Nuclear Energy – A Menace

Nuclear science is a comparatively younger branch of physics. On one hand it has given us X-rays and radioactive rays, which are a breakthrough in Cancer treatment and on the other hand it has given us nuclear weapons and nuclear energy. Ironically, one has turned out to be a saviour and the other a destroyer. Science, which is considered as human being’s greatest friend, at times has turned against him so brutally that people can never trust it completely.  Japan, a country who stands as a classic example of nuclear disaster, has not even healed from the wounds of Hiroshima-Nagasaki’s Atomic attack that the clouds of another nuclear disaster are hovering around.

What everyone wonders is how a well-developed country, like Japan, could fail to deal with situation arising as an aftermath of an earthquake. Though it is trying everything possible to reduce the scale of the disaster, it has certainly failed to avoid such a situation because of flaws in its power plant.
The shocking catastrophe in Japan followed by the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant accident has come as a reminder to check how safe nuclear energy is. It has dragged everyone’s attention, not just to the disaster but also to the future of Nuclear energy in one’s own country. The fear levels are so high that the people around the world are taking precautionary measures. Japan is keeping a close check on contamination of food with radioactivity to stop its spread. But, nothing can avoid people from questioning, especially in a country like India where Nuclear Energy is still in embryonic stage.

After Chernobyl Nuclear disaster in Russia a big question mark was put on the use of Nuclear Energy. In spite of this, production of Nuclear energy didn’t come to stop or pause. In fact it flourished even more, and now every developed or almost developed nation looks up to it as a means of power generation. But, unfortunately it is more of an exercise to strengthen your ties with the powerful world economies. And if not for all nations, it at least appears more of a strategic decision for India.

Residents of Jaitapur are voicing against the construction of a Nuclear Power plant in their area. And their demand is not baseless. Life is precious to everyone and in case of a nuclear mishap it will be the people who will suffer not the government taking policy decision on that. Jaitapur is not much different from Japan. It falls in the high earthquake Zone and people are seeing it as a potential Fukushima. Apart from this, if the long term effects are taken into consideration, then the Nuclear Plant will also severely affect the ecological balance and livelihood of the people of Jaitapur.

After the earthquake in Japan that triggered a nuclear disaster and has exposed a lot of people to radiation, it is time that scientists and people try to see beyond the benefits offered by a particular technology. Though it has made us advanced, has it really made us any safer? If no, then why are we running after it? Why don’t we spend some more money and generate energy from Solar Power Plants, at least it doesn’t involves risking lives?

The Indo-US nuclear deal got serious criticism among the parliamentarians and general public. But, at the end the bill was passed and so was the Nuclear Liability Bill, for what? Definitely not for another Fukushima.  If so, then the voices of the citizens of the Jaitapur shouldn’t return unheard. Countries like Germany, China and Switrzerland have already adopted a ‘pause and review’ approach for construction of new Nuclear Reactors. Other nations should follow suit and review their policies for the use of Nuclear Energy.

Shikha Nehra

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