Nuclear disaster: Japan now, India next?

Dear friends across India,

As nuclear disaster ravages Japan, Congress is moving ahead with plans to build the world’s largest nuclear power development — on an earthquake hotspot.

The Jaitapur nuclear reactors have been rubber-stamped by State authorities and the Environment Ministry, but Prime Minister Singh can intervene to suspend the plants’ construction. With Japan’s catastrophe fueling media scrutiny and public outcry, the project’s financial backers are thinking about pulling out — and Singh is deciding whether to rush to the project’s rescue, or move to end it.

Our voices can tip the balance. This is the crucial moment: if enough of us call on Singh to stop the project now, we can make the project too controversial to continue. When the petition reaches 50,000 we’ll deliver it to media and the Prime Minister’s office — sign now and then send this to family and friends:

  sign now

There are several factors that make the proposed Jaitapur energy park particularly dangerous. The gigantic nuclear development, planned for the tsunami-prone coast of Jaitapur, will rely on a brand new type of mega-reactor that has not been approved for use anywhere in the world. Scientists classify the proposed site of the Jaitapur complex as Zone 3, susceptible to “very strong” seismic activity. In 1993, Jaitapur experienced a powerful 6.5-rated quake that left nearly 9,000 people dead. If the plants are built, the next quake could be far deadlier.

Already this week, Germany announced it will decommission 40% of its nuclear plants and halt planned extensions, reversing a controversial decision to expand its nuclear programme. Here in India, it’s time to make the same decision.

Moreover, the plant would also be an environmental and social travesty. Jaitapur is home to amazingly diverse wildlife. The massive energy campus would displace over 40,000 people and destroy one of India’s greatest natural landscapes — eating away at the habitat of tigers, elephants and thousands of other species, even if no earthquake occurs. In the event of a Japan-like quake, the devastation would be mind-boggling. Now, when these dangers are most vivid, let’s join our voices to oppose these plants:

sign now

In India and around the world, our thoughts over the past few days have been with the people of Japan as they respond to compounding challenges of a historic earthquake, a massive tsunami, and an potentially calamitous nuclear crisis. In the event the nuclear material cannot be stabilized, the threats to millions will be literally blowing in the wind. Japan may no longer have a choice, but we do. Let’s take action now to put an end to these plants, and help steer India’s energy future towards safe and renewable fuels that can keep bring us all a brighter future.

With hope and determination,

Ricken, Graziela, Benjamin
and the whole Avaaz team.