Climate change disaster impending, warns Kakodkar
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Last Updated: Sunday, August 09, 2009, 16:12
  
Bangalore: To pay for the air you breathe? Well, Chairman of Atomic Energy Commission Anil Kakodkar believes it is a possibility in the not too distant future.

"The rapidly depleting Earth resources, the impending climate change disaster and such other phenomenon would soon lead to a shift in terms of things that we take for granted as a free gift of nature," he said.

"The day is not far off when they, water, air and so on will get priced," Kakodkar, also Secretary in the Department of Atomic Energy, said in his convocation address to the National Law School of India University, Bangalore.

Under such situations, how do we handle the plight of those who cannot pay and what about other living species who also need these resources, he asked.

Noting that sustainability of energy resources has become a serious constraint due to depleting Earth resources, he said the issue of climate change has added a major new complication.

Kakodkar said the larger part of humanity is thus facing a serious dilemma of meeting unfilled developmental aspirations on the one hand and the threat to their survival on the other.

"India is a part, in fact a significant part, of this larger segment of humanity. We have to resolve this dilemma in the backdrop of pressures from the mighty and powerful who are actually major contributors to this problem," he added.

Kakodkar said nuclear energy can provide several orders of magnitude more energy per unit mass of materials extracted from Earth without the risk of further degrading the global environment that "threatens our very survival as a result of climate change".

"Nuclear energy thus provides an option that addresses both the sustainability issue, as well as the climate change issue," he said.

Kakodkar said India has developed Advanced Heavy Water Reactor (AHWR) to address the challenge of safety through use of passive systems and sustainability through thorium utilisation.

"The spent fuel arising out of such reactors does not pose any proliferation risk as it cannot be used to produce weapon use materials," he said. "While we would use plutonium as driver fuel for this reactor, we could also offer a low enriched uranium driver fuel precluding diversion possibilities even in the case of spent fuel," Kakodkar said.

AHWR thus represents an excellent example of a technological solution to address future security concerns when the number of nuclear reactors becomes very large needing such a solution, Kakodkar added.

Chief Justice of India justice KG Balakrishnan, who is the Chancellor of NLSIU, gave away various degrees at the 17th annual convocation.

Bureau Report


First Published: Sunday, August 09, 2009, 16:12


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