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Church leaders join anti-nuclear protests

Potential dangers posed by the Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project 'not worth the risk'

Church leaders join anti-nuclear protests
People protest nuclear plant in Jaitapur reporter, Mumbai

April 29, 2011

Church leaders in Maharashtra have joined the opposition to several proposed nuclear projects in the state, especially against what would be the largest nuclear power generating plant in the world. “We don’t want a Chernobyl nuclear disaster or Fukoshima crisis, to happen in India,” Bishop Alwyn Barreto of Sindhudurg said yesterday. He said the diocesan center for social action has organized meetings to educate people on the disastrous consequences a nuclear accident could have on the coastal region. The federal government is to introduce a bill in the next session of parliament to create an independent and autonomous nuclear regulatory authority before commencing with the construction of the huge 9,900 MW Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project in Madban village in Ratnagiri district. It is just one of several nuclear projects earmarked for the western state’s Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg districts. Bishop Barreto said a people’s movement against the nuclear power plants, has gathered momentum. The main focus of opposition however, is on the Jaitapur project. A large protest rally was staged earlier this week at India’s first nuclear plant in Tarapur. The rally organized by the Anti-Nuclear National Committee saw several Christian leaders take part including Mathany Saldhana, a Catholic legislator from Goa state. Vaishali Patil, convener of the coordinating body opposing the Jaitapur plant, said representatives of the body had met federal environment minister Jairam Ramesh three times to demand the scrapping of the Jaitapur plant. “The government can build a nuclear plant at Jaitapur but over our dead bodies,” said B. G. Kolse-Patil, former justice of the Bombay High Court and president of Lok Shashan Andolan (Movement for People Power), an NGO. The protest came on the heels of a demonstration on April 18 in which a fisherman was killed and a curfew imposed in Ratnagiri. Related report Activist deplores lack of safety measures near nuclear plant in India ID14038
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