By Sonakshi Samtani:
Nuclear energy is very conveniently considered to be a clean source of energy in today’s day and age of deteriorating fossil fuel reserves. However, it is even more conveniently ignored that there are numerous repercussions of harnessing energy through nuclear power plants.
Nuclear power plant projects require millions of dollars as investment as the area required is vast, and high setting up and operating costs further add to the total outlay. Contrary to nuclear projects, solar, wind and hydro power projects are cheaper and more easily accessible to regions that have such natural resources in abundance. Moreover, nuclear power plants require enormous amounts of water during the process of nuclear fission since it generates huge amounts of heat. Thus, a lot of water is wasted in the process. In addition to this, the radioactive waste is very hazardous and the international community hasn’t been able to give a convincing solution enabling proper disposal of radioactive waste.
Uranium and other radioactive material needs to be stored very carefully in warehouses and the risk of leakage or mishandling is very hazardous since it wouldn’t just lead to immediate casualties but would also end up in rendering the future generations with disabilities and deformities.
Powerful countries like the United States of America find it extremely offensive when countries that might be a potential threat get their hands on any kind of nuclear technology. It is very evident with the instance of Iran developing nuclear technology and the consequent EU and US sanctions of Iran which have led to a deteriorating situation in Iran’s economy. While Israel has a policy of Nuclear Opacity (ambiguity on the possession of nuclear weapons technology), it is often believed to possess a full-fledged nuclear weapons program, especially targeted against the Islamic Republic of Iran which is Israel’s staunch enemy in the Middle East. It is also suggested that due to its close relations with Israel, the U.S.A. sternly disagrees with any kind of nuclear technology associated with Iran. In this case the development of a nuclear program has cost a lot to Iran’s domestic economy.
Therefore, the possibility of countries developing a nuclear weapons program under the disguise of a peaceful nuclear program cannot be ignored, especially with a struggling power balance in the current geopolitical situation. There are numerous cheaper and sustainable alternatives to nuclear energy such as solar power plants, hydro power plants and windmills. Depending on the regional abundance, these natural resources can be utilized to meet our ever growing demand for energy. Especially countries like India which possess plentiful amounts of these resources, developing such technologies is a more viable option, unlike nuclear energy which would involve excessive amounts of time and money. Given the current situation of India, investing in renewable unconventional sources of energy and educating the masses about the feasibility of such options would most definitely be the best bet.