Nuclear Power Corporation launches ad campaign to convince public and opponents
Source: Business Standard
Move aimed at curtailing opposition to nuke power projects.
Amid the rising opposition to nuclear power projects in the country, state-run Nuclear Power Corporation (NPC) has adopted advertising blitzkrieg in an effort to convince the public and opponents, in particular, about the need of nuclear energy in India, in wake of the limited availability of coal and gas. The campaign would not only provide information on the status of rehabilitation and safety of those affected by the 20 existing nuclear power plants, it will also try to allay fears regarding radiation contamination.
To reach out in a big way, the advertisements would be rolled out in regional as well as national dailies. The advertisement is in addition to NPC’s earlier move to reach out through people-to-people campaigns and booklets and regional publications. The corporation proposes to increase nuclear capacity to 63,000 Mw by 2032, up from the present level of 4,780 Mw. However, it fears the proposed addition may be delayed if the opposition continues.
As a beginning, NPC carried out full page advertisements in almost all Mumbai dailies on the functioning of the its Tarapur units. An NPC official, who did not want to be identified, told Business Standard, “The Tarapur advertisement was released first, as the units I and II, which began operations 42 years ago, have boiling water reactors, similar to Japan’s Fukushima plant, which was damaged in an earthquake in March. A lot of safety additions have been made in these units. Further, units III and IV were dedicated to the national six years ago. The company has spent about Rs 10 crore on providing basic amenities, education and health facilities in and around Tarapur,” the official said.
NPC’s move to select Tarapur is crucial, as local residents and the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance have been spearheading the campaign against the corporation’s neglect in ensuring proper rehabilitation and maintenance of residents’ health and the environment.
According to the official, a similar campaign would be launched for the Kudankulam project, embroiled in a controversy ever since the Tamil Nadu Cabinet took a decision to stop work. The construction has been stopped due to the agitation. M K Balaji, Kudankulam’s project site director, said, “Though the villagers have withdrawn the rasta roko, we are unable to take our 1,000 staff inside the plant. Hardly 100 engineers are allowed daily for the upkeep of the project. We are expecting the expert committee appointed by the Centre to soon complete its exercise and submit its report,” he added.
NPC is facing similar opposition against proposed projects in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Haryana and Andhra Pradesh. “The campaign will primarily focus on the selection of project sites (done after extensive surveys), comprehensive rehabilitation packages and the safety measures adopted in the wake of Fukushima disaster,” the official added.