R. Chidambaram, Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government of India, on Friday firmly batted for nuclear power as an inevitable energy option for India and asserted that India had an excellent track record in the safe operation of its nuclear reactors. “Safety is in design and in operation and has to be ensured through regulation,” he said and pointed out that safety was assured through a safety culture, which existed in ample measure in the Department of Atomic Energy.
He was delivering the 10th Rajiv Gandhi memorial lecture on ‘Energy Technologies, Energy Securities and Climate Change', conducted under the aegis of the Tirupati-based NGO, AGRASRI.
Making a specific reference to the controversy shrouding the Kudankulam nuclear reactors he said, the 900+ MW that Tamil Nadu would get from the two reactors, which he claimed had advanced safety features, was the power that was currently supplied to more than four million people in Tamil Nadu.
He also asserted that an improved energy producing system would lead to a phenomenal improvement in the Human Development Index (HDI) and insisted that a sustained nuclear power growth was necessary for both rapid national development and rural development in India.
Dr. Chidambaram, who was a member on an independent commission constituted by the Director-General of the IAEA, quoting the panel report said that expanded use of nuclear technologies offered immense potential to meet important development needs.
“In fact, to satisfy energy demands and to mitigate the threat of climate change, there are major opportunities for expansion of nuclear energy in those countries which choose to have it,” he said quoting the report.
He said lessons have been learnt from the recent Fukushima accident in Japan, particularly on the continued functioning of post-shutdown cooling systems after, even remotely possible extreme natural events.
He said nuclear power option was imperative, particularly in case of large energy-stressed countries like India and China.