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Nuclear Energy in India- A boon or bane?

Nuclear power is the use of sustained nuclear fission to generate heat and do useful work. Nuclear power stations work in pretty much the same way as fossil fuel-burning stations, except that a chain reaction inside a nuclear reactor makes the heat instead. !he "ideo below shows the working of nuclear power plants. In the early #$th century, it was disco"ered that radioacti"e elements release immense amounts of energy and soon the pursuit of nuclear energy for electricity generation began. %"er the course of time this was made possible. &''()s %bninsk Nuclear *ower *lant became the world)s first nuclear power plant for electricity generation. In the +,-$s, the setting up of such plants came to be locally protested in many parts of the world. !his soon became an issue of ma.or public protest, reaching an intensity uncommon in )technology) contro"ersy history. !he nuclear power conflict is an ongoing one. /ut by #$$0, nuclear power stations pro"ided about -.12 of the world)s energy and +02 of the world)s electricity, with the &.'., 3rance, and 4apan together accounting for about 0-.02 of nuclear generated electricity. !here are about 51--, nuclear reactors in the world. A source of energy, which can be exploited on will, and which will ne"er cause any damage to the en"ironment and ecosystems, is .ust too good to be true. !he recent 3ukushima I nuclear accidents, the 6hernobyl accident of +,7- and the !hree 8ile Island accident of +,9, are enough proof.

Points to be known: Nuclear power is the fourth-largest source of electricity in India after thermal, hydroelectric and renewable sources of electricity. There are 442 nuclear reactors in the world. And some more nuclear plants are in construction.

As of 20 0, India has 20 nuclear reactors in operation in si! nuclear power plants, generating 4,"#0 $%, while & other plants are under construction and are e!pected to generate an additional 2,"20 $%. India plans to increase nuclear power output to '4,000 $% by 20(2. It aims to supply 2&) of electricity from nuclear power by 20&0.

*i! nuclear power plants in India are located in +aiga in +arnata,a, +a,rapar in -u.arat, +alpa,,am in Tamil Nadu, Narora in /ttar 0radesh, 1awatbhata in 1a.asthan, Tarapur in $aharashtra. India in2ol2ed in IT31 4 International Thermonuclear 3!perimental 1eactor 5, which consists 3uropean /nion, /nited *tates, 6apan, 7hina, *outh +orea, 1ussia as other members. Indo - /* nuclear deal was done on 6uly #th, 200&, under which India agreed to separate its ci2il and military nuclear facilities and place all its ci2il nuclear facilities under International Atomic 3nergy Agency 4IA3A5 safeguards and, in e!change, the /nited *tates agreed to wor, toward full ci2il nuclear cooperation with India.

In Favor: Nuclear fission produces energy e8ual to 0 million times of the energy produced by burning of an atom of fossil fuel or hydro or wind power. Through Nuclear plants, we can sa2e our planet from -lobal warming as there is no release of greenhouse gases 4carbon dio!ide, methane, o9one, chlorofluorocarbon5 during nuclear reaction.

:y burning fossil fuels, poisonous 7;2 releases. /ranium is obtained from open-cut mines, which is not e!pensi2e. And 7urrently, the high reser2es of uranium found on 3arth, are e!pected to last for another 00 years. Nuclear fuel is ine!pensi2e and easier to transport. Nuclear 3nergy can be produced in large 8uantities o2er short periods of time. %hen compared to the fossil fuel waste, the nuclear waste which occurs due to the production of nuclear power is small in 8uantity. %e can sa2e oil reser2es which are going to be run out at some point.

In Against: Nuclear plants are dangerous if it e!plodes. Thousands of people suffered in the nuclear accident happened in 7hernobyl in <#'. 1ecently, on march th, 20 , four nuclear reactors e!ploded in 6apan due to earth 8ua,e. And there are " nuclear plant e!plosions happened in the world till now. Nuclear power releases radiation, which causes se2ere health problems to the people in it=s surroundings. The radiation released by this, lasts for tens of thousands of years in the en2ironment.

In 6apan, at the place of nuclear reactors which are e!ploded, high radio acti2ity was found in water, leafy 2egetables, sea food, and in the people, who are wor,ing for reconstruction those power plants now. Nuclear reactors last for about 40 to &0 years. Terrorists may ta,e ad2antage of this and may produce nuclear weapons, which is a great ris, for entire world. 32en though it produces small amount of waste, it is highly ha9ardous. And the long-term storage of this waste is too difficult. Nuclear plant is highly e!pensi2e. /ranium is not renewable. If the resources of uranium are completely used, there isn=t any more.

:iscussion;

Gorky : Nice post! Nuclear energy is a controversial topic. I feel that if handled with very strict regulatory measures regarding safety and maintainance, then nuclear energy can be a good alternative to the conventional means of energy. Bhumika Ghimire : i dont think india is in position to handle all the risks associated with nuclear energy. first, the countrys political and regulatory system has to be updated to deal with nuclear enegry-it is not a simple energy pro ect.

Gorky : !ell "humika its #uestionable whether we are in a position or not, but I know India is targeting to scale up the nuclear capacity by $ times till %&%&. 'or that India has struck nuclear deals with ( different countries, with the Indo-).*. deal being the most potential contributor. If safety is assured, then I dont think there is any harm with this clean energy source.

Komalirani Yenneti : +hanks gorky and "humika for your comments!! I would not be biased whether to go for nuclear or no. 'or me I accept that nuclear can be a potential source of energy, but as "humika mentioned India with its high priorities of development and lack of capacities to handle this technology - these aspects would be a big backlogs for the nuclear development. ,lso when we are aiming for energy through solar and wind which are far means of cheaper and safer, I think nuclear is not only the option. !hat do you say guys---Pabitra : .ursuing a nationwide grid of nuclear powered grid in India will be a mistake for its own people and world at large. Gorky Tyagi : Nuclear is not the only option, youre right. "ut if India is gearing up for such large scale e/pansion, then surely it would know its capabilites and risks involved. Nuclear energy would contribute 0&1 of entire energy production in %&%& compared to 21 now. It should be taken up as another form of clean energy and should not be differentiated, unless the risks involved and the scope are not well researched. Pabitra : 34orky: Nuclear is clean- I think Nuclear is a clean evening dress with dirty underwear. !hat is the technology you e/pect in India- +hermo-nuclear, right- +he usual nuclear fission plants generate plutonium isotopes as radioactive waste in the order of tons. 5oes anyone gurantee a fail-safe disposal of it- , few miligrams of it can wipe out a whole city in a single day. +he half life period is $&&,&&& years. +hat means it remains potent for such risk for thousands of generations! !hat moral right does anybody have to take that decision of nuclear power in a country that has 0$1 of world population6arge scale e/pansion is alright. "ut such e/pansion following the dirty models of waste is seriously #uestionable. If we dream to be the super power, let the path be original, innovative and uni#ue. India is possibly the first in the ancient history to have the concept of welfare state 7,soka8 with peaceful co-e/istence, first to have a finacial and economic stalwart 79hanakya8, India is worlds largest democracy 7despite everything8, do we have to be rich and affluent oil-mafia style9an someone tell me what is the research funding of India for alternative energy- 4eothermal. wave, ocean, solar and wind- 9an someone tell me why ",:9 has to stop research on cold fusion 76;N:8Gorky :

!ell .abitra despite all these disadvantages, at present around 0<1 of the worlds energy and 21 of Indias energy is produced by it. India is setting up < more power plants and is in talks for more. If 'rance is producing =>1 of its total energy safely by it, India can produce at least 0&1 of its own. !e are doing it for ourselves. If India develops enough solar, wind and geo-thermal energies to sustain then its celebration time for us. "ut at the present rate it would take some time. *o while we work on it, we can take some load off coal and oil and move on with nuclear energy. Im with all forms of clean energies and if planned well by the scientists, as it is being now, then even disposing it off is not a big deal. It provides huge power, so it would come with some problems. "ut if we focus on working it, ensuring we would not be harmed in any way, then it is good for us. ,nd countries around the world, India included, are realising it and are moving forward. ,nd if that is mafia-style my friend, then are all the ma or economies in the world mafias! ,nd regarding the ",:9 research, then around 0((& if Im not wrong, the topic was not as developed as it is now, and so under public pressure, the research had to be stopped. Now when 9ongress went ahead with the nuclear deal, though some opposition was there, still it managed to move ahead. It shows the change that has come in. I still feel that regarding this topic every person will have different views and every view is correct in his or her own opinion. Its complicated you know!

Joshi Gaurav : ?omali you have given a nice view on nuclear energy. @ery few research are available in Indian region. what about nuclear waste management which has not talked about much in the market at present in India--!! Komalirani Yenneti : 5ear 4uys!! +hank you very much for your valuable comments. I think the Nuclear issue on a whole raise several other important issues which are added to it. 3 gaurav: yes, it is very true that India still do not have the capacity for nuclear waste management. Infact, when India do not have the full capacities for solid waste management itself, I dont think we are in a position to develop management systems for nuclear waste. 3pabitra: funding for alternatives forms of energy are many. 'or e/, especially for :; there are several multilateral organisation like International 'inance corporation, ?f!, ,5", :;;;. etc. +here are also AN:; small scale funds for solar and wind energy research. .lease go through my other posts for finance for :;+s Pabitra : I am not for Bcopy-paste technology. I have general reservation against any nukepower, e/cept possibly nuclear medicine. :easons are multifarious. 'irst off, in the long

term nuclear energy is not clean and way more dangerous than fosil-fuel based energy. *econdly, as you said, nuclear waste disposal framework in India is non-e/istant. +hird, Indias population density is added risk for a screw-up. 'ourth, large-scale production of nuclear power for commercial purpose in India is #uestionable, its costlier, so less market-friendly. I am fully aware about Indias energy demands. .roblem is: the country that you are presently in has wasted a huge and unfair chunk of Bcarbon-spacealready and now that suspended carbon is around 2(% ppm, we are in a fi/. "ack home in India, we should have enough innovation and management skills to prevent wastage of energy first and invest heavily on alternative sources of energy. I feel frustrated about stoppage of ",:9s research on cold fusion. Pabitra : correction: *orry, I thought you are in )*. *ince you are not, please forgive me and read accordingly.

Komalirani Yenneti : 3 .abitra than you for your valuable comments and I entirely first the issues you have raised. +hough I am not in )*, and in )? I think all these developed countries are in the same boat. I do understand your frustration about it and completely agree with you. Anushka : I have a different point of view. *aying Bno to nuclear energy is as good as saying Bno to development of the economy in order to protect some trees, flora and fauna. Its like one has to trade off between growth and business as is. 6ooking at the 2-stage nuclear program that India is following, I believe well be better off by adopting nuclear technology for power. +his is beneficial for the energy security for our future generations too. I appreciate your number work. Komalirani Yenneti : 3,nushka: +hank you!! +hough you rightly mentioned, that we need to have development, I dont see development as a replacement for environment. I think both should go hand in hand that is where the concept of sustainable development would peep in. ,s u mentioned, through we could address our long term energy issues through nuclear energy, dont you see the logn term effects also- 5o we need to see one more chernobyl casePabitra :

3,nushka: I am not rigid in my position. I shall reveiew if you let me know the following: 0. !hat is this 2-stage nuclear program%. !hat about nuclear waste management plans2. !hat is developement- Aore money in pockets of select few with no or endangered long time future of a vast populationI have no reservation against Indias poor aspiring for a better life. +hats their right. !hat about talent, ingenuity and innovation to do it Indian way"y the way, I am one of Indias middle income group. I am NC+ rich and I can put up a list of lu/eries of life I can cliam as my right. I ust find that seriously foolish when I look at 9limate 9hange. Joshi Gaurav : "ut there are unresolved challenges in long-term management of radioactive wastes and 4eological disposal is technically feasible but e/ecution is yet to be demonstrated. 9losed 'uel 9ycle may minimiDe waste problem but is presently more e/pensive. +he current reprocessing system involving separation and recycling of plutonium presents unwarranted proliferation risks especially as nuclear power spreads around the world. !hile India is self-sufficient in thorium, possessing %$1 of the worlds known and economically viable thorium, it possesses a meager 01 of global uranium reserves. +here are estimate for %=$,&&& A!e in %&$& for India through Nuclear power plants. 'or 0&&& A!e %$ tonnes )C% re#uire, which generate 0 tone high level waste i.e. %=$ tonne waste is highly radioactive waste will generate in India.

Anushka : ..EIn stage is .F!:, stage-II is '": and stage-III is called ,F!:. Indias has worlds %$1 thorium resources. 4lobally used technology is fast breed reactors. "ut Indias uni#ue process is +horium based reactors, which uses )%22 and thorium as fuel, which is economically available in India. +hrough this process we are able to achieve more energy output through the use of same #uantity of )ranium which we would buy from outer world.,bout waste management, I think Ar 4auravs calculations are correct and definitely we need to plan for that before we install it through policy and technology interventions. ,nd off-course Nuclear power plant are less emitting than traditional coal fired plants.G

Pabitra :

9limate 9hange controversy taught us few things apart from anthopogenic 9C% emissions leading to increase in 4F4s and thereby causing global warming. +hese are: 0. 9limate is a far too sensitive system than we previously thought it to be. %. 9limate 9hange can be caused by human activity. 2. :ate of 9limate 9hange is way faster than statistically predicted. 6ogically the lesson is implementation of a technology whose long term effects have not been evaluated with e/treme caution can lead us to astrey. I have no idea what are .F!:, '": and ,F!:, I guess most do not. !hat I understand and hope many do fairly easily is that the substance of your and 4ouravs comments hardly make nuclear power in India any better choice than Bcoal, unless one fevors a sudden catastrophic radiation death to slow inundation of land mass under rising sea and choking to death. ,nd that too for a growth model which is already crumbling in the !est. Phani : +hank Hou very much for your updates on the current on goings in the field of nuclear development in India. "ut I think India do not have the capacities for tackling the issues that would arise from the nuclear energy. !hat is your opinion on thisKomalirani Yenneti : 3.hani: Hou have truly mentioned that India has no capacities for tackling the future issues that would arise from nuclear energy development. +his gives the picture of offside of nuclear energy. I hope the discussion that others have mentioned is very true and supports the sentence that India lack the know-how, knowledge and e/pertise in this field. Ramaswami Kumar : Ay dynamic energy analysis of %<&&& A! Indian Nuclear .rogramme shows that even after %I years of the programme, the net energy output to society other than for nconstruction is negative at >=1 plant factor and %< 1 tand 5 losses. +he net capacity similarly available to society is Dero. +his therefore represents a waste of resources resulting in pauperisation of India and the !orld. Komalirani Yenneti : 5ear :amaswami, that was a very informative blog!! I was ust wondering where could you get these numbers- I was also wondering when India is heading with solar energy which is a safest and cheapest form of energy in a great deal, why it is investing in Nuclear energy which has much murky side than better sides-

Ramaswami Kumar : :e Henettis comment: .lease be specific on which numbers you are wanting to know about. Het the moment I may say that you may find the nuclear topics in my complete profile useful. +here are many e/ercises in !orld making but Indisa and the world would do well in cahnaging life style, not climate.