On March 3rd, Remembering Hiroshima Imagining Peace hosted Pradeep Indulkar in Pittsburgh and arranged for the screening of his first documentary, High Power. Set in the village of Tarapur, India, the film recounts the betrayal and slow destruction of the health and livelihood of the 10,000 inhabitants of Tarapur.
In 1969, when the Tarapur Nuclear Power Station was constructed, the population was promised jobs and services, none of which materialized. In the film, many residents are interviewed about the negative physical consequences they have endured including miscarriages, kidney disorders, high blood pressure, heart problems, low IQs in children, and how the environment has changed (e.g., deformed coconut trees that do not grow to their full height). Dr. Sonia Sarve reports on the serious infertility issues she has observed. A rise in temperature in nearby ocean waters resulting from the power station has decimated local fisheries, or the fish are so small as to make them unmarketable.
Nuclear power is currently 3% of the energy in India and is expected to increase to 20% by 2020. In 2009, there were protests in Tarapur, and in 2011 Fukushima renewed concerns about nuclear power. Because India has eight months of bright sunlight, solar could be a feasible option, but the government does not support it. Mr. Indulkar explained that financial interests control the energy mix. Westinghouse was mentioned many times as one of the companies that has built power plants in India.
Pradeep Indulkar is a qualified engineer and worked in an atomic research center for 12 years. He then became an antinuclear activist and is presently fighting against the Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project, slated to be the largest nuclear power generating station in the world by net electrical power rating.