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Nuclear Power in India Issues – High Costs,Health Hazards,Massive Delays and Not in My Backyard Protests

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India has set a target of 20 GW of Nuclear Energy by 2020 from around 5 GW now and has already signed deals with major nuclear equpment suppliers like Areva,GE-Hitachi and Toshiba.However the Nuclear Disaster at Fukushima has changed things on the ground with protests growing by the day.Note only are the proposed nuclear reactors at Jaitapur facing massive protests,even the existing nuclear energy plants in India are seeing locals raising their voices.Recently many prominent citizens of India signed a protest letter against the upcoming Jaitapur plants.Note the advantages and disadvantages of nuclear power has been debated on for a long time.The catastropic risk of a nuclear reactor meltdown is the biggest con of nuclear energy and has made it intolerable in a number of countries.After Japan has decided to kill nulcear power in the country,other progressive countries like Germany,Italy and Switzerland too are going to switch off nuclear reactors once the life of the existing plants are over.

Note the cost of nuclear power has grown at a distressing pace with massive time and cost overruns.The Areva Nulcear Plant is going to cost Rs 20 crore a MW which is much more than a Thermal Power plant and even costlier than Solar Power which has the highest capital requirement amongst major energy sources.Besides disposal of nuclear energy waste is a huge problem even for countries like USA and Japan which have huge nuclear power industries.For a country like India with poor safety record ,nuclear waste disposal would be a nightmare.India should learn from the example of Germany and Italy and stop going down the nuclear path and look for other green energy sources.Note different forms of Renewable Energy have their own pros and cons but Nuclear Energy Risks are too great to be ignored.

NIMBY Protests Growing

Rawatbhata Nuclear Power Plant in Rajasthan is situated near a major dam which makes it susceptible to major flooding.Besides the villages near the plant have reported higher incidences of abortion and cancer which is typical of radiation effect of human health.A new plant being proposed in Bhavnagar,Gujarat too is seeing protests being organized by villages near the plant.

Nuclear Plants face massive cost overruns

New Nuclear Power Plants face massive delays leading to much higher costs as rule and regulations become tougher.The Nuclear Power Already the nuclear renaissance which was supposed to be boosted by India and China is coming under attack.India’s nuclear power plant to be built at Jaitapur by Areva is seeing massive protests by local villagers as well as intellectuals alike.India has around 4.5 GW of Nuclear Power Plant Capacity which it proposes to increase by around 1-2 GW every year.This will hardly make a huge difference to India’s massive power needs which rerquires 10 GW of power every year.Nuclear Energy Disadvantages with the Tail Risk of a Meltdown are too huge to be ignored.China is the other country with massive nuclear power plans,however the government too has decided to be careful.China has more than doubled its solar power target to 50 GW by 2020 from 20 GW.

Fear of radiation grips locals residing near Rajasthan’s Rawatbhata nuclear power plant

The Rawatbhata nuclear power plant is built near the Maharana Pratap Dam, which the locals consider as vulnerable in wake of an occurrence of an earthquake or flood.

According to locals in case of an accident, the leaks from the reactor’s core can be extremely dangerous and threatening in the surrounding community.

“If the cooling system of the nuclear reactor ever fails, the toxic elements from the plant could mix themselves in the water from the lake. This would be hazardous for the population living here and in the nearby villages. The radiation will have prolonged affects in the 16-kilometer stretch of Rawatbhata and will continue to haunt the residents of nearby villages for a long time,” said Sunil Kumar, a local resident.

Meanwhile, local medical institutions say there has been a striking rise in the number of abortion and cancer cases in this region in the last few years.

Revolt brewing against nuclear plant in Bhavnagar – Hindu

The first bugle of revolt against the proposal to set up a 6000 MW capacity nuclear power plant at Jaspara-Mithi Virdi village in Bhavnagar district in the Saurashtra region of Gujarat was sounded on Friday.
The village panchayats of over 50 coastal villages in the district, which apprehend direct impact if the nuclear power plant is set up, took a “do or die” pledge at a public meeting at Mithi Virdi village not to allow the government to acquire their “fertile land” to set up the nuclear plant.

Ashok Parthasarathi: Renewable energy is the future, not nuclear – ET

It is well-known that because of the technology involved, nuclear power reactors are intrinsically highly capital-intensive. When one adds the protective technology and equipment, as well as the waste treatment technology and equipment described above, the capital costs go through the roof. Thus the capital cost of the ‘latest’ European Power Reactor (EPR) which the French firm Areva is to set up at Jaitapur in Maharashtra is around Rs 20 crore per Mw, compared to Rs 15 crore for solar power and Rs 6-7 crore per Mw for wind power. Such capital cost levels, in turn, take the cost of nuclear power to Rs 7-8 per KWh (or unit of power generated), making the reactors totally uneconomic.

Then there is the problem of recurring slippages in the time scales of setting up nuclear power plants, particularly imported ones. For example, the two 1,000 Mw Russian reactors coming up at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu are already four years behind schedule, provided they are actually commissioned in 2011 and 2012, as the Nuclear Power Corporation claims they will be. The four Areva 1,650 Mw EPRs — one each in France and Finland, and two in China — are also four years behind schedule, with no firm commissioning dates indicated by Areva as of now.



Abhishek Shah

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