‘People`s perception about N-energy should change’

People`s perception about nuclear energy should change if India has to meet its future power requirement pegged at 8,00,000 mw by 2032, V Venugopal.

Last Updated: Nov 30, 2011, 12:55 PM IST

Bhubaneswar: People`s perception about
nuclear energy should change if India has to meet its future
power requirement pegged at 8,00,000 mw by 2032, V Venugopal,
president of the Indian Association of Nuclear Chemists and
Allied Scientists (IANCAS), said here.

"People agree to the fact that there is a crisis but
they lack unanimity on how to solve it," Venugopal told a
workshop yesterday.

Though everybody agrees on the need to raise power
generation to meet the growing demand, they are apprehensive
about harnessing nuclear resources fearing it may not be safe,
he said at a workshop on "Radiochemistry and application of
"Radioisotopes" organised by Institute of Technical Education
and Research (ITER), run by the Siksha `O` Anusandhan Deemed
to be University, in collaboration with IANCAS here.

Venugopal former director, Radiochemistry and
Isoptope group at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai,
said concerns expressed on safety aspects of nuclear power
plants country had to be addressed as it was important to tap
all possible sources of energy.

"The issues being raised against nuclear power
stations, as witnessed in Jaitapur and Koodankulam, stemmed
from reported nuclear mishaps at the Three Miles Island in the
US, Chernobyl in Russia and more recently the incident at
Fukushima in Japan following the "Tsunami", he said.

Pointing out that India`s total power genreatin has
risen from a meagre 2000 mw at the time of independence to
1,70,000 mw today, Venugopal said all energy sources needed to
be tapped to raise generation but only thermal, hydel and
nuclear could be harnessed in a big way.

Burning coal to generate thermal power is being seen
as a threat to environment because of the green house effect,
while large hydel projects are facing huge impediments.

Advocating the case of nuclear power, Venugopal said
such plants have a superior safety record compared to other
major energy sources.

According to him, they don`t emit green house
gases, are virtually pollution free and the fuel needed will
be available for centuries. Besides, the cost of nuclear power
will be competitive while the waste can be securely managed in
the long term.

It is fossil fuel and not nuclear power that raises an
insoluble waste problem, he said.

Pointing out that the global nuclear industry having
436 operating reactors reported only one serious accident in
10,000 reactor years of operational time, Venugopal said
nuclear plants have adopted the most stringent safety
measures.

"Radiation has always been part of the natural
environment and the benefits of the use of radiation and
radioactive materials under controlled conditions greatly
outweigh the risks," he said.

PTI