The joint declaration issued by India and the United States during the Prime Minister’s visit is shocking as it effectively celebrates the undermining of India’s sovereign Nuclear Liability Act, passed by the parliament in 2010 to ensure justice to the victims in case of an accident. The joint statement holds India’s signing of the Convention on Supplementary Compensation (CSC) as “strong foundation” for building US-imported nuclear power plants in India. The CSC is a template promoted by international nuclear lobbies, channeling the entire liability to the operator of plants and exempting the supplier companies. In case of a future nuclear accident in India, this would create a situation worse than Bhopal, whose victims continue to struggle for justice.
The joint statement also reaffirms the intention to expedite the construction of six reactors to be built by Westinghouse corporation. The two governments, however, have not made the actual agreement between the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited and Westinghouse public as it would expose the absence of liability provisions and the exorbitant cost of this project. Further, the joint statement labels nuclear power as a clean energy and solution to climate change, which is a ficticious claim. Nuclear energy has its own heavy carbon footprints – from mining to construction of plants to disposal of waste – and has a long incubation period which makes renewable energy sources as a more efficient and faster solution to the challenge of climate change.
The US-imported reactors would mean devastation of the livelihoods of the Indian poor, displacement of thousands of farmers, large-scale destruction of environment and jeopardising of fragile ecologies surrounding the proposed sites. We strongly condemn the furthering of this anti-people and eco-destructive bilateral deal. We demand that India must join the nuclear of countries which have abandoned nuclear power after Fukushima and have opted for sustainable solutions.
PRESS STATEMENT | 9 June 2016