Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant, India

The construction of the Kudankulam nuclear plant in Tamil Nadu has been very contentious, particularly after the Fukushima disaster of 2011. Main protagonists have been the local fisherfolk.


Description

On 20th of November, 1989, a deal was signed between the Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev and the then Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, for the construction of two nuclear power plants at Koodamkulam. It is notable, that the deal was signed within just two years of Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

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Basic Data
NameKudankulam Nuclear Power Plant, India
CountryIndia
ProvinceTamil Nadu
SiteKudankulam
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Nuclear
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Nuclear waste storage
Land acquisition conflicts
Landfills, toxic waste treatment, uncontrolled dump sites
Nuclear power plants
Specific CommoditiesElectricity
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe proposed capacity of each reactor is around 1000 Mw and the total capacity of the Kudunkalam Nuclear Power Plants (KKNPP) would be approximately 9000 Mw once it would be completed in the future. The conflicts has been on the first reactor under construction.
Project Area (in hectares)364217
Level of Investment (in USD)2500000000
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population200000
Start Date1989
Company Names or State EnterprisesRosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation (Rosatom) from Russian Federation
Nuclear Corporation of India from India
Relevant government actorsGovernment of India, Supreme Court of India, Local Police, Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, State government of Tamil Naidu
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersPeople’s movement against nuclear energy, National Alliance of Peoples Movement, Green for change environmental group from Sri Lanka, Chennai Solidarity Group for Koodankulam Struggl
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingReligious groups
Local ejos
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Trade unions
Farmers
Local scientists/professionals
Industrial workers
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Women
Fisher people
Forms of MobilizationOfficial complaint letters and petitions
Development of a network/collective action
Referendum other local consultations
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Property damage/arson
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Hunger strikes and self immolation
Boycotts of official procedures/non-participation in official processes
Objections to the EIA
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Public campaigns
Development of alternative proposals
Street protest/marches
Land occupation
Strikes
Blockades
Media based activism/alternative media
Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Stopping Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) workers to enter into KKNP premises, Boat rallies, Dharnas
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Waste overflow, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Health ImpactsVisible: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Potential: Occupational disease and accidents, Deaths, Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors
OtherSerious impact on the fishing community because of low market value of fish and allied products. Consumers are skeptical about the marine food being contaminated because of nuclear radiation from the nuclear power plant.
Outcome
Project StatusUnder construction
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCompensation
New legislation
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Institutional changes
Strengthening of participation
-Address the public discontent genuinely
-Serious dialogue between the multiple stakeholders
-Revisiting legal provisions, -Greater autonomy to Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB)
-Proper assessment of nuclear establishments across the Country
-Public participation should be strengthen
-Proper public hearing, and environmental assessment report should be made public
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Criminalization of activists
Deaths
Development of AlternativesShut down the project completely and use the existing infrastructure for some more productive and social purpose like cold storage of marine products , research at university, hospital etc.
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.The nuclear project has seriously become a bone of contention between multiple stake holders like, Fishing community, Peoples Movement against Nuclear Energy (PMANE), Government of India (GOI) and civil society groups. the protesters cite multiple reasons for their on-going protest ; risk of earth quake or Tsunami, Poor management of Nuclear wastes, unkept promises by Nuclear regime of India, unsafe future and tremendous threat to marine ecology. Fear of not being adequately rehabilitated, doubt on evacuation plans in case of nuclear disaster.
Sources and Materials
Legislations

AGREEMENT OF 27 SEPTEMBER 1988 BETWEEN THE

CONVENTION ON NUCLEAR SAFETY
[click to view]

UNION OF SOVIET SOCIALIST REPUBLICS
[click to view]

Communication Received from Certain Member States Regarding Guidelines for the Export of Nuclear Material, Equipment and Technology
[click to view]

INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY AND THE GOVERNMENT OF INDIA

FOR THE APPLICATION OF SAFEGUARDS IN CONNECTION WITH THE

SUPPLY OF A NUCLEAR POWER STATION FROM THE

References

Insight of Safety Features at KKNPP
[click to view]

Thinking after Fukushima. Epistemic shift in social sciences
[click to view]

Plants Under ConstructionKudankulam Atomic Power Project
[click to view]

The Koodankulam Handbook

S. P. Udayakumar

Transcend South Asia, 2004 - Nuclear power plants - 382 pages

Basarat Hassan Public Understanding of Science: Peoples Response to Nuclear Technology in Post Fukushima Era MPhil thesis 2012 JNU New Delhi

Article in Tehelka, 2014
[click to view]

“Anti-Kudankulam protests turn violent, one killed in police firing” in The Times of India
[click to view]

Links

Learning from Fukushima
[click to view]

Dont lose the plot now
[click to view]

Fukushima lessons
[click to view]

The Hindu, At Kudankulam’s core is fear, ignorance and anger
[click to view]

killed in Kudankulam nuclear power plant protest /3325
[click to view]

Media Links

Will Kudankulam verdict allay safety fears?
[click to view]

Kudankulam protests: Sedition or cry for safety?
[click to view]

Kudankulam: Safety guidelines not in place, says AERB chairman
[click to view]

Ready to die, will continue to protest: Kudankulam activist
[click to view]

Kudankulam plant gets nod from Supreme Court
[click to view]

Asianet News (Point Blank) talks to Udayakumar the man who galvanised the popular protest against the nuclear power plant (in Tamil)
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorBasarat Hassan / V. V. Krishna/FM
Last update17/01/2016
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