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Nuclear Power Protests Take to the Water
Nuclear protests in India and California
Just offshore of the coastal California town of San Luis Obispo, humpback whales are gathered in unprecedented numbers, perhaps in protest to the seismic testing planned at the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant; Half a world a way, thousands of villagers from Idinthakarai in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu took to the water in protest to attempt to stop uranium from being loaded into fuel rods at the Koodankulam nuclear power plant. The 'jal satyagraha' or peaceful water protests continue as protesters wade into the ocean for hours at a stretch. Hunger strikes also started in response to a brutal attack earlier this week on the nonviolent protesters most of whom are women and children by the Indian police, which left two protesters dead and fifteen severely wounded.
The Koodankulam nuclear power plant was started in 1988 by the Indian government in collaboration with the Russian government. Protest against the plant have been ongoing for the last fifteen years. After Fukushima, protest reinvigorated with hunger strikes, nonviolent demonstrations, and now villagers are taking to the water. “It is a mass struggle that has been unheard of in this part of the country,” said Dr. Kumar Udayakumar of the movement to stop the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project.
While women and children take to the water in India to stop nuclear power, humpback whales in California drew several hundred protesters near the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant drawing attention to seismic tests planned by the plant’s operator: PG&E. Diablo Canyon is built at the intersections of at least 13 earthquake faults. The state legislature ordered PG&E to conduct seismic testing. Now PG&E is planning to shoot 230 decibels –-the equivalent of standing next to a 747 during take off—every 63 seconds around the clock for 30 days. This will kill marine life including dolphins and whales. 30% of all of the earth’s whales travel up the California coastline. So the humpback whales in California are joining with the people in India participating in ‘in'jal satyagraha,' reminding us that there is no safe, clean nuclear power.
Tara Dorabji is a host and producer on KPFA radio. You can follow her work at dorabji.com.