Dr. Dhirendra Sharma, Director of Science Policy Centre, is the author of India’s Nuclear Estate. He can be contacted at dhiren.sharma32[at]gmail.com.
Dr. Man Mohan Singh has accused the anti- nuclear protesters for serving the foreign interests. It is unbecoming of the prime minister to play politcs when the nuclear issue is not political but calls for science policy assessment. And the Science community in India and abroad, working in Atomic establishments had voiced serious doubts about the reliability of nuclear power systems.
A reactor’s designed life is 40-50 years. Thereafter long-term management of decommissioned nuclear plants is a costly and hazardous commitment. Which government would pay for maintenance of useless but dangerous nuclear power plants,say, 50 years from now. Besides, we do not have sufficient qualified and trained human resource to operate the foreign-made reactors. The IITians in India and abroad are not joining the nuclear industry.
Still if the PM thinks it necessary to commit India to long-term nuclear programme, Dr. Man Mohan Singh must assure the nation that in the Nuclear deals no “commission”had been paid to any political or individual entity in India or abroad.
The World Nuclear Industry Status Report ( 2009) confirmed that Nuclear Power is on downward trend world wide and all nuclear builders were facing unprecedented “financial fiasco.” That was before the Fukushima nuclear diaster.Meanwhile, the US National Academcy of Sciences Committee for Biological Effects of ionizing Radiation , and the United Nations Scientific Commitee on the Effect of Atomic Radiation had cautioned the world against the long lasting harmful effects.
The chairman of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission had annnounced that there was “no scope for revival of Nuclear sector in the US.” Since there is shortage of more than 200,000 trained professionals in the US., and the students were not taking up nuclear engineering courses. The Editor-in-Cheif of Information Division of International Atomic Energy Agency, Lothar Wedekind had reiterated that “the future of Nuclear Power is uncertain. But one thing looks clear the next generation of (nuclear) plants will not be Made in the USA.”
Twentyfive European Union states including Britain, Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland and Sweden had adopted legislation to phase out he nuclear power by 2030. Some half- completed N-power plants had been stopped mid-way construction. The Kyoto Protocol on Environment had,therefore, excluded Nuclear from the futuristic energy development policy.
The world’s Energy scientists had estimated that in 2030, total power demand for entire Global Village would be around 16.9 Terawatt (TW). But the Sun God (Aditya) alone can provide safe and free Green energy upto 6,500TW, Whereas the nuclear power is full of high risk and unreliable source of electricity, the alternative energy options (Space Solar Power) are available to Indian people. With advancement in Energy engineering in 21st century, there is no necessity to bind the life and liberties of future generations to high cost long-term high risk nuclear power.
Still, when tens of thousands of citizens protesting against the nuclear power it is unbecoming of the nuclear establishment to use oppressive methods to suppress the people’s campaign by accusing them “brainwashed by foreign interests.” For, the opposition to Nuclear power is based on the scientific findings and cannot and must not be viewed as anti-national, or anti-India. Nor as anti-development.