General awareness on current topics is essential as not only you will be getting questions on GK in various MBA entrance exams but it will be useful for Essay writing test and WAT also.
Today, you will read General Awareness Topic: Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant Issue
Nuclear power is considered one of the most environment friendly energy and almost every country of the world is aspiring for nuclear energy and India is not an exception to it. I order to increase the share of nuclear energy, India signed nuclear deal with number of countries including US, France, Russia, Kazakhstan etc. As a part of that deal, Russia is assisting India in building nuclear power plant in Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu.
However, the plant is facing consistent protests from the local population particularly fishermen community particularly after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan and due to the fear of radiation.
They also fear that radiation from the plant will led to the disappearance of fishes from the sea in neighborhood. The People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) spearheading the agitation at Kudankulam had resolved to lay siege to the secretariat after their protests in and around the plant site in south Tamil Nadu failed to stop the commissioning of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project. A host of political parties and outfits had pledged support for this. main reasons quoted by opposition groups are as follows:
The KKNPP reactors are being set up without sharing the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), Site Evaluation Study and Safety Analysis Report with the people, or the people’s representatives or the press. No public hearing has been conducted for the first two reactors either.
According to order by Tamil Nadu Government, area between 2 to 5 km radius around the plant site, [would be] called the sterilization zone. This means that people in this area could be displaced. But the KKNPP authorities promise orally and on a purely adhoc basis that nobody from the neighboring villages would be displaced. This is causing suspicion and fears of displacement.
More than 1 million people live within the 30 km radius of the KKNPP which far exceeds the AERB (Atomic Energy Regulatory Board) stipulations. It is quite impossible to evacuate this many people quickly and efficiently in case of a nuclear disaster at Koodankulam.
The coolant water and low-grade waste from the KKNPP are going to be dumped in to the sea which will have a severe impact on fish production and catch. This will undermine the fishing industry, push the fisher folks into deeper poverty and misery and affect the food security of the entire southern Tamil Nadu and southern Kerala.
Even when the KKNPP projects function normally without any incidents and accidents, they would be emitting Iodine 131, 132, 133, Cesium 134, 136, 137 isotopes, strontium, tritium, tellurium and other such radioactive particles into air, land, crops, cattle, sea, seafood and ground water. Already the southern coastal belt is sinking with very high incidence of cancer, mental retardation, Downs syndrome, defective births due to private and government sea-sand mining for rare minerals including thorium.
The quality of construction and the pipe work and the overall integrity of the KKNPP structures have been called into question by the very workers and contractors who work there in Kodankulam. There have been international concerns about the design, structure and workings of the untested Russian-made VVER-1000 reactors.
The then Minister of State in the Ministry of Environment and Forest once announced that the central government had decided not to give permission to KKNPP 3-6 as they were violating the Coastal Regulation Zone stipulations.
The important issue of liability for the Russian plants has not been settled yet. Defying the Indian nuclear liability law, Russia insists that the Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA), secretly signed in 2008 by the Indian and Russian governments, precedes the liability law and that Article 13 of the IGA clearly establishes that NPCIL is solely responsible for all claims of damages.
The March 11, 2011 disaster in Fukushima has made it all too clear to the whole world that nuclear power plants are prone to natural disasters and no one can really predict their occurrence. When we cannot effectively deal with a nuclear disaster, it is only prudent to prevent it from occurring.
Even the most industrialized and highly advanced country such as Germany has decided to phase out their nuclear power plants by the year 2022. Switzerland has decided to shun nuclear power technology. In a recent referendum, some 90 percent of Italians have voted against nuclear power in their country. Many Japanese prefectures and their governors are closing nuclear power plants in their regions. Both the United States and Russia have not built a new reactor in their countries for 2-3 decades ever since major accidents occurred at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl.
However, a center panel constituted by the Government of India, which did a survey of the safety features in the plant, refutes above claims and said that the Kudankulam reactors are the safest and fears of the people are not based on scientific principles.
All newly built nuclear power plants need to satisfy maximum safety standards, and the newest nuclear reactor designs really ensure maximum safety by applying the concept of the negative feedback loop, which ensures that as the nuclear reactor's power output increases, it becomes more and more harder to squeeze any more power out of it, meaning that nuclear chain reaction that could lead to nuclear reactor explosion is almost impossible to happen.
Though this design is not totally foolproof it is much safer compared to the older designs. Of course there are still many older nuclear power plants that still use the older design, but even they ensure the maximum safety as there hasn't been any major accident since Chernobyl.
Moreover, nuclear power plants do not need fossil fuels to produce electricity, and this means that they do not release harmful carbon emissions that contribute to pollution and climate change problem. Since there are no carbon emissions nuclear power is also considered clean energy source just like solar, wind or geothermal energy.
Further, India is an energy starved country and any addition to country’s power generation capacity must be welcomed but not at the cost of livelihood and lives of the locals. In the light of increasing protests against the plant, government may redo the cost benefit analysis of the plant and if it is beneficial, it should do some serious efforts to allay the fears of local population.