In the context of the agitations for stopping the work of Koodankulam Nuclear power plant in Tamilnadu and phasing out of other
nuclear power plants and the views of experts on the safety of these plants, one has to carefully consider the pros and cons.
1. India’s demand for power is increasing and the present supply is grossly inadequate.
2.Inida does not have sufficient coal reserves to meet requirements of existing and new thermal plants
3. The scope for new hydro-electric plants is limited
4. Nuclear power production does not pollute the atmosphere as thermal plants.
5. There are adequate safedguard to prevent any leakage of radio activity. The Japan power plants are about 40 years old and those did not have safeguards as the new ones.
6. Nuclear technology development cannot take place if we give up building nuclear power plants.
The points against the nuclear energy are:
1.If a developed safety conscious country like Japan coud not ensure safety to the people from nuclear power plant, how will India do it
2.The alternatives to nuclear energy viz wind power, solar power, biogas/biomass power have not been fully utilised and exhausted. Solar and biomass energy alone can meet the exising and emerging need for energy
3. Sea waves have not been exploited for generating elecricity and the potential is said to be immense
4. Solar and biomass energy also do not contribute to pollution
5. Unlike nuclear energy, solar, wind and biomass energy plants can be dispersed across the country which would mean less transmission losses.
Both points of view are convincing.But a decision can be taken not only on the merits of the case, but also based on the aspirations and fears of the people, particularly in a democratic country like India. Though the government has been elected democratically, it may not be correct to say that it has the authority in such cases to take a decision without reference to the people. Thus it seems that the government should hold a referendum among the people within a radious of certain distance who could be the immediate victims if anything happens. It referendum should be confined to such people. This is because, people living near nuclear plants shold not be made to take wha they call “risk” to their life as well as the life of the future generation, for the betterment of themselves and the other people of India