Safeguard Nuclear Plants

It  is not possible to manage this world’s ultra pace development with just solar, wind and other less polluting or non polluting sources of energy. Obviously nuclear energy which is considered as less polluting but more risk prone danger is opted as the no alternative option. In this scenario it is important for all in the world to safeguard the nuclear plants rather than completely demonise it. The Deccan Chronicle writes on 17th March 2011 The news about Japan’s nuclear power plants — and the threat of the spread of radiation — continues to be full of foreboding. The psychological impact of the disaster, however, appears to be more marked in debate in this country than in Japan itself. The Japanese people and their leadership, now in the midst of an unprecedented situation, have to their credit shown no sign of panic, although worry in such circumstances would be only natural. While doing what’s needed to fix the nuclear problem, Tokyo has pumped in close to 23 trillion yen (around $300 billion) to generate rebuilding activity in the economy. The approach underlines for the world the determination and resilience the Japanese people are capable of in the face of disaster, no less acute than that which the country faced in the aftermath of defeat in World War II. It is significant in this context that within Japan no cry has been raised to eliminate nuclear power generation in the country. After the Japanese people became victims of two atom bomb attacks by the United States in 1945, the island nation determined to eschew nuclear weapons and has been in the forefront of the global nuclear non-proliferation movement. This did not stop it, however, from choosing to derive electricity through nuclear power. Today one-third of power generation in Japan — the world’s third largest economy — derives from the nuclear source. As such, it will not be easy for it to make a break with nuclear power generation. In the days ahead we might have a better appreciation of how Japan wrestles with the question of generating nuclear energy. In India, however, we have already seen a tsunami of criticism of our domestic nuclear power programme. India generates a paltry 4,000MW of nuclear power, around two per cent of its current requirement, but aspires to step this up to 20,000MW by 2020 and 30,000MW by 2030. Governments are likely to work toward these goals if public opinion is supportive. The crisis in Japan has led anti-nuclear groups in India to step up their campaign against the idea of nuclear energy itself. Their first target is the proposed nuclear power plant at Jaitapur on Maharashtra’s Konkan coast, which is designed to be the biggest nuclear power plant in the world, with a capacity of 9,000MW. The question of nuclear safety was always pre-eminent but has acquired urgency in the wake of Japan’s recent experience. The trouble in Japan only lends their campaign an edge. Irrespective of the position such campaigners might take, we need to revisit the safety question again. It is not sufficient for the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, and leading lights of the Indian nuclear establishment to make an assertion on the safety of our reactors. It is not sufficient to say that Kalpakkam withstood the 2004 tsunami. Barring a couple, our reactors are of relatively recent compared to Japan’s Daiichi reactors, which go back to 1972. As such, they do possess a greater safety factor. But on the question of structural fortifications or other factors, learning from Japan’s own building codes might relieve public anxieties.The key is to strengthen safety, not to panic.


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