Where Nuclear Power provides an excellent alternative to the usage of fossil fuels and natural gas for generation of electricity, it also poses a great threat to the human population living in the close vicinity of the nuclear power plant.
EXTENSIVE RESEARCH and studies have proved that nuclear power could come out as an excellent alternative which can contribute to energy security, help in reduction or elimination of the need for natural gas or other fossil fuels which are currently being used for electricity generation. Nuclear reactors provide developing nations with cheap, safer and efficient power.
But nuclear power comes with its own hazards and complications. Out of approximately 30 nations that operate nuclear power stations, it is a very small number of countries that use it for generation of electricity. India has also decided to setup a nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu for the generation of electricity that would help the state in dealing with the power shortage. But does Tamil Nadu have the required infrastructure to deal with the nuclear power plant setup? Is Tamil Nadu well-equipped to deal with any nuclear power calamity?
The construction of nuclear power station in Kudankulam, Tamil Nadu started in 1997, after almost a gap of 10 years, since an Inter-Governmental Agreement on the project was signed on November 20, 1988. Since the start of construction and amendments to the construction plan, there have been protests by the people who inhabit the near-by areas.
Thousands of protestors, which belonged to the vicinity of the plant, have employed different tactics to protest against the plant fearing a Fukushima nuclear power station like disaster. The protestors claim that more than 1 million people live within the 30 km radius of the power plant, and it would be next to impossible to evacuate this large population quickly and efficiently in case of any nuclear disaster. But, everyone who protested against the nuclear power plant setup in Kudankulam has been arrested and charged with sedition. So does that mean if the government wants to open up a nuclear plant near your house and you protest then this amount to the proof of you being enemy of the state?
When Bhopal gas tragedy happened in the year 1984, did any government take the onus? The court cases are still going on. The ground water in Bhopal is still getting poisoned and a large amount of population is being affected due to the poisoned water. And, still there is no justice to the common man. So now if a section of this common man fears a same chemical/nuclear plant setup, fears for their livelihood, fears for their protection, what should be the government's answer to these fears, brutal force or methodologies to educate and other safety measures implementation?
I am not saying developments and industrialization should not happen but when developments injects fear in a section of the society, then this shows that there must be something wrong with the orientation program.
Also is a nuclear plant very much necessary? Are there no alternatives? I understand that nuclear power is proving to be a best alternative to fossil fuels and natural gas usage and also would help in solving global warming problems but developed countries like Germany have shut down its nuclear power plants after the Japan nuclear power plant tragedy. So my question is Tamil Nadu / India completely equipped like Japan or other developed nations to deal with any of the nuclear power plant disasters? Would it be able to take the onus and responsibility if anything happens to the natural environment of the state or plant's immediate vicinity?
The fight of common man in Kudankulam may have been crushed by the brutal forces of government, but all is not lost. And, when in next six months the plant reaches its full capacity, the power shortage problem may be addressed. And I hope the government sponsors programs that educate the scared inhabitants and also helps preserve the state and the environment. I hope the next steps involve building strong infrastructure that strengthens contingency plans and ensures everyone of the benefits of this ambitious Nuclear Power Plant plan.