Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Perils of nuclear power

Recent events in Japan have once again reminded us the perils of nuclear power. The chances of an accident in a nuclear power station were said to be one in a million but when that accident happens the consequences are catastrophic and last for generations.

Even when no accident takes place, disposal of nuclear waste is a problem. Not much is known how it is done and where it is dumped or buried.

Japan is familiar with earthquakes and many of its buildings are earthquake resistant. However when an earthquake of magnitude 9 was followed by tsunami , Japan could not handle it. It will take many days to know the full impact of explosions at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Some advocate nuclear power as an alternative to coal and oil. Nuclear power is clean while coal and oil cause carbon emissions and damage the atmosphere is the argument. Solar power is said to be expensive. With safeguards in place, nuclear power is safe.

Solar power and wind power need to be used and nuclear power needs to be phased out. Large scale production of solar panels will make solar power cheap. Coal and oil will finish one day. Japan had safeguards but that could not prevent explosions in nuclear power plant.

In Chernobyl , where a nuclear accident took place in 1986, children are born deformed. Many are born with sicknesses. Vast areas around Chernobyl are contaminated. Many people had to be evacuated. The wind spread radioactivity to many countries.

India has many nuclear reactors. Some of them may be retained to produce nuclear weapons to deter enemy attacks. Other reactors should be phased out. No new nuclear power stations should be built. Indian nuclear reactors have survived earthquakes so far but there is no guarantee that they will be able to withstand an earthquake of magnitude 9. Children being born with deformities and sicknesses is too high a price to pay for nuclear power.

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