also participating in the protest. “It's perverse that India is getting into nuclear energy at a time most countries are getting out of it.”

Campaigners will on Friday deliver a letter signed by two Labour Members of Parliament, Mr Jeremy Corbyn, and Mr John McDonnell; Green Party MP, Ms Caroline Lucas; Member of the European Parliament, Mr Keith Taylor; and Australian Green Party Senator, Mr Scott Ludlam, addressed to the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, and the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Ms J. Jayalalithaa.

The legislators urge the Government to halt construction of the plant, which they argue “violates the International Atomic Energy Agency safety guidelines,” and also calls for an end to the “intimidation” of protestors.

“These draconian measures are not in the interests of a democratic country such as India. People's basic human rights and environmental safety procedures in the construction of a major nuclear plant have been abused,” they wrote, warning that not heeding mandatory construction procedures would have “mammoth consequences of global proportions.”

Campaigners hope that their campaign will gain momentum from the growing opposition on the European continent to nuclear power, in the wake of the Fukushima disaster. Germany's reaction has been most dramatic “pledging to shut down all nuclear power stations by 2022”.

However, pressure is mounting on the industry in other European states including most significantly in its nuclear power house France, where new President, Mr Francois Hollande, has pledged to cut back the nation's reliance on nuclear power from 75 per cent to 50 per cent.

His policies are already having an impact in the UK, where the certainty of French firm EDF's plans to build two nuclear reactors have been put into question.

“The tables are turning on nuclear power,” says Dr Hudson. “We have a hard job but with protests combined with scientific evidence, good sense and a commitment to renewable energy we can solve this problem.”

Published on May 18, 2012

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