Energy security with sustainable development, key challenge

Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India, R. Chidambaram, on Friday sought to allay fears over the safety of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project, saying it was absolutely risk-free and designed to be safe from calamities including tsunami.

Speaking on sustainable development and energy security during the 18th Foundation Day celebrations of the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) at Pallikaranai, he said the government had carried out many programmes to create awareness among the people about the project's safety and that it would continue to do so.

He said the site was located at a place where there was no risk of tsunami. “There will be no problems to fisherman or marine life.”

He contended that building more nuclear reactors was the only way out for countries like India which, along with China, was an “energy-stressed nation.”

The VVR 1000 reactors built with Russian support were of new design and latest technology. “There are already 16 reactors in Russia and nine outside. Two days ago, Bangladesh entered into an agreement with Russia to construct two similar reactors at Rupur,” Mr. Chidambaram said.

Referring to a recent report in ‘Current Science' journal, he said that by 2070, India would need 3,400 Terawatt hours per year, but the total potential of all renewable energy sources was only 1,229 TWh/year. As fossil fuels would be exhausted, renewable sources alone would not be sufficient for meeting the country's needs.

Commitment

In September this year, six months after the Fukushima disaster, many nations, including Canada, China, Russian Federation and the United Kingdom, had declared their commitment to continued support to nuclear power generation during a general conference of International Atomic Energy Agency at Vienna.

South Korea had taken a quantum leap in the net generation of power from nuclear reactors and India too desperately needed large nuclear power inputs.

He elaborated that from any energy producing system, a part would go to small towns and villages which, in turn, would get better drinking water, improved sanitation facilities and primary health care centres and all of them would have an impact on health parameters.

Energy security

Saying energy security is the principal driving force of water, food and health security, Mr. Chidambaram said that attracting young people to careers in science and technology related to sustainable development and national and international collaborative research, technology development and innovation using the emerging e-infrastructure as required would lead the path towards sustainable development and energy security.

He had a word of praise for NIOT, which is the only civilian institute in the country for research, development and technology demonstration in the area of ocean research with wide-ranging interests and world class facilities. He handed over prizes to the staff who had won various competitions.

M.A. Atmanand, Director, NIOT, welcomed the gathering and B.R. Subramaniam, Project Director Integrated Coastal and Marine Management, proposed a vote of thanks.

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