N-scientists need to change comm methods: IAEA

IAEA expert on Tuesday said nuke scientists need to change the way they communicate with the people on safety aspects of an atomic power plant.

New Delhi: In the wake of anti-Kudankulam
protests, a top IAEA expert on Tuesday said nuclear scientists need
to change the way they communicate with the people at large,
particularly on safety aspects of an atomic power plant.

"We need to change the way we communicate. That is a big
part of our job. We need to communicate properly," Sujit
Samaddar, Head of the International Seismic Safety Centre of
the IAEA said here.

The nuclear community has set in motion a process to
analyse the shortcomings in the communication methods on
nuclear power, he said.

"Essentially, safety (of nuclear reactors) has not
changed one bit. They are as safe as before," Samaddar said.

Similar views were expressed by Hiroyuki Kameda, a
veteran of the Japan Nuclear Energy Safety Organisation who
stressed on the need to place facts before the people.

He admitted that there has been an anti-nuclear sentiment
in Japan in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster in March
but claimed it was not overwhelming.

"There is some movement to abolish nuclear power, but it
is not overwhelming. The key has to be on transparency and
accountability. There has to be transparency in information
dissemination," Kameda said.

Samaddar said it was important to tell the people that
nuclear scientists were not irresponsible and were serious
about nuclear power "as it is our profession".

"Nuclear is the best source of power. There will be no
other alternative for another 40 years," he said contending
that if people do not want power they will have to go around
with candles.

"This is a choice. It is some what crude but we have to
convey this to the public," Samaddar said.

"Inherently, nuclear power is very safe. Sometimes,
something can go wrong. We want to minimise the effect when it
does go wrong," he said.

Yesterday, former Union Power Secretary EAS Sarma had
accused the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited,
India`s sole nuclear plant operator, of not educating the
people about their ventures.

He said the NPCIL has never bothered to inform the people
in his native Srikakulam, Andhra Pradesh, about the steps
taken to set up a nuclear power plant in the neighbourhood.

NPCIL has allocated Kovvada site in Srikakulam district
to US companies for setting up a nuclear park.

The Indian nuclear establishment has admitted that it had
goofed up in reaching out to the locals at Kudankulam which
was one of the factors responsible for the current agitation.

The over Rs 13,000 crore Kudankulam nuclear power project
has run into a rash of protests over issues of safety and
effects it would have on the environment, particularly the
marine ecology.


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