Power policy analysts, scholars and activists on Saturday unanimously passed a resolution seeking an Integrated Power Policy based on cost-benefit analysis at a day-long All India Convention organised by People’s Committee for Safe Energy (PECOSE) and Breakthrough Science Society (BSS).
At the end, the members agreed on one count: reliance on renewable resources and evolving an integrated power policy based on cost-benefit analysis.
In his introductory remarks, Prof Dhruba Mukherjee, Convenor, PECOSE, said, “The total installed capacity of our nuclear reactors is 4,780 MW at present, 2.26 per cent of total power generation. Even if Department of Atomic Energy claims that they would attain 20,000 MW in 2017, it will be less than 10 per cent of the projected demand of 330,000 MW. So, relying on nuclear power completely will become meaningless.”
Dr A Gopalakrishnan, former Chairman, Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, said, “In 1948, when Nehru and Homi Bhaba initiated the country’s nuclear power programme, they dreamt of having indigenous nuclear reactors that use Thorium. But in 1974, their path was disrupted due to India’s nuclear weapon testing.” In 2004, India gave the opportunity to the US to suppress domestic nuclear programmes. The Nuclear Liability Law that was passed in Parliament was not in the interest of people but was brought about by the US. Fortunately, India had included some critical provisions.
In 2007, the then Chairman of Atomic Energy Commission decided that the country should import 40,000 MW of Light Water Reactors between 2010 and 2022. “When you import reactors, it means you are giving a contract to the company concerned and it reflects in your electricity bill. This ‘Pro-corporate’ and ‘Pro-American’ government has a nuclear policy dictated by companies abroad. Even if there is a change in the government, there is no change in the policy. At this juncture, protests like those at Koodankulam are needed, since no rational arguments are working with government,” Gopalakrishnan emphasised.
Painting a bleak picture of the power scenario, power policy analyst Shankar Sharma said, “The national per capita electricity production increased from 283 KWH to 780 KWH between 1992 and 2011. But about 40 per cent households have no access to electricity, as per the 2011 Census. The 13th Finance Commission report said that the Electricity Supply Companies faced financial loss of `69,000 crore in 2010-11, predicting the loss to increase to `116,000 crore in 2014-15.”
Power policy activist S Gandhi, said that Tamil Nadu has a shortfall of 4,000 MW of power, primarily because “our power policy has itself turned out to be problematic, resulting in the increase of outstanding loans”.
M G Devasahayam, former Chairman, Haryana State Electricity Board, called for introducing need-based energy management to bring about a solution.