Mumbai: The Left parties on Wednesday demanded
immediate suspension of work at the proposed 9900 mw Jaitapur
nuclear power project and said it favoured an independent
review of existing nuclear installations in the country.
Addressing a press conference, CPI(M) General
Secretary Prakash Karat and CPI leader D Raja, who visited
Jaitapur yesterday, asked the government to do away with
imported nuclear plants which they said were costly and will
come up with EPR (European Pressurised Reactor) technology,
which has not been tested anywhere in the world.
"Suspend all nuclear reactor purchases. After
Fukushima, we cannot take risks. We have been told that the
government is still in negotiations to fix prices of reactors.
This should be stopped," Karat said.
He said the review of safety of nuclear facilities
must be transperant and done by experts outside the Department
of Atomic Energy (DAE).
Raja demanded that the nuclear liability law be
reformed to extend the liability to the supplier in case of
Accusing the UPA government of not being transparent
on the issue of nuclear power, Karat said it had "failed" to
take people into confidence, especially after the nuclear
crisis in Japan.
"According to nuclear experts, each reactor in
Jaitapur will cost not less than Rs 30,000 crore and the cost
will be Rs 2 lakh crore for six reactors that are proposed to
come up there. This means Rs 20 crore will be spent to
generate one mw of nuclear energy while indigenously produced
electricity would cost around rs 8-9 crore," Karat said.
The CPI(M) leader said that in France and Finland too,
the EPR technology implementation has been delayed and there
have been cost overruns due to safety and design issues.
On his part, CPI national secretary Raja lashed out at
the state government for responding to the concerns of the
locals with oppression.
"All those who oppose the project have criminal cases
filed against them and the area is permanently under
prohibitory orders," he alleged.
Karat said the Left parties will form a national
committee to support the agitation against the Jaitapur
To a question on whether the Left will include Shiv
Sena, which is stridently opposed to the project, in the
committee, Karat evaded a direct reply, saying that it will be
difficult to form a committee of political parties given their
ideological differences. "But, we want to make this panel
broadbased and involve professional experts as well," he said.
Raja said after Fukushima, agitation against Jaitapur
project has assumed greater national importance as it will
have a far reaching impact on the future of the country.
Karat said nuclear power constitutes 30 per cent of
Japan`s total electricity generation. But despite being
technologically advanced, disaster had happened in Fukushima,
forcing the Japanese and German governments to reconsider
their views on nuclear projects.
"But, our government thinks it is not accountable and
does not even want to declare the estimated cost for nuclear
power production," he alleged.