Nuclear Energy - A must for Sustainable Development of India

Category: Environment & Green Technology Published: Thursday, 20 October 2016

Solar electricity is not available in sizable amounts and the costs of collecting solar power are exorbitantly high as compared to thermal power plants using coal and so called clean energy from hydroelectric projects. Damage due to hydroelectric power stations on Ganga river prompted Dr. Agrawal to do indefinite fast. His critic of dams elaborates the impact of such dams on the environment. Rising oil prices have icreased the cost of energy. Thermal power plants create air pollution and flyash problems and add to global warming.

At the same time, demand of energy is increasing. Development depends on energy. The present energy crises in India is much severe. Increasing demand, high cost of energy and inadequate energy production has crippled the growth of industries and overall development of India. High cost of pumping have affected agriculture. Frequent loadshading is depriving people of light and comfort. Gas and other fuel costs have become un affordable to common man.The only practical and viable option is nuclear energy. There are lot of misconceptions about the nuclear power in general public and people are afraid of devastating effects of Atomic bomb and Chernobyl like accidents due to improper safeguards. They do not know that modern science and technology has made the nuclear energy production very safe, cheap and fully controllable. Recent advances in fusion technology has opened new avenues for energy production without threat to environmental quality. France, once strong opponent of nuclear energy is now heavily dependent on muclear energy for its energy requirements. Hence, immediate establishment of nucleatr power plants and expansion of existing units is a pressing need to come out of this precarious condition. What we lack is the import of new technology, materials and huge initial capital investment for setting up such plants.It is necessary that scientists and engineers should create awareness and educate people of these realities.

India’s nuclear energy program began in the 1950s with a great deal of involvement of the United States through the Atoms for Peace program, including helping build and providing nuclear fuel for the nuclear reactor in Tarapur, as well as through scientific cooperation.
After 1974, when India tested its first nuclear device, the US formed the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), to oversee sales of nuclear material. In 1978 the US Congress passed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act but the US continued to provide some nuclear fuel to India under a 1963 treaty with India until 1980.The US had to stop supplying fuel under its own laws, and passed the responsibilities on to others. In 1992 the NSG limited sales of nuclear technology and materials to non-Nuclear Weapons States only if their nuclear reactors were under full scale safeguards implemented by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). France continued to provide nuclear fuel to India until it too adhered to this provision in 1996. China and Russia have supplied India with nuclear fuel after this period.
India plans on expanding the amount of electricity generated by nuclear energy to 20 GWe by 2020 (this is from nuclear plants already under construction). Except that we have a lack of Uranium. Most of our Uranium is low quality, except some newly discovered deposits that have as yet to be mined. Our plants are running at under 40% capacity when they could be running at above 90%. In another words we are paying more than twice the costs of electricity generated by nuclear energy because we are stopped from buying nuclear fuel because of NPT and NSG guidelines.
In August 2007, India and the United States reached a bilateral agreement on civilian nuclear cooperation. The deal would lift the U.S. moratorium on nuclear trade with India, provide U.S. assistance to India's civilian nuclear energy program, and expand U.S.-Indian cooperation in energy and satellite technology. India would be eligible to buy U.S. dual-use nuclear technology, including materials and equipment that could be used to enrich uranium or reprocess plutonium. It would also receive imported fuel for its nuclear reactors. U.S. companies will be allowed to build nuclear reactors in India and provide nuclear fuel for its civilian energy program.
India has always committed for non proliferation of nuclear weapons and there is no harm in allowing international regulations for monitoring production of nuclear power for civilian peaceful purposes.

U.S.-India Nuclear Cooperation Treaty will go a long way in ensuring sustainable development.India should not remain isolated in a world surrounded by nuclear-power nation states

The present opposition to U.S.-India Nuclear Cooperation seems mainly a political move. I was reminded of the Arthur Hailey's novel " Overload" which was written in 1979. It describes the energy crises in California, struggle of the electric power plant engineer to ensure power supply and opposition to power plants in USA by environmentalists misled by "Friends of Freedom" with political motive. 
I do not belong to or favor any party but I am of the opinion that, the present government has taken a wise decision at this critical juncture risking its own survival in the interest of the nation. 
It is my sincere appeal that all political parties should rise above political gains and support this move as it will enable India to become self sufficient in energy production, accelerate development, improve economy without hampering environmental quality.

It is the responsibility of the environmental engineers to encourage use of non conventional energy and as responsible citizens to help the governmemt in meeting the challenge of acute energy shortage.I appeal to all environmentalists to come forward and support Nuclear Cooperation for preserving our environment and promoting much needed development of energy sources in India and ensure that all environmental safety norms are followed while producing nuclear energy.

Dnyandeep foundation wishes to play an active role in dissiminating the knowledge about Nuclear power, safeguards and environmental management necessary and its impact on meeting energy needs of India. 
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