Monday, November 14, 2011

Nuclear Power In India:Our worst enemy

Those who are advocating the case of nuclear power for India are the worst enemies of the country and are in fact playing into the hands of Western Giants by nurturing their quest to remain global super economic powers and technology leaders for the coming fifty years at least. Let us not fall into this trap and place trillions of dollars as the cost of nuclear power plant technologies in their hands. These technologies are definitely defunct and out of sync with the energy security concepts of  21st century. The huge sums of money gained by these countries through sale of these technologies will enable them to remain technology leaders through major researches and engineering infrastructure development in the upcoming fields of wind and solar energy. Let those in power and policy makers of the nation show to the nation that they are working for Indian National Interest in the same way as US and French leaders are working for their country's interests.
It should be clear to one and all of this country that western nations have not suddenly developed special love and concern for India and its poor masses for nothing. They are only ensuring their own economic interests. For if today India does not buy 30000 mw of nuclear power plants, all their efforts and investments in research and technology infrastructure development for nuclear power plants will go unrewarded as none of their favored friends are willing to buy new nuclear plants or replace the earlier ones.They have little incentive for pouring in large sums of money in solar and wind power as catering to replacement requirements of nuclear and thermal power plants is a smaller economic activity and new economic powers like Germany, Japan, China and India are also gearing up to have a share in this pie.
For India, the opportunity of developing wind and solar energy is something like 75000 to 80000 mw in the coming decade. If we harness our research talent and expertise of engineering giants of the country for technology development, we will reap the benefits of this massive in house requirements and opportunity of massive scale up of engineering operations. We can easily become the world leaders and exporters of these technologies to the whole world.
So far for the opportunity to become world leaders in the field of power generation. Let us now concentrate on the problems associated with nuclear power generation which in themselves are strong enough reasons for abandoning the path of energy security through nuclear options.
  • No nuclear reactor can be 100% safe. A normal accident of whatever magnitude in any industry can at worst affect a couple of lives for once, whereas the worst possible nuclear accident can destroy thousands of lives,affect very large tracts of lands and couple of generations of those involved in the accident. These accidents could be a result of engineering failures, natural disasters like earthquakes, tsunami, terror attacks etc.
  • The capital cost of  1 mw of nuclear power plant is approx. 40 crores which as it is exorbitant. If we add the cost of radioactive waste management ( about 10% ) and insurance liability cost against terror attacks and accident damage ( 100% or even more ), nuclear power  becomes only a liability to the nation. This is perhaps the reason that no new nuclear power plants came up in USA during the last three decades and Germany has decided to totally abandon it by 2025. Japan will be no longer be replacing their old reactors. Australia the second largest producer of nuclear fuel has no nuclear power plant.
  • Problems of proliferation, susceptibility to theft or sale to terrorist and criminal organisations
  • Extremely long gestation periods of 10 - 15 years
  • India will always be prone to blackmail at the whims and fancies of fuel suppliers. After all we have been subject to this blackmail earlier also.