Panaji: Nuclear power is actually as safe as air travel, even though people perceive it as dangerous, top nuclear scientist and ex-chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission of India (AECI) Anil Kakodkar said on Tuesday.
The former director of the Maharashtra-based Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), who was speaking at a public function at Dona Paula, on the outskirts of Panaji, also said that considering India`s growing need for large volumes of power in the future, the country would have to resort to nuclear technology for power generation.
"Nuclear energy is eco-friendly and safe. People think air travel is unsafe, when compared to travel by road, that is the perception. In reality, air travel is safer because the fatality rate is lower," the Padma Vibhushan award winner said.
Kakodkar also said that the "catastrophy syndrome" which accompanies the word "nuclear plant" needed to be put in perspective, especially to population groups and civil society activists who have been opposing nuclear power in India.
"More people died in the Bhopal tragedy than in Chernobyl (a malfunction in a nuclear power plant in Ukraine in 1986 in which about 30 people were killed and thousands exposed to nuclear radiation). But people still talk about Chernobyl," Kakodkar said.
The scientist further said that even if accidents happened in a nuclear plant, "they can be controlled".