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We Don’t Need No Nuclear Power!

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By Suhas AR:

Rewind back to 2011, Fukushima in Japan was the scene of disaster as an earthquake of 8.9 on the Richter scale and the subsequent tsunami overwhelmed the cooling systems of an aging nuclear plant resulting in a disaster. It triggered a large number of explosions, massive radiation leaks and everyone in the vicinity had to be evacuated.

Nuclear Energy

Fukushima was just one of the many nuclear tragedies. Tokaimura Nuclear Accident (September 99), an explosion in the Siberian city of Tomsk (April 93), Goinia in Brazil ( September 87) and The Chernobyl Disaster (April 86) which resulted in a radioactive fallout 400 times more than that caused by the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima are some of the other instances of nuclear tragedies that have happened over time.

That gives rise to the question? Given the fact that the potential effects of a nuclear disaster are so devastating and tragic, is it even worth the risk? The answer in my opinion is a resounding No.

Despite all the safety precautions that maybe taken, there can be no guarantee against disaster when it comes to nuclear power. The aftereffects of a nuclear disaster are also manifold and are felt for generations to come. As a responsible people/society, we have to ensure that such disasters do not take place and the only way we can ensure that is by shunning Nuclear Power. The issue of dumping nuclear waste is also a massive issue, finding a location to dump waste is difficult enough and if the disposal is not done properly, it has harmful consequences.

To solve our electricity needs, we have many different sources which could solve all our energy woes. We also need to make use of renewable sources of energy like solar power, wind power, geothermal power, hydroelectric and various other forms of power that are far less dangerous than Nuclear power, we need to ensure they are used more. To fulfill our energy requirements, nuclear power is not a necessity.

Considering all of this, the German government decided to shut down all of its nuclear reactors by 2022, making it the largest industrial power to do so. More and more governments need to do the same to ensure that none of their citizens are harmed by any inadvertent tragedy.

According to Shaun Burnie, nuclear adviser for environmental campaign group Greenpeace International, “The various studies from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change show that renewables could deliver, basically, global electricity by 2050.” This shows that the future is Green, not nuclear. We need to work towards that to make it happen!

I would like to conclude by quoting Stanford University Professor Mark Z. Jacobson “If our nation wants to reduce global warming, air pollution and energy instability, we should invest only in the best energy options. Nuclear energy isn’t one of them.”

You must be to comment.
  1. Sonakshi

    The headline is grammatically incorrect. Used normally, but is incorrect.

    1. Akhil Kumar

      The headline has intentionally been kept so Sonakshi, not that the editor is unaware of the grammatical error. It’s inspired from a very popular song by Pink Floyd, the intention was to make discussion on nuclear power more appealing to the youth readers and to draw their attention. Thank you for taking the time to comment though, appreciate it.

  2. Do Not Shoot the Messenger

    Dear Suhas,

    Sorry to say but this article does not add any value to a reader’s understanding of nuclear power. We all know the costs related to nuclear power. But, do you know the biggest problem related to solar, wind, hydroelectric power plants? It is a discontinuous way of generating electricity. That is unlike a nuclear or coal plant which can be used to generate a constant flow of electricity, renewable energy is extremely difficult to form a large base of electricity supply. Say, if you use solar or wind you have little to no control over electricity production and you will have serious mismatch over what you produce over what you consume as you can control none.

    Further, renewables being used in Germany are heavily subsidized and facing problems relating to negative electricity pricing (customers are paid to buy electricity from grid when their is a surge in production to prevent grid brown out). India, too, supports subsidies but due to higher interest rates, the recoccuring interest costs on initial investment are too high. Further, most of the subsidies are on India made equipment which is much more expensive than Chinese made equipment reducing adoption.

    How do you plan to provide a growing population with electricity? Just because all of us live in power back up societies does not mean that people get electricity. Most villages receive at maximum 8 hours of electricity a day.

    Coal produces too much pollution, while most of it is cannot be mined currently due to policy paralysis and shoddy government job. We barely have much natural gas. Petroleum products are too expensive to generate electricity and generate significant pollution. Nuclear while poses risks, is relatively safe if proper procedures are undertaken. Less fuel is required with less waste generation. It does seem to be a great option. Look at France which generates 75% of its electricity by nuclear power. India is 15th on the list and I will love to see it at the top.

    Till fracturing can be used viably in India, nuclear is the best bet. I am not opposed to wind, solar, hydroelectricity. I am just saying that their adoption have serious limits from limited opportunities to build damns to highly fluctuating electricity supply to high interest rates. We should not blindly write an article because not only we display our ignorance but are providing the wrong facts and opinion to the rest of us. I do not mean to be rude.

    1. Suhas

      Agreed that the supply of power in India far outstrips that of demand there is and the demand is constantly increasing. However one has to ask is nuclear power worth the risk? It’s been many years since the nuclear deal was signed and even now, its advantages are almost invisible to the common man. The risks on the other hand are quite clear for all to see. The issue of liability was a huge issue as well and continues to be.
      The fact that we are not generating enough power in India is not due to a lack of nuclear power generation necessarily, there are many other sources that we can and should explore. The fact of the matter is that India today is not utilizing its entire capacity of power generation that actually exisits. The way in which coal blocks were allotted and the subsequent legal cases/misgovernence ensuring so.

      When many other countries in the World have tried and failed and are moving away from nuclear power, it is not time for us to move towards it.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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