GD - 1 ( Is nuclear power essential to India)

It is a well known fact that the growth of any nation depends upon the energy resources available for that country. India being an emerging nation has been facing a huge shortage of power these days. In order to meet widening gap between the supply and demand, India decided to explore the potential of nuclear power. The reasons that forced national leaders to this option are firstly air pollution caused by the thermal power plants and secondly lack of sophisticated technology for harnessing renewable energy resources. These days we are seeing protests near kudankulam nuclear power plant in tamilnadu where a 2000 M.W. power plant is going to be started. The reasons for that are, that state already possessed a plant of capacity 440 M.W. nuclear plant. There are several people who doubt the safety of a nuclear power plant. The disaster that took place in Japan added fuel to this problem and one need to know that this power plant was built in earth quake prone region.

In India first nuclear plant was established in 1962 and today there exist 8 such plants in our country till date no such disasters took place. The total nuclear capacity of India contributes to not more than 25% of the total energy needs whereas if you take the example of France almost 75% of its energy needs are fulfilled by nuclear plants. Until 2008 there was a ban on India and no country agreed to supply nuclear fuel or uranium to India because of pokran tests carried by India to develop a nuclear weapon. In 2008 the then government of India signed an agreement with U.S. which is known as 123 agreement or civilian nuclear agreement.

There are some people who argue that this agreement will threaten the sovereignty of India. At the time of that treaty, the then allies (left parties) of the ruling government (congress) threatened to withdrew their support. Even then keeping the needs of nation in mind the government of signed it. At present there are 8 countries (i.e. U.S, Russia, Argentina, France, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Canada and South Korea)that supply nuclear fuel uranium to india. People need to know that these are the plants that operate under the safety rules of IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency)- an international agency which monitors all nuclear plants across the world. Another point is that a 2000 M.W. Thermal plant requires an area of 250 acres whereas a similar capacity nuclear plant requires just 80 acres. And one kilogram of uranium is equivalent to 3000 tons of high quality coal. The Indian coals are of low quality with high amount of ash content and its usage leads to severe air pollution.

At present the government of India has been installing wind power plants across the nation to generate power but these plants need lot of sophistication in technology. Keeping all these in mind one need to allow nuclear plants to operate for at least a few years i.e. until renewable gain momentum and government should try to address the concerns of general public by making them aware of safety standards that are maintained in these types of power plants.