Sunday, December 2, 2012

ENERGY SECURITY THROUGH NUCLEAR POWER : A BANE OR A BOON FOR HUMANITY

The story of  immense energy locked up in an atom and its release during fission and fusion processes is about seventy year old and has been a talk of thinkers, philosophers, scientists and leaders for use in  military, energy and medicine fields. In the early second half of the last century, we were given to understand that the catastrophic effects were associated only with the military application of nuclear bombs and if we allowed science to develop as a good servant instead of its being the master, nuclear sciences could well be the game changer for humanity for all times to come. Slowly the overall deleterious concerns of playing with the nuclear sciences came to light. The concept of energy security through nuclear power emerged as a bane  rather than a boon to the humanity. The rhetoric of a few world leaders, a few powerful lobbies and  industrial cartels with vested interests and ulterior motives not withstanding. "I do not know with what weapons the third world war will be fought but the fourth world war will definitely be fought with bows and arrows" These ominous words from none other than A. Einstein, the man behind the concept of nuclear energy, though said in the context of an atom bomb hold equally well for mankind's efforts to utilise this energy for peaceful uses, the much touted nuclear power. We have to understand that controlling such an enormous energy giving reaction with our limited knowledge of nuclear physics, mechanical sciences, material sciences, causes of accidents along with the uncertainties of nature and allied phenomena  with 100% surety is nothing but a mirage. It will only be prudent on the part of mankind not to sit on thousands of these ticking catastrophic bombs of self annihilation just for the sake of energy security and that too for the coming few decades ( In the light of limited availability of nuclear fuels ), particularly when our planet has been bestowed with eternal and absolutely safe energy sources like sun and wind. If we are destined to fall back upon the use of renewable energy sources for all our energy needs after six or seven decades, is it not worthwhile to do it right now and be done away with the risk of destruction of mankind.