Dissertation Abstracts

Interrogating State and Nuclear Energy in India: A study of People's Movements in Kudankulam and Jaitapure

Author: Ajmal Khan A.T, atajmalnat@gmail.com
Department: School of Development Studies
University: Tata Institute of Social Sciences , India
Supervisor: Pro.f Ashwani Kumar
Year of completion: 2018
Language of dissertation: English

Keywords: Nuclear Energy , India , Social Movements , State
Areas of Research: Sociology of Risk and Uncertainty , Social Movements, Collective Action and Social Change , Political Sociology

Abstract

Post-colonial Indian state started it's nuclear programme by establishing Atomic Energy Commission way back in 1948, and the Department of Atomic Energy in 1954 under the direct control of the office of the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Since then, India had gigantic projections of energy produced from the nuclear power. However, after decades Indian nuclear establishment remain incapable of producing more than 2% of the total energy generation from the 22 nuclear reactors across the country. On the other hand, protest movements against nuclear power projects have emerged all across the country where nuclear power projects are proposed, under construction and in expansion. Two major protests that India witnessed against the nuclear power projects were the protests against Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project in the state of Tamil Nadu and the protests against Jaitapur Nuclear Power project in the state of Maharashtra. This study focuses on the emergence and the development of the protest movements against nuclear power projects at Kudankulam and Jaitapur. Theoretical background this study utilizing is the notion of 'everyday state' or in other words the 'experience of everyday state' (Fuller & Benei; Spencer 2010 & Gupta 1998, 2012). It’s used as a theoretical point of departure, the study also uses the 'state of exception' explained by Agamben (2005) and 'necropolitics' by Mbembe (2003). Drawing from the data collected from the villages through extensive fieldwork at Kudankulam and Jaitapur and other sources, the study suggests that protest movements emerged as the result of growing understanding and awareness about the nuclear power and its inherent vulnerabilities, the perception of the risks nuclear power projects are inherent to create on the local communities. The way in which state responded to the protests and the experience of the process of development of the nuclear state by the local people and discontents against it sustained the protests against the projects. The study shows that everyday experience of the state in the context of protest movements against nuclear power project is the experience of the nuclear state. The everyday experience of the state by the people who are opposing the projects is the experience of the nuclear state, the everyday nuclear state. The security and protection demanded by the nuclear state is incompatible with the democracy, hence the state unleash unprecedented repression to the opposition to the projects. The hinterlands chosen for setting up the nuclear power projects shows the necropolitics. When the rural people, fishermen, farmers and other vulnerable people live in these locations are not only forced for eviction from their land and livelihoods but direct killing and police action where the opposition against the project is criminalized and finally the impact of radiation and accident or any other event which take place at the project decide the fate on their lives. The study also unfolds the interesting local politics around the nuclear energy and power projects at both the locations.

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