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For Jaitapur,a comic to dispel nuke power fears

To dispel fears of villagers opposed to the nuclear power project in Jaitapur,the Nuclear Power Corporation of India will distribute a comic book that will also focus on the benefits they would reap from nuclear energy.

Written by Mihika Basu | Mumbai |
May 22, 2011 1:10:07 am

To dispel fears of villagers opposed to the nuclear power project in Jaitapur,the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) will distribute a comic book that will also focus on the benefits they would reap from nuclear energy.

The comic,Ek Tha Budhiya: Kahani Ek Khushal Gaon Ki (The Story of a Prosperous Village),narrates the story of Jagdishpur,a village that had been underdeveloped for years owing to ignorance and outdated beliefs,which transforms into an ideal one after a nuclear plant is set up.

Written in simple Hindi,it is part of the public awareness activities of NPCIL.

“Did you know that the radiation dose from a single X-ray is equivalent to the radiation one receives in 20 years living near the fence of a nuclear power station or working in it,” asks Samir,the protagonist from the city who allays fears of villagers and convinces them that the plant will transform the village.

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“We will distribute the comic in Jaitapur,Ratnagiri,Madhya Pradesh and Haryana. There is a need to educate people in Jaitapur and other places where new plants are to come up and clear their confusion and dispel myths. In this regard,the comic book is not just to spread awareness but also make it attractive and interesting. It is in very simple language. It will be distributed among locals as well as schools so that students,principals and teachers also read it,” said Ranjit Kakde,general manager (corporate communications),NPCIL.

The book touches on all issues of nuclear energy,like its importance,radiation,impact on health and compensation for project-affected people. It starts with Budhiya and other villagers approaching the village head and expressing concern over nuclear power plant coming up in the village. The village head assures them there is nothing to be afraid of. His grandson Samir takes the lead in convincing them.

He explains that radioactivity from nuclear power stations to the surroundings is insignificant. He dispels misconceptions about adverse effects of a nuclear plant on health of people,farms and marine life. Samir explains how electricity generation is closely related to economic development,how nuclear power is clean and environment-friendly and why it will play a greater role in the long term. He says that a nuclear plant in the village will result in overall development including electricity for 24 hours,concrete roads,employment opportunities,schools and hospital.

When Budhiya and other villagers ask what will happen if a tsunami or an earthquake strikes,Samit tells them that all nuclear plants are tested to withstand quakes and tsunamis. He cites how the Bhuj quake in Gujarat and the tsunami in Tamil Nadu in 2004 could not affect nuclear plants in India. “Engineers at our nuclear plants have been living there happily with their family and are contributing to the country’s progress. Also,do not be misled by those who try to brainwash you by publicizing wrong facts,” he says.

The comic ends on a positive note with Samir convincing the villagers and Budhiya expressing his desire to visit a nuclear power plant.

Part two of the book will be about villagers visiting a plant,what they see and feel there. “We have dispatched booklets in Marathi to clear misconceptions about the Jaitapur power plant. The comic book is another step in that direction. It will soon be sent for printing. Gradually we will also publish it in other languages including Marathi,” said Kadke.

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