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
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
"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
"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