Says nuclear power imperative for energy security

India's nuclear programme is safe in terms of design, operation, regulatory mechanisms and in observance of safety culture — the main parameters to pursue the programme without any inhibitions, noted nuclear scientist and Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India R. Chidambaram has said.

“We have learnt lessons from the Fukushima nuclear accident, particularly on the post-shutdown cooling system,” he said, but insisted that it should not unduly deter or inhibit India from pursuing a safe civil nuclear programme, which was imperative for energy security, an essential component to achieve sustainable development by 2020.

He was giving a lecture on “Energy Technologies and Energy Security,” after receiving the ‘Rajiv Gandhi Outstanding Leadership Award-2011' from the Academy of Grassroots Studies and Research of India (AGRASRI), a Tirupati-based NGO, on Wednesday.

Dr. Chidambaram, who is also the Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Committee to the Union Cabinet, said there was no need for any apprehensions nor needless panic over the nation's nuclear power plants (NPPs). They were ‘safe in design, operation, regulation and in observance of the safety culture.'

A review carried out in all the nuclear plants, including the one at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu, post-Fukushima, at the instance of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, had indicated that everything was perfect and the safety culture followed was ‘excellent.' “All nuclear plants are totally complying with the guidelines prescribed by the Ministry of Environment and the pollution control board vis-à-vis the release of thermal effluents into water bodies.”

Dr. Chidambaram said the fears over the Kudankulam project were needless as it would be like stopping to eat food for the fear of choking or stop eating fish for the fear of bones getting stuck in the throat.

Quoting international reports, he said the anti-nuclear feeling following the Fukushima incident now looked like no more than a ‘temporary blip' as year-on-year improvement in its support had resumed.

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