HSBC backs nuclear power in Indian earthquake zone

Posted by jamie — 11 May 2011 at 12:34pm - Comments
Site of the proposed nuclear power station in Jaitapur, India
All rights reserved. Credit: Apoorva Salkade / Greenpeace
Site of the proposed nuclear power station in Jaitapur, India

Two months ago, an earthquake and tsunami hit Japan. This not only resulted in a huge natural disaster and humanitarian crisis, but also triggered an unprecedented man-made tragedy. And yet plans are afoot to build a nuclear power plant in another earthquake zone, this time in India.

The Fukushima nuclear power plant is still out of control, threatening the health of thousands of people and their livelihoods. If making mistakes with nuclear energy is bad enough, not learning from those mistakes is indefensible.

Tell HSBC and BNP Paribas not to invest in risky nuclear power

So it seems absurd that anyone would want to build a new nuclear facility in another seismically-active area. Yet the proposed plant in Jaitapur – on the western coast of the sub-continent, a few hundred kilometres south of Mumbai - looks set to repeat the same careless and short-sighted mistakes that left Japan to cope with not just the devastation caused by the earthquake and tsunami, but also the consequences of radioactive pollution.

Of course, such ill-conceived plans are very expensive and require financial backing from major banks. Two banks in particular – HSBC and BNP Paribas – are getting involved in the Jaitapur project. With the risks involved being so clearly demonstrated at Fukushima, surely staying away from nuclear and backing clean, renewable energy would be a safer investment?

It's worth bearing in mind that wind farms in Japan withstood the natural disaster. Weigh that alongside the Indian environment minister's admission the government's current plans for a massive coastal nuclear power plant do not cover the possible event of a tsunami. What's more, the proposed site is located in an area of high seismic activity and fragile local ecology.

But, you can encourage them to change - email the boards fo HSBC and BNP Paribas and tell them to call a halt to this hazardous plan. Today also marks the annual general meeting of BNP Paribas and HSBC’s strategy day – both excellent opportunities for their shareholders and senior executives to reconsider their involvement in such demonstrably risky project.

Help us encourage banks like HSBC and BNP Paribas to learn the lessons of Fukushima and invest in safe, sustainable energy by writing to the boards of these international banks and asking them to help us stop a very risky nuclear project in India.

About Jamie

I'm a forests campaigner working mainly on Indonesia. My personal mumblings can be found @shrinkydinky.

Follow Greenpeace UK