4 pm Dec 11, 2012
With the commissioning of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project coming closer, anti-nuclear activists are upping the ante once again. Chat with CNN-IBN's senior correspondent Meenakshi Mahadevan on the anti-nuke protests.
15 questions answered
- Why has the govt(s) both at the center and state not able to gain the confidence of the people regarding safeguards against the dangers. Is it too late now to regain the confidence Asked by: Narayan
- Meenakshi Mahadevan That has been the govt's biggest mistake in this whole issue.. They have never really tried to reach out to the people and explain the safety measures that have been put in place in KNPP.. All the committees that were formed went till Kudankulam, visited the plant and gave a go ahead, never tried to interact with the people.. Had they done that maybe this issue wouldnt be where it is now..
- I think the protests are politically motivated and not in the true interest of the people. What are your views? Asked by: Chennai Vaasi
- Meenakshi Mahadevan That would be an exaggeration.. It strue that the protests have the backing of a few political parties but if yoiu visit the Idinthakarai village once and try interacting with the people, you'll realise that its not just politics.. For those women and children, its a matter of their livelihood and safety.. Small kids, housewives are so well aware of the possible dangers.. They ask u so many questions about radiation, nuclear waste etc... And they really spend much of their time lending voice to the protest.. Of course some political parties want to be seen as supporters of this protest to score political points but that doesn't mean the whole protest is motivated..
- Are the protests foreign funded? Asked by: Indian
- Meenakshi Mahadevan There have been allegations.. and counter allegations as far as foreign funding is concerned.. Best to leave the judgement to the investigators.. But the question is.. Does the govt have answers for the questions and concerns of these protesters? Give those answers and nothing else will matter..
- Can you explain? the Biggest question how and when they will solve this isse? Asked by: Rajeev
- Meenakshi Mahadevan Ha ha.. I wish.. We have seen the protests slowly escalate and blow up into this massive movement over the last two years.. What started off as a small protest in a small village near Kudankulam has now become a major protest that reached even Chennai.. PMANE laid siege to the plant through road and sea and even tried to do something similar to the state secretariat here.. The govt tried to use force and it became from bad to worse.. All they had to do and still can do is talk to those who are protesting.. And find a middle way
- how effective will the power plant be in solving the power crisis in tamil nadu? Asked by: syed
- Will it make sense to move the project to some other location in India ? Asked by: Iqbal
- Meenakshi Mahadevan Its too late for that.. Huge amounts of money have been invested and plant is all set to be commissioner in less than a month (atleast thats what we're being told).. Also im sure the area in Kudankulam was selected after looking into the various benefits of having a plant there..
- If Government announces free or subsidiary Electricity for surrounding area does it ease out the tension. Asked by: sudheendra_sr
- Why center had not initially decided to take clearance for disposal of nuclear waste before starting this project. Asked by: sudheendra_sr
- Meenakshi Mahadevan That was perhaps the mistake thats costing the centre now.. NCPIL perhaps thought it won be such a major issue.. Truth is it really wouldnt have been had the Fukushima disaster not happened.. But after that, the people became informed and started asking questions.. thats when the problems atarted
- PM was saying some time back that Kudankulam protest were motivated by foreign elements do you feel that he is polarizing the protestors and ignoring local interests of the region Asked by: Manush
- Meenakshi Mahadevan The timing of that comment by the Pm raised many eyebrows,, Why did he suddenly make that statement when the protests had been happening for much longer?? The sentiment on the ground is definitely that their sentiments and concerns have been ignored.. And when u see that no one from the govt is really trying to reach out to them, you really want to wonder whether their concerns are right..
- Why was there no protest when the project was on the drawing board why they are protesting when 100% investment is dome Asked by: srinivass
- Meenakshi Mahadevan The protest really gathered steam only after the Fukushima Daichi disaster.. There were too many questions.. If an advanced country like Japan couldnt manage their plants, how will India.. Does KNPP have all safety measures in place.. What will they do with the nuclear waste?? What if theres a tsunami?? all these questions started cropping up and that was when the govt should have addressed the people and given them assurance.. That didnt happen and the protests kept growing bigger..
- Tamilnadu is already suffering from power cuts. I don't see why people are opposing this if this improves their situation. So do you think this protests are politically motivated? Asked by: Shin
- Meenakshi Mahadevan Because there are bigger concerns than power for the people living in and around the plant.. These protests have been happening for a very long time but became stronger as the plant neared completion.. Political parties started supporting the protesters only later to score some brownie points.. Though there have been these distractions, the focus of the protests have remained the safety concerns
- Do you feel that govt is in haste to commission the Kudankulam plant so that it can prove that nuclear bill it passed in 2008 during no confidence motion is giving results as power could have been provided in an safer way with conventional means like thermal and hydro Asked by: Manav
- Meenakshi Mahadevan thats a far fetched thought.. Kudankulam is not the first nuclear power plant in India.. Conventional means of energy will continue to remain but the dependency on them like for instance wind energy is subject to the wind speeds.. So we have to start looking at alternate means of producing energy..
- There are functional nuclear plants across the country which have the same security measures as Kootamkulam. Do you think that the protest among the people is just because of their concern over safety measures? Asked by: Jins
- Meenakshi Mahadevan Mostly yes... There are the problem makers everywhere - no denying that.. But then, if the government is so confident of its safety measures, why doesn't it tell people that?? Atleast there wouldn't be a doubt in anybody's minds.. Also.. it'll be a fitting reply to these protesters also.. People will know govt has done its job!!
- PM's statement always get's node of congress supremo before it is published in media. Does this dip the confidence of people residing at Kundankulam. Asked by: sudheendra_sr
- Meenakshi Mahadevan Not really.. On the contrary the protesters in Kudankulam feel the entire foreign funding allegation was an attempt to derail their protests.. You have to visit that place and you'll know that every single person protesting there knows what he wants and what they are protesting against.. Their confidence hasnt really dipped much but somewhere within themselves, they ought to know its now becoming a losing battle..
- What will be the real benefits of providing power through nuclear as after some time its benefits will be neutralized as speculators and hoarders both in business and politics will exploit it on one pretext and the other and power prices again will be much higher than hydro and thermal Asked by: Shailesh
- Meenakshi Mahadevan The energy demand in India is rising considerably... Given that we need all forms of energy.. As far as nuclear energy is concerned, India has a vision of becoming a world leader in nuclear technology because of its expertise in fast reactors and thorium fuel cycle.. What happens in the future will be known only then.. But for now, given the power situation, any form of energy seems to be welcome..
Hosted byMeenakshi Mahadevan
Chennai Bureau, CNN-IBN