On April 26, 1986, the world witnessed one of the major nuclear disasters in the then Soviet Union. The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant at Ukraine met with an explosion and a vast amount of radioactive particles released in the atmosphere. After 27 years, the world still remembers the disaster and commemorates the day with an annual rally ‘Chernobyl Way’.
At this juncture, it is worth reviewing a book launched at a meeting organised by PECOSE here, with critical and crucial information on nuclear energy.
The book titled Nuclear Energy Today: The Reality – A Critical Analysis was brought out by People’s Committee for Safe Energy (PECOSE) recently. The book contains information pertaining to the use of nuclear energy and the misconceptions over India’s atomic obsession. The book exposes the demerits of nuclear energy at large, through various incidents that happened in the past.
The book starts with early warnings such as the accidents at Narora Nuclear Plant in Uttar Pradesh and Kakrapar Nuclear Plant in Gujarat and how the disasters were managed by the local people and the workers of the nuclear plant. It alleges that those who put their life at stakes to bring down the impact of the accidents “remained unnamed” by those nuclear establishments.
A brief history of the emergence of ‘nuclear obsession’ in the nation has also been traced in this book. It sheds light on the scientist Meghnad Saha, who emphasised on the democratic participation of all stakeholders like people, government and nuclear companies before embarking on nuclear projects. It quotes historian Ramachandra Guha saying, ‘the most secretive institution in India!’, referring to the Atomic Energy Commission formed in 1948.
The book also brings the reasons and genuine pleas behind the KKNPP struggle to focus. One of their concerns that nuclear accidents can happen either in the form of operational errors as Chernobyl or mechanical failures as the Three Mile Island or even a natural disaster like Fukushima, gets prime focus in the book.
The topics of this book range from ‘untenable claims of using nuclear energy’ to ‘reliable possibilities of using alternative sources’. But the book limits itself on some of the topics such as working mechanism of VVER used in KKNPP and India’s ‘3-Stage Nuclear Program’ by giving only little information. If those topics were explained better, the book would definitely be a guide for those interested in knowing the reality behind nuclear energy.
“While, the debate over nuclear energy has gripped the intelligentsia as well as the common public, PECOSE feels that there should be an effort to promote a rational discourse and not desk-thumping. As a first step, we have brought out this book,” says Prof Dhruba Mukherjee, Convenor, PECOSE, in the foreword of the book.