The electricity demand in the country has increased rapidly and is expected to rise further in the years to come.
To meet the growing demand, India plans to invest in the indigenous nuclear power programme.
There is a general consensus today that the energy production by burning of fossil fuel and other carbonaceous matter must be minimized for mitigating the impact of generation of CO2 and other greenhouse gases to the global climate change.
India has declared to reduce its carbon intensity in energy use by 33%. In 2030 compared to 2005. This will require a strong push in nuclear and new Renewable energy.
• The present share of nuclear energy is about 3.2%
• The installed capacity of electric power generation in the country today is about 275 GW and out of that the nuclear component is 5.5 GW.
• India has one of the largest reserves of thorium (about 25% of the world reserves).
Nuclear energy has given us a viable energy option due to following:
• Minimum carbon foot print.
• Clean, safe and reliable energy.
• Its steady and uninterrupted supply makes it ideally suitable for meeting basic load requirements.
• Capable of supplying uninterrupted electricity to large metropolis and high power consuming industries.
• It is associated with a very high energy density and the compactness of its energy source translates into easy transportation of fuel.
Need for Nuclear Energy:
• The world average per capita electricity consumption is 3000 KWh but in India is about 1000 KWh.
• India’s growing energy deficit due to population growth, less energy efficient machines etc.
• Nearly 25% of the population does not have access to electricity.
• We need to maintaining a steady pressure on reduction in the relative contribution of CO2 generating plants.
Ex: About 60% of electricity produced from Coal.
• The intermittency of the solar and wind power does not allow their capacity factor to be raised above 20-25 percent.
• The cost of electricity produced from Nuclear energy is lesser than from thermal energy LNG.
Arguments against nuclear energy:
• Higher radiations from nuclear installation affects human health ex: Cancer, chromosomal aberrations.
• Higher temperature: Adverse effect on agriculture on land and on fish catch in the water body.
Ex: discharge the reject heat into the sea.
• Kaiga: Discharges the reject heat into a fresh water reservoir of Karda dam at Kaiga on the bank of the river kali.
• Nuclear reactors pose threat under intense natural catastrophes like Flood, earthquake and tsunami.
2011 – Fukushima Daichi Nuclear Power planet accidents.
Other accidents: (1) 1979 – Three mile Island, (2) 1986 – Chernobyl.
• The spent fuel disposal problems.
Arguments for nuclear energy:
• The Background radiation levels near nuclear installations are well within the scatter band.
• The world wide average background radiation dose is 2400 MSV, and some common human activities such as air travel, medical diagnosis using X-ray or CAT-Scan further add radiation exposure, which are much more than what one receives in a life-time at the periphery of a nuclear power station.
• The doses received by people around a nuclear installation are constantly monitored by Environment survey laboratories which are totally independent of operators of nuclear plants.
• Since fishes are sensitive to thermal fluctuation the small temperature upshift has been found to enhance fish hatching.
Ex: A fish hatchery, established in Kaiga makes use of warm water from the discharge canal to enhance fish agriculture.
• The exclusion zone around the kaiga nuclear power stations are extensively used for agriculture.
Our own experience
1. Kalpakkam reactors were safety shutdown during tsunami.
2. Kakrapar reactors were withstood the severe earthquake at Bhuj
• Spent Fuel: to resolve the spent fuel discharge problem , India has indigenously developed and adopted closed nuclear fuel cycle.
• Focused developments in solar and thorium energy can lead us to a stage when we do not have to look outwards for meeting our energy demands for several centuries, that too without straining the environment. Thus a long term energy security and a clean environment for the country can be achieved.