March 30, 2011 updated on March 31, 2011

We deeply regret the death and devastation caused by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and are gravely concerned at the disaster at the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power station, where reactors suffered serious accidents damaging their cores, and released harmful radiation, resulting in radiation burns and other injuries.

Fukushima’s radiation releases have contaminated drinking water in Tokyo, 220 kilometres away. According to preliminary estimates based on data from a United Nations agency, Fukushima has already released about one-fifth as much iodine-131 as the 1986 Chernobyl catastrophe, and half as much caesium-137; both cause cancer.

The crisis shows that even in an industrially advanced country, nuclear reactors are vulnerable to catastrophes irrespective of precautions and safety measures. Small individual incidents in them can spiral into serious mishaps. The earthquake cut off primary power supply to the reactors. The backup power failed with the tsunami. Loss of cooling water precipitated the crisis. Two weeks on, Fukushima remains a threat to the public.

The Japanese nuclear crisis is a wake-up call for India, which has launched a huge nuclear expansion programme. Yet, instead of acknowledging the gravity of the crisis, our Department of Atomic Energy has cavalierly minimised it, described it a “purely chemical reaction”, and declared that Indian reactors cannot undergo serious accidents.

We strongly believe that India must radically review its nuclear power policy for appropriateness, safety, costs, and public acceptance, and undertake an independent, transparent safety audit of all its nuclear facilities, which involves non-DAE experts and civil society organisations.

Pending the review, there should be a moratorium on all further nuclear activity, and revocation of recent clearances for nuclear projects.

(The above statement is available at,


  • A Gopalakrishnan, former Chairman, Atomic Energy Regulatory Board
  • Achin Vanaik, Professor, Political Science, Delhi University
  • Amit Bhaduri, Economist, Professor Emeritus, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  • Amita Baviskar, Sociologist, Delhi School of Economics
  • Ammu Joseph, Journalist and writer, Bangalore
  • Anand Patwardhan, Film-maker, Mumbai
  • Anil Chaudhary, Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace
  • Anuradha Chenoy, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  • Aruna Roy, Mazdoor Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, Member, National Advisory Council
  • Arundhati Roy, Writer and Social Activist
  • Ashis Nandy, Psychologist and Social Critic
  • Ashish Kothari, Kalpvriksh, the environmentalist group
  • Bala Ravindran, Director, Institute of Life Sciences, Bhubaneswar
  • Balan Nambiar, Artist, Bangalore
  • Bharti Kher, Sculptor
  • C Rammanohar Reddy, Editor, Economic and Political Weekly
  • Deepak Nayyar, Economist and former Vice-Chancellor, Delhi University
  • Dunu Roy, Environment and Safety Activist, Hazards Centre, Delhi
  • EAS Sarma, Former Power Secretary, GoI, Vishakhapatnam
  • Geetanjali Shree, Hindi Writer
  • Girish Sant, Energy specialist, Prayas, Pune
  • Gulam Mohammed Shaikh, Artist
  • Harsh Kapoor, Social and Internet Activist
  • Imrana Qadeer, Public Health Researcher, former JNU Professor
  • Jairus Banaji, Historian
  • Javeed Alam, Chairman, Indian Council of Social Science Research
  • Jean Dreze, Economist, Allahabad University
  • Kamal Mitra Chenoy, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  • Kamala Bhasin, Feminist Activist, SANGAT
  • KN Panikkar, Historian, formerly JNU, now in Kerala
  • Kiran Shaheen, Professor, Media Studies, IMII, Delhi NCR
  • Krishen Khanna, Artist
  • Kuldip Nayar, Columnist, former High Commissioner to the UK
  • Lawrence Surendra, Professor Mysore University and Environmentalist
  • L Ramdas, Former Chief of Naval Staff, India
  • Lata Mani, Independent Scholar, Bangalore
  • Lalita Ramdas, Social Activist
  • Laxmi Murthy, Consulting Editor, The Himal, Kathmandu
  • Leela Samson, Dancer and Coreographer
  • MK Pal, Former Director, Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics, Kolkata
  • Meher Engineer, Former Scientist, Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics, Kolkata
  • Mohan Rao, Public Health Analyst, JNU
  • MV Ramana, Physicist, currently at Princeton University
  • Nandini Sundar, Prof. of Sociology
  • N Pushpmala, Artist, Bangalore
  • Nikhil Dey, Mazdoor Kisan Sangharsh Samiti Activist, Rajasthan
  • Nirupam Sen, Former Ambassador to the UN
  • P Balaram, Director Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore
  • PM Bhargava, Former Director, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad
  • Praful Bidwai, Columnist, Nuclear Affairs Analyst
  • Rajeev Bhargava, Director, Centre for Studies in Developing Societies, Delhi
  • Ram Rehman, Photographer
  • Rajashri Dasgupta, Feminist Activist and Journalist
  • Ramachandra Guha, Anthropologist and Historian
  • Ranbir Kaleka, Artist
  • Rohini Hensman, Independent Scholar and Activist
  • Romila Thapar, Historian, Professor Emeritus, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  • Sadanand Menon, Art Critic, Chennai
  • Shabnam Hashmi, Activist, ANHAD
  • Sanjay K Biswas, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore
  • Satya Sagar, Journalist and Public Health Worker, New Delhi
  • Satyajit Mayor, National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore
  • Satyajit Rath, National Institute of Immunology, Delhi
  • Seema Mustafa, Editor, The Sunday Guardian
  • SG Vasudev, Artist, Bangalore
  • SP Shukla, Former Member, Planning Commission and Finance Secretary, Government of India
  • Subodh Gupta, Sculptor
  • Sudhir Chandra, Historian, Baroda
  • Sudhir Chella Rajan, Indian Institute of Technology, Madras
  • Sumit Sarkar, Historian, Delhi
  • Sushil Khanna, Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta
  • Suvrat Raju, Physicist, Fellow at Harvard, now at Allahabad
  • Tani Bhargava, Social Activist, Delhi
  • Tanika Sarkar, Professor of History, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  • Udit Chaudhuri, Energy Systems Engineer
  • Uma Chandru, Environmental Safety Activist
  • Vickram Crishna, Asia Regional Coordinator, Privacy International
  • Vineeta Bal, Immunologist
  • Vivan Sundaram, Artist
  • Zoya Hasan, Political scientist, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University