Skip to main content

Kaiga NPP extension: Overall "futility" of talking about relevance of nuclear power

By Shankar Sharma*
This has reference to the article in Counterview "Rejoinder: Worldwide anxiety post-Fukishima is fading, slowly and steadily" by KS Parthasarathy.
Three recent documents/ discussions** -- a written submission presented at the public hearing as per Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) rules 2006 held on December 15, 2018, an address to the Chief Secretary, Government of Karnataka, and a high level analysis of the proposal by the Union government to add 12 additional nuclear power reactors in the country from the general perspective as applicable to Kaiga Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) -- sum up the relevant merits to the people of this country in the arguments of KS Parthasarathy.
We can endlessly engage in intellectual level arguments on vague/historical issues on nuclear power technology, which may all end up in satisfying our intellectual ego. But what is critically important is the true welfare of every community in the fast changing world, especially in the context of looming threats of climate change.
When we objectively consider issues such as...
  • why the percentage of nuclear power capacity to the global electrical power capacity is shrinking fast, despite decades of enormous subsidies in every nuclear power country; 
  • what we have learnt from the three major nuclear disasters, and a number of near misses; 
  • the fact that there is no techno-economically credible technology to manage the growing mountains of nuclear wastes; 
  • why even countries such as France and US, which have been the leaders, are seen to be moving away; and 
  • the enormous focus being given world over to solar and wind power etc.
...the overall futility of talking about the relevance of nuclear power in the future should become obvious.
These issues become even more stark for a country like India, which is already facing enormous societal level problems such as acute pressure on our natural resources (such as the diversion of land and water, and the pollution/contamination of soil, water and air), huge population base which is growing at alarming rate, poverty and illiteracy, still a largely agrarian base etc.
When we also consider in an objective sense, the enormous potential of new and renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and bio-mass in India, and the low per capita energy needs of the people, the irrelevance of nuclear power should become evident.
In the ongoing scenario of a number of nuclear projects, which are being proposed/built around the country (at least a total of 14 additional nuclear reactors as at June 2017) few major issues become glaring:
(i) the demand for massive diversion of land, both forest as well as agricultural lands;
(ii) demand for massive quantities of fresh water, especially for those reactors which will be away from the coast;
(iii) unacceptable level of risks associated with the failure to adequately contain the radiation emissions;
(iv) almost non-existent disaster preparedness in India to cope with a nuclear accident of the type seen in Chernobyl and Fukushima;
(v) the ignorance on the need to take effective actions to mitigate the threats of climate change;
(vi) and most importantly, the chronic refusal by the Union govt. to recognise the fact that there are many benign and less costly options to bridge the gap between the legitimate demand and supply of electricity of all sections of our society on a sustainable basis.
Another nuclear project proposed in a similar ecologically sensitive region (to that of Kaiga NPP in Karnataka) is that at Jaitapur in Sindhudurg/ Ratnagiri district of Maharastra, also in Western Ghats. This project is proposed to be of the largest capacity in the world, and has the potential to devastate that region. So, the recipe for multiple disasters in the country, which can annihilate the entire communities around such projects, appear to be getting ready with alacrity.
It is in this context that the reasons of vastly important ecological factors of the Western Ghats, in the case of Kaiga NPP extension, should be highlighted to the government by the CSOs urgently, so that the same mistake should not be repeated at Jaitapur.
So, the onerous task before the civil society in India is clear: we either take urgent and effective actions to stem the tide of mass suicidal tendencies of the successive governments, OR face the risk of being seen by our youngsters as colluding with the politicians and corrupt officials in pushing the human civilisation to collapse.
Since the futile argument of the nuclear advocates on the climate change front also falls flat on its face over the issues of 'life cycle carbon foot print' and 'life cycle EROEI', to continue the debate on the relevance of nuclear power to the globe in general and to India in particular, can be said to be a sheer waste of time at enormous cost to the society.
---
*Power policy analyst based in Sagar, Karnataka
**Click HERE for the written submission at the public hearing; HERE for the letter to the Karnataka chief secretary; and HERE for high level analysis

Comments

TRENDING

India performs 'poorly' in Quality of Life Index, ranks 62nd out of 64 countries

Counterview Desk “Expat Insider”, which claims to be one of the world’s most extensive surveys about living and working abroad, in a survey of 20,259 participants from around the globe, has found that of the 64 destinations around the globe, has found that while Taiwan is the best destination for persons living outside their native country, closely by Vietnam and Portugal, India ranks 59th.

Human development index: India performs worse than G-20 developing countries

By Rajiv Shah A new book, “Sustainable Development in India: A Comparison with the G-20”, authored by Dr Keshab Chandra Mandal, has regretted that though India’s GDP has doubled over the last one decade, its human development indicators are worse than not just developed countries of the Group of 20 countries but also developing countries who its members.

US publication blames Gates Foundation for 'accelerating' India's healthcare crisis

By Rajiv Shah A new book, published by the New York-based Monthly Press Review (MPR), has blamed Microsoft founder Bill Gates for “crowning” the crisis allegedly engulfing India’s health sector, stating, the top American billionaire’s foundation of late has acquired “extraordinary influence" over India’s public health governance,  giving a fillip to a policy that deprives access of public healthcare facilities for majority of the country’s population.

Youngest of 16 activists jailed for sedition, Mahesh Raut 'fought' mining on tribal land

By Surabhi Agarwal, Sandeep Pandey* A compassionate human being, always popular among his friends and colleagues because of his friendly nature and human sensitivity, 33-year-old Mahesh Raut, champion of the democratic rights of the marginalised Adivasi people of Gadchiroli, Maharashtra, has been in prison for over two years now.

India's GDP down by 50%, not 23%, job loss 200 million not 122 million: Top economist

By Our Representative  One of India’s topmost economists has estimated that India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) decline was around 50%, and not 23%, as claimed by the Government of India’s top data body, National Statistical Organization (NSO). Prof Arun Kumar, who is Malcolm S Adiseshiah chair professor, Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi, said this was delivering a web policy speech, organised by the Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), New Delhi.

Stan Swamy vs Arnab Goswami: Are activists fighting a losing battle? Whither justice?

By Fr Sunil Macwan SJ* It is time one raised pertinent questions over the courts denying bail to Fr Stan Swamy, who was arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), and granting it to Arnab Goswami, editor-in-chief of the Republic TV, arrested under the charge of abetting suicide of Avay Naik, who ended his life in 2018. It is travesty of justice that a human rights activist is not only denied bail but is also made to wait for weeks to hear a response to his legitimate request for a straw to drink water, while Arnab Goswami walks free.

India among heavily impacted by Covid-19, China 'notoriously' evading transparency

By NS Venkataraman* With the year 2020 inevitably ending in the next few weeks, the thought amongst the people all over the world is whether the coming year 2021 will be free of Covid-19 (often dubbed as Wuhan virus, as it known to have spread from Wuhan in China).In the early 2020, many people thought that Covid-19 would be a localized affair in China but later on, it proved to be a global pandemic.

Namaz in Mathura temple: Haridwar, Ayodhya monks seek Faisal Khan's release

By Our Representative As many as 23 members of the Hindu Voices for Peace (HVP), including the founder president of the well-known Haridwar-based Matri Sadan Ashram, Swami Shivananda Saraswati, and a one of its top monks, Brahmachari Aatmabodhanand, have expressed their “dismay” over the arrest of Khudai Khidmatdar chief Faisal Khan and three others on charges of “promoting enmity between religions” and “defiling a place of worship” after they offered namaz in Mathura’s Nand Baba temple premises on October 29.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.