TH!NK post

Nuclear Energy in India- A boon or bane

Published 29th October 2010 - 29 comments - 11574 views -

In terms of Nuclear energy, following the completion of 123 Agreement between India and US and the waiver by Nuclear Suppliers group in 2008, India signed a Nuclear Pact with French firm Areva for building nuclear power plants at Jaitapur in Maharashtra and supply of nuclear fuel for the Atomic Power stations in Rajasthan. Areva will supply two European Pressurised Reactors (EPR) of 1650 MWe each for the plants to be built in Maharashtra and the company was committed to supply fuel for the life time of the reactors, pegged at about 60 years. All the reactors would be located at a nuclear park Areva had been asked to develop at Jaitapur. As a part of the consignment of 300 tonnes of nuclear fuel which is natural uranium, 60 tonnes had been arrived which will be processed at designated fuel plants at the Nuclear Fuel complex (NFC) at Hyderabad and converted into fuel pellets to be used in the nuclear reactors for generation of power. The fuel bundles will then be used at the Rajasthan Atomic power station (RAPS). There are two power stations—RAPS-1 and RAPS-2 (220 MW each), which are under the International Atomic Energy Agency Safeguards. The total quantity of 300 tonnes will enable the NFC to produce 20,000 fuel bundles. Each bundle containing about 15 kg of uranium dioxide, could generate about 6.4 lakh units of power. Under the separation plan, Indian will place 10 PHWRs under safeguards by the end of 2014 by placing two reactors each year. Nuclear Energy is going to be a landmark development for India for energy generation. Once if everything is carried out as per the proposed, it could dramatically reduce India’s dependence on conventional power and further reducing as much emissions of as 70% to that of conventional power.

This would have considerable impact on reducing the GHG reduction unlike the conventional power. But the effects that nuclear energy would create are not commendable. It is also has to be considered that, when a countries like India are suffering with the basic necessary facilities to keep up the development, the economic resources spent on nuclear energy could help in providing the basic necessary facilities for millions of the poor. The GHG emissions reduction could be achieved in several other economic ways like improving the energy consumption, transportation, etc. So on a whole; I counter argue the statement that nuclear energy development as a means for GHG emissions reduction.

Nuclear Power : Not cheap, Not safe, Not Wanted

Instead of investments huge chunks of money in nuclear energy and having Nuclear pacts and policies, we need to have something like UK’s “The No Money for Nuclear movement”. Some of the cuts it already made are as below:

  • £83 billion in cuts over the next four years
  • £4.2 billion from the education capital budget, a cut of 60%
  • £4.8 billion from the communities capital budget, a cut of 74%

Nuclear will benfit from carbon pricing and emissions trading regimes, this in spite of the fact that nuclear is not renewable, not sustainable and higher carbon than any other renewable if the full life cycle carbon is taken into account. Nuclear does not deserve any environmental subsidy.


Category: Greenhouse Gases, | Tags:


Komalirani Yenneti on 29th October 2010:

Thanks gorky and Bhumika for your comments!! I would not be biased whether to go for nuclear or no. For me I accept that nuclear can be a potential source of energy, but as Bhumika mentioned India with its high priorities of development and lack of capacities to handle this technology - these aspects would be a big backlogs for the nuclear development. Also when we are aiming for energy through solar and wind which are far means of cheaper and safer, I think nuclear is not only the option. What do you say guys????

Gorky Tyagi on 29th October 2010:

Nuclear is not the only option, you’re right. But if India is gearing up for such large scale expansion, then surely it would know its capabilites and risks involved. Nuclear energy would contribute 10% of entire energy production in 2020 compared to 3% now. It should be taken up as another form of clean energy and should not be differentiated, unless the risks involved and the scope are not well researched.

Andrea Arzaba on 29th October 2010:

Thank you for updating us about Nuclear Energy in India! Really crazy

Komalirani Yenneti on 31st October 2010:

Dear Guys!! Thank you very much for your valuable comments. I think the Nuclear issue on a whole raise several other important issues which are added to it.
@ gaurav: yes, it is very true that India still do not have the capacity for nuclear waste management. Infact, when India do not have the full capacities for solid waste management itself, I don’t think we are in a position to develop management systems for nuclear waste.

@pabitra: funding for alternatives forms of energy are many. For ex, especially for RE there are several multilateral organisation like International Finance corporation, KfW, ADB, REEEP etc. There are also MNRE small scale funds for solar and wind energy research. Please go through my other posts for finance for RETs

Komalirani Yenneti on 01st November 2010:

@ Pabitra than you for your valuable comments and I entirely first the issues you have raised. Though I am not in US, and in UK I think all these developed countries are in the same boat. I do understand your frustration about it and completely agree with you.

Komalirani Yenneti on 01st November 2010:

@Anushka: Thank you!! Though you rightly mentioned, that we need to have development, I don’t see development as a replacement for environment. I think both should go hand in hand that is where the concept of sustainable development would peep in. As u mentioned, through we could address our long term energy issues through nuclear energy, dont you see the logn term effects also? Do we need to see one more chernobyl case?

Komalirani Yenneti on 22nd November 2010:

@ Mrs Wagner: Thank you very much for reading the post.

Komalirani Yenneti on 22nd November 2010:

@Phani: You have truly mentioned that India has no capacities for tackling the future issues that would arise from nuclear energy development. This gives the picture of offside of nuclear energy. I hope the discussion that others have mentioned is very true and supports the sentence that India lack the know-how, knowledge and expertise in this field.

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