Monday, May 27, 2013


Recently the Russian ambassador, Alexander Kadakin made a statement that Nuclear power is the future for India and contended that even if India buys all the oil in the world it will not suffice even for its energy requirements in the near future.The statement is nothing but a weak attempt to look after the interests of the nuclear cartel of nations, Russia being one of the major seller of this technology.
Yes it is a fact that even if India buys all the oil in the world it will not suffice even for its energy requirements in the near future. But will some sane person attempt to answer a simple fact if India utilizes a small fraction of all the  solar energy falling on its geographical area what will be the situation? This will never be answered by nuclear energy technology sellers and it is for the polity/policy makers of countries like India to understand who are fortunate enough to receive tremendous amounts of solar energy because of favourable geographic position.
To day the cost of building and operating a mid sized nuclear power plant ( say 500 MW ) is about 15 billion dollars and it takes about 15 years if all goes well to actually produce power from these plants. The pros and cons of going ahead with nuclear energy have been debated over the last few decades all over our globe and in fact nuclear power is our worst enemy. It is a curse that will perhaps continue to pester humanity and thrust towards renewable energy sources will keep on languishing till the world runs out of all kinds of fuels and  is left with no other alternative than to make use of renewable energy sources.
Let us for a moment forget all the thorns attached with nuclear energy. Let us buy the cost effectiveness logic given by the protagonists of nuclear power to provide weightage to their technology and logic by ignoring many aspects of cost calculation. True cost analysis of nuclear energy should cover 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 and even the cost of transmission and distribution infrastructure and accompanying power losses. In fact the cost effectiveness of nuclear energy is a fraudulent myth being propagated solely by nuclear power technology sellers to get the best out of (wrong and out of sync with the realities of 21st century) investments made by them in research, technology and infrastructure development over the years. These guys are by design comparing the costs for a central mega power generation plant with huge transmission and distribution infrastructure whereas for solar the punch line is " solar is simple, keep it simple to retain its edge ".
The quick response capability of solar power should outweigh everything in a developing country like India. Compare the value addition the solar energy route will provide vis-a-vis the nuclear energy route. If a country opts for a 15 billion nuclear power plant, the money deployed annually will not yield any result for 15 years and any addition to the economy as a result of this plant will accrue from 16th year onward.  In the case of solar option, the 1 billion dollars spent will produce a capacity of 35 MW in the first year itself and 35 MW getting added to the power generation capacity each subsequent year available for use. In fact it means that the country will have on an average an additional power generation capacity of about 250 MW for all these 15 years. The impact of cumulative and snow balling effect of value addition to the industrial output or to the comforts of the citizenry as the case may be on the march to prosperity will be tremendous and cannot  be ignored by any true planner or ruler.