The nuclear energy throughout the world is nearing to its irrelevance, said Dr. John Byrne, Director of the Centre for Energy and Environmental Policy (CEEP) and a distinguished Professor of University of Delaware, U.S. on Wednesday. Dr. Byrne has contributed to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) since 1992 and shares the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with the IPCC researchers.

Dr. Byrne, who is on a 12-day tour to India, held a meeting with the villagers of area in and around the proposed Jaitapur nuclear Power Plant (JNPP). “It seems the people have a number of unanswered questions. The answers provided to them and the risks or other implications of the project are not clear at all. People want to know the reason for bringing this project here,” he said, in a press conference organised by Greenpeace, after the meeting with villagers and anti-nuclear power activists.

Making his stand against nuclear energy clear, Dr. Byrne said, “This technology (nuclear) has a record of unanticipated accidents because of its complex nature. The economic investment required to build and operate the plant is huge and the ecological risks associated with the nuclear plant cannot be denied,” he said. In particular, he noted the repeated negative advisories from credit rating agencies regarding nuclear power. “Considering all the negative sides of the nuclear energy and the available options of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind, the nuclear energy is nearing to its irrelevance,” he said.

According to Dr. Byrne, the evidence from scientific community in Japan shows that nuclear accident in Fukushima after the earthquake and tsunami has its roots in the technology and management related issues. “These were the problems which were not anticipated even by the well-learned technicians from Japanese nuclear industry,” he alleged.

Comparing the option of solar energy to nuclear, he said the former is more sustainable. “But right now the solar energy is restricted for individual uses. There has been no cost-effective model in case of solar energy to build a plant which will benefit larger population. We are working on such model, but I am sure that in future, such model will be developed,” he said.

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