Resolution on Environmental Protection and People-centric Development

12. While demanding that industries should be forced to meet existing environmental standards and be penalised for violations, we should also demand better and stricter regulations. Moreover, there is a need to try and go beyond the ‘end-of-pipe’ solutions for tackling industrial pollution, by demanding that industries install technologies and processes which are more environment-friendly and generate less pollution.

Issues Concerning Nuclear Energy

13. Especially in the wake of the Indo-US Nuclear Deal signed by the UPA Government and the subsequent nuclear overdrive, there is an urgent need to confront the use of nuclear energy even for so-called ‘peaceful’ purposes of generating energy. The government is pushing for a massive increase in India’s installed nuclear capacity from the current 4,120 MWe to a whopping 63,000 MWe by 2032. And this road-map was not changed even after the Fukushima disaster, which happened in one of the so-called ‘safest’ and most ‘technologically-advanced’ plants in the world, raising concerns about what would happen in case of an accident in a backward country like ours!

14. Accidents apart, the entire process of energy generation from nuclear fission routinely exposes people to harmful radiations on a continuous basis. Moreover, as opposed to false claims routinely made by nuclear establishment across the world, nuclear power plants are most often more expensive than other sources of energy; far from being ‘renewable’ and ‘perennial’, the existing supplies of uranium will last us a maximum of 80 more years after which there will be no nuclear fuel to run our plants; and taking into account the entire process of generating nuclear energy, from mining to storage of wastes, it is no less harmful in greenhouse gas emissions as compared to coal or gas based electricity generation. The proposed plant at Jaitapur (with the European Pressurised Reactor technology) for instance will cost Rs 19.5 crore/MWe as compared to Rs 5 crore/ MWe for a coal-based plant. Moreover, the cost of nuclear power has been increasing, as opposed to the falling costs of solar and wind power.

15. It is precisely for these reasons that globally, the dependence on nuclear energy has been falling; the number of nuclear reactors nuclear power stations in operation worldwide is likely to decrease by 22% by the year 2020, and by about 29% by the year 2030. Germany for instance has announced that it will close down all its nuclear power plants and become nuclear free by 2022. But the ruling elite in India is shamelessly going the opposite way to please the US imperialism in utter disregard of people’s interest and national sovereignty.

16. We must therefore expose and resist the US-sponsored nuclear overdrive, and run campaigns bolstered by facts and logic to support and strengthen the ongoing anti-nuclear plant movements in Jaitapur, Koodankulam, Haripur, Fatehabad and elsewhere. The UPA along with the Nitish government has recently proposed two new plants in Katihar and Nawada districts of Bihar, and here too, the projects will have to be robustly opposed. Environment and Health:

Asbestos, Dumping of Toxic Wastes

17. On 13 May 2011, the Supreme Court banned the use, sale, production and export of endosulfan throughout the country, citing its harmful effects, till the time a joint committee (formed under the aegis of the Indian Council of Medical Research and the Agriculture Commissioner) submits its report