Saturday, February 25, 2012

NUCLEAR ENERGY in INDIA: IS IT A WISE OPTION

Indian nation is standing on the crossroads to find an answer to the Energy Security of the country which is effective, long lasting, safe with no chance of a catastrophic accident, environment friendly and totally dependent upon Indian Natural Resources. The answer to energy security definitely lies in  a combination of the clean energy technologies and that too in the renewable ones. Luckily India is blessed with an abundance of solar, wind and Hydroelectric potential sufficient  to take care of its energy needs even when per capita energy consumption is raised to the level of advanced western nations. In a country with such a favourable scenario for renewable energy sources, basing our energy security on nuclear energy reeks of nothing else but  hidden agenda of vested interests. The question "NUCLEAR ENERGY in INDIA: IS IT A WISE OPTION" cannot stand the scrutiny of even the elementary wisdom. The rulers of the country should rise above their petty politics, narrow vision and act as statesmen with a vision beyond thirty years when most of the fuel resources of this world, be it coal, oil or Uranium will all dry up to a level beyond commercial exploitation and all humanity on this globe will be forced to look towards eternal renewable energy sources only.

Few questions that need to be probed
  1. The cost of nuclear energy including capital cost, fuel cost, running cost, arrangements for stopping theft and pilferage of nuclear material, safety against terrorist groups, full arrangements for full compensation in case of a blow out for immediate damage/losses and losses resulting in even after two or three decades, decommissioning cost of a life expired plant and management of nuclear wastes and above all vulnerability to political and economic blackmail by the fuel suppliers.Incidentally no nation has made any provisions for  full arrangements for compensation in case of a blow out, decommissioning cost of a life expired plant and cost of management of nuclear wastes so far as these costs are exorbitant and in the light of this commercial exploitation of nuclear energy is perhaps simply not viable.And that is why no new nuclear plants have come up anywhere in the western world where the society is extremely sensitive to such issues.
  2. Why should we Indians be made to sit on  potentially catastrophic sites when no scientist or technologist can guarantee an absolute safety of a nuclear power plant. They can only vouch for the fact that all safety measures as per current national safety standards have been incorporated. These standards are still in a process of evolution and get revised after each major accident. In fact the whole process is like chasing a mirage of absolute safety. By the time you incorporate one set of safety standards, new facts come to light in the wake of a disaster or calamity or an accident and you start incorporating additional safety devices and making new safety codes.
The government/polity is not entitled to commit such a horrendous stupidity even after making full arrangements for everything brought out in 1. above particularly when other saner and cost effective options are available. Let wisdom prevail on Indian Polity and let India be a nation which has learnt from the mistakes and experiences of others. By taking the timely action of switching over to renewable energy sources India can elevate itself to the status of world leader in the energy security game for all times to come.