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Home > Environment, Health and Social Justice > Japan’s nuclear crisis is a wake-up call for India

Japan’s nuclear crisis is a wake-up call for India

31 March 2011

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The grave nuclear crisis in Japan has highlighted the issue of safety in atomic installations the world over, including in India. It has also prompted the demand for a thorough safety review of nuclear installations. More than 60 eminent citizens from different walks of life have signed the following statement calling for an independent safety review of nuclear installations in India, and pending it, a moratorium on further nuclear activities. The prominent signatories include former Chief of Naval Staff L Ramdas, Indian Institute of Science Bangalore director P Balaram, former Planning Commission member SP Shukla, former vice-chancellor of Delhi University Deepak Nayyar, former Atomic Energy Regulatory Board chairman A Gopalakrishnan, former Ambassador to the United Nations Nirupam Sen, historians Romila Thapar, Sumit Sarkar, Mushirul Hasan and Ramachandra Guha, economists Amit Bhaduri and Jean Dreze, psychologist Ashis Nandy, scientists PM Bhargava, Satyajit Rath and MV Ramana, writers Arundhati Roy and Nayantara Sehgal, painters Krishen Khanna, Gulam Shaikh, SG Vasudev and Vivan Sundaram, dancer-choreographer Leela Samson, veteran journalist Kuldip Nayyar, and many other social scientists, scholars and activists, including Aruna Roy. The full list of signatories appears at the bottom. (PS: In case you want to contact or interview any of the signatories, please contact the Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace at +91 (011) 26517814 and 65663958).

[(The text of the statement with full list of signatories is available at, ]

Japan’s nuclear crisis is a wake-up call for India

March 30, 2011 [updated on March 31, 2011]

We deeply regret the death and devastation caused by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and are gravely concerned at the disaster at the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power station, where reactors suffered serious accidents damaging their cores, and released harmful radiation, resulting in radiation burns and other injuries.

Fukushima’s radiation releases have contaminated drinking water in Tokyo, 220 kilometres away. According to preliminary estimates based on data from a United Nations agency, Fukushima has already released about one-fifth as much iodine-131 as the 1986 Chernobyl catastrophe, and half as much caesium-137; both cause cancer.

The crisis shows that even in an industrially advanced country, nuclear reactors are vulnerable to catastrophes irrespective of precautions and safety measures. Small individual incidents in them can spiral into serious mishaps. The earthquake cut off primary power supply to the reactors. The backup power failed with the tsunami. Loss of cooling water precipitated the crisis. Two weeks on, Fukushima remains a threat to the public.

The Japanese nuclear crisis is a wake-up call for India, which has launched a huge nuclear expansion programme. Yet, instead of acknowledging the gravity of the crisis, our Department of Atomic Energy has cavalierly minimised it, described it a “purely chemical reaction”, and declared that Indian reactors cannot undergo serious accidents.

We strongly believe that India must radically review its nuclear power policy for appropriateness, safety, costs, and public acceptance, and undertake an independent, transparent safety audit of all its nuclear facilities, which involves non-DAE experts and civil society

Pending the review, there should be a moratorium on all further nuclear activity, and revocation of recent clearances for nuclear projects.


  • A Gopalakrishnan, former Chairman, Atomic Energy Regulatory Board
  • Achin Vanaik, Professor, Political Science, Delhi University
  • Amit Bhaduri, Economist, Professor Emeritus, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  • Amita Baviskar, Sociologist, Delhi School of Economics
  • Ammu Joseph, Journalist and writer, Bangalore
  • Anand Patwardhan, Film-maker, Mumbai
  • Anil Chaudhary, Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace
  • Anuradha Chenoy, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  • Aruna Roy, Mazdoor Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, Member, National Advisory Council
  • Arundhati Roy, Writer and Social Activist
  • Ashis Nandy, Psychologist and Social Critic
  • Ashish Kothari, Kalpvriksh, the environmentalist group
  • Bala Ravindran, Director, Institute of Life Sciences, Bhubaneswar
  • Balan Nambiar, Artist, Bangalore
  • Bharti Kher, Sculptor
  • C Rammanohar Reddy, Editor, Economic and Political Weekly
  • Deepak Nayyar, Economist and former Vice-Chancellor, Delhi University
  • Dunu Roy, Environment and Safety Activist, Hazards Centre, Delhi
  • EAS Sarma, Former Power Secretary, GoI, Vishakhapatnam
  • Geetanjali Shree, Hindi Writer
  • Girish Sant, Energy specialist, Prayas, Pune
  • Gulam Mohammed Shaikh, Artist
  • Harsh Kapoor, Social and Internet Activist
  • Imrana Qadeer, Public Health Researcher, former JNU Professor
  • Jairus Banaji, Historian
  • Javeed Alam, Chairman, Indian Council of Social Science Research
  • Jean Dreze, Economist, Allahabad University
  • Kamal Mitra Chenoy, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  • Kamala Bhasin, Feminist Activist, SANGAT
  • KN Panikkar, Historian, formerly JNU, now in Kerala
  • Kiran Shaheen, Professor, Media Studies, IMII, Delhi NCR
  • Krishen Khanna, Artist
  • Kuldip Nayar, Columnist, former High Commissioner to the UK
  • Lawrence Surendra, Professor Mysore University and Environmentalist
  • L Ramdas, Former Chief of Naval Staff, India
  • Lata Mani, Independent Scholar, Bangalore
  • Lalita Ramdas, Social Activist
  • Laxmi Murthy, Consulting Editor, The Himal, Kathmandu
  • Leela Samson, Dancer and Coreographer
  • MK Pal, Former Director, Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics, Kolkata
  • Meher Engineer, Former Scientist, Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics, Kolkata
  • Mohan Rao, Public Health Analyst, JNU
  • MV Ramana, Physicist, currently at Princeton University
  • Nandini Sundar, Prof. of Sociology
  • N Pushpmala, Artist, Bangalore
  • Nikhil Dey, Mazdoor Kisan Sangharsh Samiti Activist, Rajasthan
  • Nirupam Sen, Former Ambassador to the UN
  • P Balaram, Director Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore
  • PM Bhargava, Former Director, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad
  • Praful Bidwai, Columnist, Nuclear Affairs Analyst
  • Rajeev Bhargava, Director, Centre for Studies in Developing Societies, Delhi
  • Ram Rehman, Photographer
  • Rajashri Dasgupta, Feminist Activist and Journalist
  • Ramachandra Guha, Anthropologist and Historian
  • Ranbir Kaleka, Artist
  • Rohini Hensman, Independent Scholar and Activist
  • Romila Thapar, Historian, Professor Emeritus, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  • Sadanand Menon, Art Critic, Chennai
  • Shabnam Hashmi, Activist, ANHAD
  • Sanjay K Biswas, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore
  • Satya Sagar, Journalist and Public Health Worker, New Delhi
  • Satyajit Mayor, National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore
  • Satyajit Rath, National Institute of Immunology, Delhi
  • Seema Mustafa, Editor, The Sunday Guardian
  • SG Vasudev, Artist, Bangalore
  • SP Shukla, Former Member, Planning Commission and Finance Secretary, Government of India
  • Subodh Gupta, Sculptor
  • Sudhir Chandra, Historian, Baroda
  • Sudhir Chella Rajan, Indian Institute of Technology, Madras
  • Sumit Sarkar, Historian, Delhi
  • Sushil Khanna, Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta
  • Suvrat Raju, Physicist, Fellow at Harvard, now at Allahabad
  • Tani Bhargava, Social Activist, Delhi
  • Tanika Sarkar, Professor of History, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  • Udit Chaudhuri, Energy Systems Engineer
  • Uma Chandru, Environmental Safety Activist
  • Vickram Crishna, Asia Regional Coordinator, Privacy International
  • Vineeta Bal, Immunologist
  • Vivan Sundaram, Artist
  • Zoya Hasan, Political scientist, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Personal identifiers

28 Signatures

Date Name
19 April 2011 Valsan Koorma Kolleri site web
19 April 2011 FUKUNAGA Masaaki, Ph.D.(Sociology, BHU), Professor of South Aisan Studies , JAPAN
19 April 2011 VT Padmanabhan
12 April 2011 Tanguy site web
11 April 2011 Anuja M
5 April 2011 Frank Huzur
4 April 2011 Partho Sarothi Ray, molecular biologist, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Kolkata
2 April 2011 Tanzil Rahman, Activist, Bangalore
2 April 2011 Gabriele Dietrich
31 March 2011 Bikash Thagunna
31 March 2011 prasanna kumar,K.R.
30 March 2011 Mira Kamdar, Writer, Senior Fellow, World Policy Institute site web
30 March 2011 firdaus site web

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