N-scientists need to change comm methods: IAEA
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Last Updated: Tuesday, November 08, 2011, 20:26
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.


First Published: Tuesday, November 08, 2011, 20:26

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