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Amazing? India's legal system has 'no interest' in deliberating on existential nuclear threat

By Shankar Sharma* 

An article by Dr MV Ramana, "The global footprint of nuclear fallout - We are all Hibakusha", should leave no one under the wrong impression that most sections of the global society, which are not in the geographical proximity of nuclear explosions/ weapon test sites/ nuclear facilities, are safe from nuclear contamination threats. It should not be difficult for any one with a modest understanding of radiation related threats to appreciate the overall message of this article.
As has been vividly explained in the article, it is credibly safe to assume that almost all sections of the global society (except, probably the remotest corners of South/ North poles) are facing/ experiencing the risk of exposure to nuclear radiation. 
The early nuclear fission tests, subsequent weapon tests (totaling more than 528 nuclear weapon tests as per an estimate), nuclear power plant accidents (such as at Chernobyl and Fukushima), radiation leakage during the processing/ transportation of nuclear materials/ wastes etc. are acknowledged as having contaminated almost all habitats in the world, with unacceptable health implications to all living beings.
And the authorities, nowhere in the world, seem to be concerned about the associated implications to the humanity. In our own backyard, even the dedicated agencies such as National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) etc. seem to be un-aware/ disinterested of the associated risks/ costs/ implications to the billions of people; despite repeated representations from civil society groups. And the successive governments continue to happily pour billions of rupees into the nuclear sector thereby continuously escalating the risks/ costs to the entire society.
What is most disconcerting is the fact that nuclear power has been acknowledged as the costliest, riskiest, slowest and most complex of various techno-economically available options at any part of global society to generate electricity; and that there are vastly more attractive and least costly options such as solar and wind power technologies to meet the ever increasing global electricity demand.
It is credibly safe to assume that almost all sections of global society face risk of exposure to nuclear radiation
Dr MV Ramana is a physicist, and has been writing effectively on many issues of nuclear energy sector. This article has also identified him as the Simons Chair in Disarmament, Global and Human Security and Professor at the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs, University of British Columbia, and the author of a forthcoming book explaining why nuclear power is not a solution to climate change to be published by Verso Books.
It is amazing that even our legal system seems to have no interest in deliberating on such existential threats despite many representations from civil society. Whereas the same legal system has taken many suo-moto cases, and has even taken cases on issues which have been discussed and passed in the Parliament, it is disappointing that the associated risks/ costs/ implications to the billions of people from vast but unsubstantiated investments in nuclear industry are of no concern to the same legal system.
Since it is increasingly becoming clear that none of the concerned authorities, not just in India but all over the globe, are not heeding to the associated and genuine concerns of civil society groups, there is an ever increasing onus on civil society groups to deliberate on what we can do safeguard our people from the credible threats of nuclear radiation. 
 It is acknowledged that it is a daunting task to persuade the concerned authorities to provide utmost priority in dealing such existential threats with high level of responsibility, but there are no options other than continuing to make efforts.
In this backdrop, can we say that we will have a bright future, or "Acche din ayenge"? As a matter of fact can we not say that global society seem to moving towards multiple nuclear related disaster in addition to climate change?
*Power and climate policy analyst



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