India failing to learn lessons from Japan

After nuclear emergency in Japan, some countries that have been brandishing nuclear power for energy, have learnt their lessons the hard and unfortunate way. Germany announced phasing out all nuclear power plants by 2022, converted one of its semi-finished nuclear power plant into an amusement park, and Germany and Japan both made their positions clear to go for clean energy options. India on another hand is jubilant to discover another uranium mine in Andhra Pradesh and all set to scale up nuclear power generation.

A news by Abantika Ghosh, The Times of India, July 19, 2011 states: "India's nuclear power aspirations just got a boost thanks to a lucky find. The Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) has discovered that the upcoming uranium mine in Andhra Pradesh's Tumalapalli has close to 49,000 tonnes of uranium — three times the original estimate of the area`s deposits. In fact, there are indications that the total quantity could go up to 1.5 lakh tonnes, which would make it among the largest uranium mines in the world."

The news further states: "India continues to fancy nuclear energy as a possible solution for its energy needs. Unlike some other countries which have been forced to temper their enthusiasm for nuclear energy post-Fukushima, the UPA government is persisting with its push for what is considered to be the cleanest source of energy." 

Should India rejoice on possibilities of unearthing naturally existing uranium for nuclear energy or bomb or make a saner choice such as Germany and Japan to phase out nuclear energy plants and opt for clean energy options?

"Recent nuclear emergency in Japan leaves no doubt that this world needs to renounce nuclear power for military and civil/ energy purposes, as soon as possible, to put an end to any further catastrophe in the name of 'energy', 'security' or 'technology'. Nuclear power is clearly the most dangerous options for civil or military use" said Dr Sandeep Pandey, Magsaysay Awardee and a guest faculty at IIT Gandhinagar.

The much-touted India US Nuclear Deal is not about India's energy security. "Energy security lies in using indigenous energy resources such as coal, gas, hydro (small, micro dams or run of the river categories), solar, wind energy, biogas etc., and ensuring our future energy supplies from Iran and other countries in West and Central Asia. Obviously, augmenting indigenous coal production, building hydro plants (small, micro dams or run of the river categories), investing in oil exploration, securing gas supplies through Iran Gas Pipeline are much more important for India's energy security than buying imported reactors and importing uranium for such nuclear plants. Although we realize that fossil fuel based method of energy production is also harmful contributing to global warming and ideally like European Union and Japan we should aim for a low-carbon energy production system. India’s future energy policy should be low carbon and no nuclear" said Dr Sandeep Pandey.

Bobby Ramakant - CNS

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