Urgent Help Needed in Koodamkulam

As you all might be aware around 15000+ people are gathering everyday for more than 4 days from 3 south Tamil Nadu districts as part of an indefinite hunger strike to stop the Koodamkulam Nuclear Plant.

More than 100 people are on indefinite fast and some people’s health are turing bad as well. They are more or less in a isolated situation within the village of Idinthakari near Koodamakulam. There is a huge battalion of Police waiting outside the village venue. The police is trying to block the free passage of people into the village. The state administration and central administration has neglected the protest till now. The non-violent protest needs to be sustained, but people are losing their patience. The leaders who are very few in number though exhausted after 4 days of sleepless nights are trying their level best.

Many political party leaders have visited and given lectures and gone but no worthwhile action from their part yet. The movement has been trying for sometime to get national level leaders of independent social movements to participate, but no major person has come there yet.

It needs the immediate support from across the country.

For Details Contact

Jones – 09894825951

Udaya Kumar – 09865683735

Pushparayan – 09842154073


Sajeer A R +91-9447218282

18 thoughts on “Urgent Help Needed in Koodamkulam”

  1. Look. we can go there first thing tomorrow and join the “oppressed”. But, what exactly is the problem? Environment? Money? Education? Health? Sex? What?????

    Please give us ONE compelling reason why the project should not go through.

    I am ambivalent (read Pro Project as of now.)!

    I think the Business Of Protesting is becoming a Big Business. Can you, as a Woman or a Man in Good Standing assure me that you have Absolutely NO PERSONAL BENEFIT from this exercise?????


    1. Dear Mr. Murali Sridharan,

      there is a large amount of literature from India and the world about why nuclear plants are bad for us. The latest fiasco in Japan being a case in point. You must know fukushima. Do look it up. Google should do the trick and then feel free to make up you’re mind. If this sentence sounds patronising, I intend to be as you are surely fully capable of looking up this information if you are capable of commenting on a blog.

      I do have a personal benefit. My personal benefit is that which I share with you and the rest of the world, humans and other creatures- and that is the assurance of a safe world where energy is generated in a safe and sustainable manner and nuclear power is not developed by every other nation to show military might. In fact, I would benefit by a world where there are no wars at all. But alas!

      Many protesters are bad business people. It is often our weakness. So am not sure by what you mean. Do consider looking up details of any given issue before having reactions. That would lead to a more rigorous and useful debate.

      I will also not entertain any further comments questioning the integrity of the people in koodamkulam who are protesting with barely any support from the rest of the world, to save their lives, land and environment and leave behind a live-able world for future generations.


      1. If not nuclear power, it will be fossil-fueled based power, the emissions of which are going to irrevocably change the whole planet. Realistically, what the people of Koodamkulam (and all of India) should insist on is the most technologically advanced safeguards; international inspection to assure that standards are maintained, and insurance for a possible disaster.


    2. Dear Murali,

      Since you seem to be more or less optimistic about the safety of nuclear power plants, that too in areas of high population density, I suggest that rather than you going to Koodankulam first thing tomorrow morning, that the nuclear plant to come to you. Why don’t you petition for them to locate it next door to your house, so that your children can grow up playing in its shadows?


  2. Mr. Murali,
    You think “the Business Of Protesting is becoming a Big Business.”.
    Did you think so, when all of you were flocking around the so-called ‘civil society’ was holding the incompetent Govt. to ransom. Why the agitation, you ask. Read yourself and take a position, don’t be ambivalent. At least please don’t be supercillious.


  3. The struggle against setting up a nuclear plant in Koodangulam is at least two decades old – from the beginning there has been concerted opposition. The temp of the struggle may have varied, but from 1989, there have been protests. In this most recent instance, the local fisherfolk, with the support of the Catholic Church which is central to the life and activities of the region have decided to go on a sustained hunger strike. Several prominent political leaders, especially from the Communist Party of India have been there with the protesters along with writers and local activists. The present ruling party sent two of its ministers there to invite the protesters for talks, but the talks appear to have broken down. The ministers meanwhile have raised the bogey of the struggle being a ‘conspiracy’ and against the current political dispensation. Their reasoning is: why have the protesters kept quiet all along and chosen to band together now?

    The point is that the everyday momentum of the protests there has acquired a certain focus now precisely because there is a new government, and in relentless good faith we all hope that we might get a fresh hearing on an old theme.

    It would be useful to remember here that new power projects, whether it is the Koodangulam atomic power project or the proposed thermal power project off the coast of Nagapattinam affect the lives and livelihood of one of the most resilient of our communities, the hardworking and often ignored fishers of the region in an immediate sort of way, while having the potential to cause incalculable damage to the larger lived environment. With the memory of Fukushima fresh in all our minds, it is not surprising that the anti-nuclear plant movements have decided to engage in the next round of militancy.


    1. Even in Andhra Pradesh State the government proposed for 17000 mega watts nuclear energy plants in Srikakulam, Guntur and Kadapa districts. The Human Rights Forum and several rights organisations are fighting against it through several protests and by familiarising the people about the dangers of nuclear power plants. All the ‘bold’ guarantees that were promised and propogated by the governments and scientists who shown Japan’s case as instance for not to afraid of Nuclear energy, are proven shallow with the Fukushima incident. One may take HRF struggle as a model where it deployed varieties of campaigns against nuclear energy plants as an example and fight against it. Though many a agencies provided examples and instances for alternatives to our demands for power, the governments are blindly buying nuclear power idea, may they are well funded and the politicans may have stakes in it. May be the governments and scientists are thinking only nuclear power demonstrates their ‘modern’ attitude, the mode of thinking of past several decades shows this.


  4. Dear Ponni,

    Your points about my prerogatives are well taken.. and my apologies if my comment sounded like I were questioning the integrity of honest persons. I understand that I have no right to do that and that certainly was not my intention.

    As for the rest of your view points about energy sources and the rest – well, I’m not convinced. Anyway, let’s leave it at that.

    After a few days, can you please just remove my first comment and this one and let’s be done with it.


  5. Just to add on the question of fish (and humans) at risk around Koodankulam, the risk posed by nuclear reactors is almost always understood only in terms of “disaster scenarios”, like Chernobyl and Fukushima. What is less often talked about, and still very poorly researched, is the continual effects of the *low-level radiation* that surrounds any nuclear plant. For instance, consider the studies done by Cornelia Hesse-Honeger on the effects of nuclear energy plants on strange mutations in insects, in select areas in Europe and America (areas where the rates of leukemia in humans are also significantly higher):

    And here if you want to read it, is a discussion, taken from Hugh Raffles’ book Insectopedia, the chapter on Hesse-Honeger, concerning the debate around low level nuclear energy:

    “In outline, it’s quite simple. The international nuclear regulatory agencies—principally the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) and the U.N. Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation—calculate the dangers of radioactivity to human health using a threshold. Although many scientists admit that the mechanisms of radiation damage to cells are poorly understood, that the composition of emissions from nuclear installations vary substantially, and that different bodies (not to mention different organs and different cells at different points in their development) respond to contamination in quite distinct ways, the threshold establishes a universal tolerance level below which emissions are considered safe. In the tense days following the disaster at Chernobyl, it was the logic of a fixed threshold that allowed government experts to reassure their nervous publics that the dangers were negligible.

    “The ICRP derives its threshold from a linear curve extrapolated from rates of genetic (reproductive) irregularities, cancer, and leukemia among the survivors of large-scale nuclear events. Since those calculations began, the prime data set has been drawn from survivors of the 1945 bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The initial radiation dosage at those sites was extremely large and distributed in a short period. The resulting curve emphasizes the effects of exposure to artificial radioactivity at high values. Low-level radiation, such as that emitted over long time periods by normally operating nuclear power plants, appears relatively, if not entirely, insignificant, its effects falling within the range of the “natural” background radiation emitted from elements present in the earth’s crust. The assumption is that large doses produce large effects; small doses, small effects.

    “A number of scientists unaffiliated with the nuclear industry and frequently in alliance with citizens’ groups from areas close to nuclear plants describe an alternative curve. Following work carried out in the 1970s by the Canadian physicist Abram Petkau, they argue that the effects of radiation are best captured not by the official linear curve, in which a double quantity produces a double effect, but by a “supralinear” curve, which registers far higher effects at low doses. In the supralinear curve, there is no safe minimum dose above zero.11

    “These researchers often begin with epidemiology, carrying out their own population surveys downwind or downstream of nuclear installations, looking for statistically significant correlations between localized clusters of disease and sites of low-level radiation emissions. Working from the assumption of a causal relationship between emissions and sickness—an assumption reinforced not only by the epidemic proportions of some of these clusters but also by the secrecy of the industry—their focus is on the identification of the mechanisms by which low dosage disrupts biological function.
    For example, Chris Busby, a British physical chemist and anti-nuclear campaigner, emphasizes two critical but overlooked variables: cell development and the random behavior of artificial radioactivity.12 Under normal conditions, Busby argues, a cell (any cell) is hit by radiation approximately once a year. If the cell is in its normal quiescent mode, it is fairly robust. However, during times of active replication—a repair mode that can be triggered by various forms of stress—the same cell is highly susceptible to radiation. At those moments, it exhibits considerable genomic instability, and two radioactive “hits” produce a far greater effect than just one.

    “Moreover, Busby says, the ingestion of radioactive materials through food and water has effects quite distinct from those of external exposure. Certain types of internal radiation associated with, for instance, drinking contaminated milk can produce multiple hits on an individual cell within hours. If a cell receives a second hit of artificial radiation while it is in active replication mode, he claims, it is up to 100 times more likely to mutate.

    “In Busby’s second-event theory, the level of vulnerability of a cell to radiation is a function of its state of development at a given moment. And this vulnerability is further exacerbated by the random, discontinuous waves characteristic of artificial radiation. Cornelia explained the randomness of artificial radiation to me using the analogy of bullets: it doesn’t matter how many are fired, whom they’re fired by, or even when and where they’re fired; you need only be hit by one at the wrong time and in the wrong place to suffer its effect. The ICRP linear curve assumes a constant distribution of particles and a predictable effect. If, as many argue, those are invalid assumptions, the levels of environmental susceptibility to the effects of radioactive contamination are likely to be dramatically elevated—indeed, they are likely sufficient to explain the epidemiological evidence of elevated mortality in human, animal, and plant populations in sites subject to more or less routine radioactive emissions.”


  6. When it was the hazare tamasha the whole brahmanised media made a revolution of it. But when it is concerned with larger question of man’s survival and sustainabiility , no takers


  7. Murali, perhaps it is not fair of me to say this sitting in my air-conditioned apartment in America, but I would generally side with protesters in a matter like this. First there is the matter of the local community’s fears and demands. But aside from that, the Indian state has not shown itself to be trustworthy, especially when it comes to projects like this. Even if the best safeguards put in place, the honesty and integrity of the environmental inspectors remains suspect.

    So simply put, I would not be in favor of a project with such great potential risks because the state has not shown itself to be a competent and honest regulator.


  8. The C.M has assured that the reactors are safe and it is likely that the state govt. will reject the demands of protesters.The project was planned in late 1980s. The protests started at that time but they had waxed and waned.The collapse of Soviet Union resulted in delays in the execution of project. But since 2000 progress has been made in construction and the project is in advanced stage.I wonder whether the state will abandon it now after sinking in so much money and it is a joint project with Russia. So abandoning this will send wrong signals to other countries like France.Hence it is likely that state may concede some demands as long as they do not result in the shutting down of project.
    Tamilnadu lacks coal resources and hydro resources have been almost exhausted. So thermal, nuclear and renewables are the options.Solar and wind are getting attention and investment and policy framework encourages investments in them.For thermal power plants it is better to locate them in the coastal areas with adequate pollution control measures and steps to ensure that livelihoods are not affected.Tamilnadu imports coal from Indonesia, (and Australia?) via sea besides from other states within India through rail and sea. Such is the situation in that southern state that demand always outstrips the supply. With surge in demand state cannot afford to say no to new power plants.That is the reality as power cuts are hated by all sections of society. So if there is no Koodankulam the thermal power capacity has to be increased to compensate that. I agree that there are pollution and environmental issues including livelihood issues. But the best way to tackle them is to ensure that pollution control measures are implemented in toto and livelihood issues are addressed to ensure that no section is deprived of its source of livelihood and sustenance. The Sethusamudram project had been stalled thanks to efforts of Subramanain Swami. Had it been implemented it would have damaged the gulf of mannar ecosystem beyond repair and affected livelihoods of thousands of fishermen. Yet the left parties, the dravidian parties and others including some who today oppose Koodankulam and thermal plants supported it, welcomed it because it would have destroyed Ramar Sethu a sacred site for Hindus.
    Swami wanted the project to be reworked in such a way that the sacred site was saved. They i.e.left parties, the dravidian parties and others including some who today oppose Koodankulam did not even ask for that but wanted it to be implemented in such a way that the sacred site would be destroyed. ADMK, VHP and some minor parties opposed the project, environmentalists opposed it. But the invoking of faith related questions only could result in it being halted. These characters who till the other day did not care about the fragile ecosystem of gulf of mannar and the coral reefs and livelihood of fishermen in Ramanathapuram ares are today talking of livelihood issues of fishemen in some other areas.I dont think that the general public in tamilnadu will support the demands against the Koodankulam project. They may remain indifferent. Let someone/group come up with alternative power plan for TamilNadu and argue that the state can do without Koodankulam and so many thermal power plants. Then the arguments against thermal plants may be credible and deserve a serious consideration.By and large the left, periyarists in Tamilnadu swear by Periyar, modernity, and is anti-Gandhian, and hence their opposition to thermal plants contradicts their overall ideological framework. In other words one wont find an A.K.N. Reddy or a group like Prayas among them.


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