Nuclear Power – Yes Please! or No Thanks! ?

May 18, 2011 at 12:15 pm

Even as the world marked the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, India reaffirmed its commitment to an ambitious nuclear energy plan by pushing ahead with the first phase of the controversial nuclear power plant project at Jaitapur in Maharashtra with additional safety measures and a “generous new compensation package” to be announced soon.

But in a concession to heightened public awareness of the need for proper regulation and oversight, the government also promised to introduce a bill in the next session of Parliament creating an independent and autonomous Nuclear Regulatory Authority of India that would subsume the existing Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB). In recent times, Indian citizens have begun to voice their fears and fantasies to the government and communication media is leaving no stones unturned in making them well heard!

In a European study (the Eurobarometer survey) it was found that those people who feel informed about nuclear safety tend to perceive the risks as lower than those who feel uninformed. In an attempt to keep ourselves informed about the reasons behind the entire Jaitapur debate, IM lists various facts and figures which may help us answer a significant question, that is: "NUCLEAR POWER – YES PLEASE! Or NO THANKS! ???"

After Fukushima, people around the world are rethinking nuclear energy. The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, observed that “when… the apparently impossible becomes possible and the absolute unlikely reality, then the situation changes”. She announced a “measured exit” from reliance on nuclear energy, which means closing Germany’s 17 reactors. Switzerland has already suspended plans to build new reactors. An article in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists quoted “countries with weak environmental movements and weak regulatory norms seem to be proceeding as if nothing has happened. As the Fukushima nuclear disaster unfolded, Turkey announced plans to go ahead with two reactors, and we can surely expect China, Russia, and India to do the same.” After the accident in Japan, S.K. Jain, the chairman of India’s Nuclear Power Corporation said that in India “We have got total knowledge and design of the seismic activities. Worst seismic events and tsunami have been taken into consideration in our designs.” The Japanese nuclear authorities no doubt thought the same way before Fukushima. But as with time our ability and efficiency has goes beyond our expectations, similarly did standards of ‘worst’ catastrophic events.

Nuclear establishments underestimate the likelihood and severity of possible accidents. The Fukushima reactors were not prepared to cope with an earthquake and tsunami of the size that took place. A month before the accident, the Fukushima plant was given a permit to operate for another 10 years. The Tokyo Electric Power Company that owns and operates the reactors, the nuclear safety agency in Japan and the Japanese government all convinced themselves the reactors were safe.

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Namita Sharma

Source: | South Asia Citizens Wire | South Asia Citizens Wire | Tehelka | Geothermal Energy Resources of India | Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists | OneWorld South Asia |


  • Rusha wrote:

    as the resources of coal and other conventional energies are limited, we have to think something new/unconventional. at this point, nuclear energy is a good option. there are many advantages of nuclear energy over thermal energy like the amount of obtained energy from the same amount of main raw material (uranium) is more that that of coal and so on. however we cant ignore the health hazards of nuclear reactor. so i think we can go for "yes please" but with necessary precautions.

  • yah it is true that conventional resources of energy are exhausting day-by-day and nuclear energy is of course a better option. but, if we are talking about the nuclear plant in jaitapur, as it is already known that jaitapur falls under earth-quake prone zones and moreover, the french EPR reactors have a serious safety issues and it has not been tested sucessfully here we are dealing with so many precious lives. hence government should give a second thought..... in my opinion "no thanks" (regarding jaitapur plant )

  • IM wrote:

    Yes, we are in urgent need of energy to keep not only the economy afloat/rising but also to bring light to more than 50% of India, be it villages or be it urban areas. The problem exists. Going by this, Yes Please is what we need to go far. But as Sunita pointed, we just can't go ahead with reactors which are not tested or have failed tests. Or have Civil Nuclear Liability bill made so weak that showcase are lack of respect for our very own lives. We can check population growth, not leave fellow Indians to die. We need nuclear energy with a lot of changes made by a responsible administration.

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