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Germany's Black Gold Threatens Villages
Brandenburg
By Isabell Zipfel
03 Jun 2014

Despite Germany’s reputation as an environmentally conscious nation, the country has been quietly ramping up its production of brown coal in recent years. As mining companies buy up land and dig vast open-pit mines, natural areas are being desecrated and inhabitants of nearby villages are being forced from their homes. Now, residents in nine villages in the eastern state of Brandenburg fear for the future of their homes, as the very land their houses are built on is being bought-up by Swedish mining company Vattenfall.

Brown coal is considered by many to be the black gold of the 21st century. After oil, coal is the world’s most important energy source, which makes mining it a highly lucrative business. Germany is the biggest brown coal producer in world, far ahead of China and the United States. In 2013, they produced over 162 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity from brown coal. Currently, Germany’s coal production is at a 25-year high and shows no sign of slowing down. Some coal industry experts are even calling the recent surge in production a “brown coal renaissance”.

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Nuclear Power in Kudankulam, India
Kudankulam, India
By Transterra Editor
09 Sep 2013

Idinthakarai, a majority Christian fishing village near the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP) in India, has become the epicenter of the anti-nuclear movement in the region. There is an estimated one million people living within 30 kilometers of the plant in villages all along the coast of Mannar — which is against the stipulated safety rules of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) of India — and the people deeply fear that poor regulation at the KKNPP could result in a disaster similar in scale to Fukushima.

Representing this cause, since 2011, the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) has been holed up in Idinthakarai where their headquarters is located. Idinthakarai's only entry point is closely guarded by villagers which, coupled with rumours about the villagers being armed with crude bombs, means the police are reluctant to enter this zone and deal with protests.

PMANE largely depends on the efforts of the women, and the support of local priests and churches to gather support and manpower in the area for the anti-nuclear protests. They work from the Lourde Mary Church in Idinthakarai, 6 km away from the power plant, dutifully sending out press releases and Facebook updates on the rare robust internet connection provided by the church, demanding for the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) to address their fears.

On May 6, 2013, the Supreme Court of India cleared the way for operations to begin at the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP). But despite the villagers' need for energy from other sources, and PMANE's best efforts, they still have received little or no safety-training in the event of a disaster. And the NPCIL continues to do little to assuage the fears of the local fishing communities.

Photos by Jyorthy Karat.
Article by Srinath Perur.

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Kudankulam 5
Kudankulam, India
By Jyothy Karat
14 Apr 2013

Boats dock at the Idinthakarai village, 6km away from the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP). The village is the headquarters for People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE), the NGO that has been spearheading the anti-nuclear protests in the region. The fact that there is only one entry point to the village, which is closely guarded by the villagers, coupled with rumours about the villagers being armed with crude bombs, mean the police are reluctant to enter this zone. Thereby protecting the protestors from hostile government agencies. The flip side is that the leaders holed up here might never get a chance to leave.

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Kudankulam 3
Kudankulam, India
By Jyothy Karat
14 Apr 2013

View of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP) as seen from Idinthakarai village. The KKNPP had been mired in controversies since its inception in 1988. Although four nuclear reactors were commissioned in 2008 in addition to the two reactors commissioned earlier, currently only one reactor (Unit I, 1000MW capacity) is operational (since July 13, 2013) and Unit II is still under construction.

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Kudankulam 6
Kudankulam, India
By Jyothy Karat
14 Apr 2013

Men make fishing nets by the beach in Idinthakarai village, 6km away from the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP). The fishermen fear that their livelihood would be hampered by the effluents released into the sea by the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant which could potentially destroy marine life.

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Kudankulam 4
Kudankulam, India
By Jyothy Karat
13 Apr 2013

A local fisherman is seen resting on his rudimentary boat near Idinthakarai - a fishing village with a population of 12,000. The fishermen fear that their livelihood would be hampered by the effluents released into the sea by the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant which could potentially destroy marine life.

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Kudankulam 2
Kudankulam
By Jyothy Karat
11 Mar 2013

700 boats and around 5000 villagers lay seige at the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant on the occasion of 2nd anniversary of Fukushima disaster, March 11,2013, Koodankulam. Organised protests erupted in the region in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in 2011. The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) has done little to assuage the fears of the local fishing communities of a similar disaster; while memories of the Tsunami hit in 2004 are still fresh in the minds of the locals.

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Kudankulam 1
Kudankulam,
By Jyothy Karat
11 Mar 2013

700 boats and around 5,000 villagers lay seige at the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant on the occasion of 2nd anniversary of Fukushima disaster, March 11,2013, Koodankulam. Organised protests erupted in the region in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in 2011. The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) has done little to assuage the fears of the local fishing communities of a similar disaster; while memories of the Tsunami hit in 2004 are still fresh in the minds of the locals.

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Japan Marks 2nd Anniversary Of Tsunam...
Miyagi, Japan
By satoruniwa
11 Mar 2013

Monks pray for the victims of the tsunami at a shore where the tsunami came from on the second anniversary day of 3.11.
Wakabayashi, Miyagi, Japan. 11 Mar. 2013

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Japan Marks 2nd Anniversary Of Tsunam...
Miyagi, Japan
By satoruniwa
11 Mar 2013

Monks pray for the victims of the tsunami at a shore where the tsunami came from on the second anniversary day of 3.11.
Wakabayashi, Miyagi, Japan. 11 Mar. 2013

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Japan Marks 2nd Anniversary Of Tsunam...
Miyagi, Japan
By satoruniwa
11 Mar 2013

A Buddha-shaped memorial for 3.11, the anniversary of the disaster at Fukushima. Wakabayashi, Miyagi, Japan. 11 Mar. 2013

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Kudankulam Article
Idinthakari, India
By Jyothy Karat
10 Mar 2013

Idinthakarai, a majority Christian fishing village near the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP) in India, has become the epicenter of the anti-nuclear movement in the region. There is an estimated one million people living within 30 kilometers of the plant in villages all along the coast of Mannar — which is against the stipulated safety rules of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) of India — and the people deeply fear that poor regulation at the KKNPP could result in a disaster similar in scale to Fukushima.

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Anti-nuclear protest.
Taipei, Taiwan
By CraigFergusonImages
10 Mar 2013

Pastors from Taiwan's Presbyterian Church have long been politically active. They are protesting nuclear power in Taipei.

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Su Tseng-chang talks to the media
Taipei, Taiwan
By CraigFergusonImages
10 Mar 2013

Su Tseng-chang, chairman of the opposition DPP talks to the media at an anti-nuclear rally in Taipei, Taiwan.

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Anti-nuclear protest
Taipei, Taiwan
By CraigFergusonImages
10 Mar 2013

A man carries a sign showing the locations of northern Taiwan's three nuclear plants and their respective distance to Greater Taipei and its 7 million people.

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NO NUKES
Taipei, Taiwan
By U.S. Editor
09 Mar 2013

Tens of thousands took to the streets of Taipei in an anti-nuclear protest. Timed to coincide with the second anniversary of Japan's Fukushima disaster, the rally called for a halt to the fourth nuclear plant currently under construction, as well as the shutdown of the three operating plants. The rally came just days after the government announced that a referendum would be held over halting construction on the fourth power plant.