News

    India Cancels Visa for Japanese Anti-Nuclear Activist

    Local fishermen hold black flags during an anti-nuclear protest outside a Russian-built nuclear plant in Kudankalam region, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, November 21, 2011.
    Local fishermen hold black flags during an anti-nuclear protest outside a Russian-built nuclear plant in Kudankalam region, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, November 21, 2011.
    Kurt Achin

    India's government has revoked the visa of a Japanese anti-nuclear activist who was scheduled to visit during the one-year anniversary of the Fukushima disaster.  Nuclear energy opponents say the move fits a pattern of seeking to stifle criticism of India's rapid push toward nuclear power.

    India says it revoked the business visa it granted to Maya Kobayashi because her travel itinerary did not match the stated purpose of her trip on her application.

    Greenpeace India, the organization that was to host her, says the real reason is more likely to be her plans to address fellow opponents of nuclear energy near the site of a controversial planned reactor in the state of Tamil Nadu.

    Kobayashi lived in Fukushima when the earthquake and tsunami struck last year.  She relocated due to concerns about radiation from the damaged reactor there.

    Greenpeace India campaigner Karuna Raina says she and other Fukushima survivors have been visiting other major consumers of nuclear power, like South Korea, but that India is the only country to deny her a visa.

    "She is not someone who is going to do anything," said Raina.  "She is not a threat to our country.  She was just going to come here and talk about her experiences."

    Activists like Raina say the visa cancellation reflects a "shrinking democratic space" when it comes to discussing nuclear power in India.  Raina says the government has found itself caught off guard by popular resistance to massive nuclear projects, particularly at Kudamkulam in Tamil Nadu, where protests have delayed the scheduled operation of a reactor.

    "It is such a spontaneous struggle and I think it is, just I mean they did not expect it to be such a huge resistance from people and now that it is, they cannot, they do not know how to handle that," Raina added.

    S.P. Udaykumar and his group, People's Movement Against Nuclear Energy, have taken a leading role in organizing the protests.  He says ordinary Indians have serious concerns about nuclear safety.

    "In a highly populated country like India, even a small incident will have a catastrophic effect on large numbers of people," said Udaykumar.  "Of course, no Chernobyl or Fukushima has happened.  But it does not mean they will never happen in India.  If you look at the track record of our disaster management, it will speak for itself."

    Udaykumar denies recent comments by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that anti-nuclear protests are driven by funds from foreign nongovernmental organizations.  He says accusations like that, and the Kobayashi visa denial, fit a pattern of paranoia about the nuclear debate.

    "This kind of intolerance is very un-Indian.  Right now we are becoming intolerant.  We are becoming suspicious of foreigners," Udaykumar added.

    Former U.S. National Security Council Advisor Michael Green says Japan's post-Fukushima policies on nuclear energy are likely to have a serious impact on India and the United States.

    "If the Japanese government cannot make the case for the safety and security of nuclear power, and if civil society movements or local politicians are empowered and seize the initiative, then that will do the same in other democracies, where there are questions about nuclear power and safety," said Green.

    Indian officials say there is little alternative to nuclear power when it comes to fulfilling India's enormous and growing energy needs and controlling carbon fuel emissions.  The country plans to generate about one-fourth of its energy with 20 nuclear reactors by 2050.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: VG
    March 09, 2012 7:18 AM
    There are seventeen reactors in India capable of producing 3900-megawatt of energy, but none of the reactors is working at an installed capacity. Why build new ones? Also, toxic nuclear waste management is poor in India, and the health of people living around the nuclear plants is highly questionable. The nuclear accident, nuclear waste, poor safety record, and health hazard make a compelling case against the use of nuclear energy.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora