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After reading media reports on the Chernobyl, The Kukushima nuclear disaster and later the protests at the new kudankulan power project, I considered nuclear energy unsafe and thought of it like a ticking Bomb continuously emitting radiation. I imagined a nuclear power station to be an isolated place where a handful of people work wearnig heavy radiation proof suits to be safe from the so called radiation emitted by the plant. But this was not the case many people work at the Atomic Power Station and they are more than safe, and definitely living in a cleaner environment than the people in the city.  After a site tour of the Tarapur Atomic Power Station 3&4 my misconceptions about Nuclear Energy were dispelled. Some important information I gathered at the tour to TAPS 3&4 was:

•Nuclear Power is one of the safest and cleanest sources of energy when compared to thermal energy which emits more waste and pollutants in the environment.
•We are exposed to large amounts of Natural Background radiation which varies from place to place as compared to radiation coming out of a nuclear power station which is minuscule.
•The Nuclear Power generation infrastructure and technology is very advanced in our country which can withstand earthquakes and natural disaster, in case of an emergency the reactor can be shut down in 2.5 seconds and the fuel will be poisoned therefore if any damage occurs to the reactors there won’t be any leakage of radioactive materials.
•There is no nuclear waste generated as such because the waste form one plant works as a fuel for another hence reducing waste.
•TAPS monitors the local area radiation levels on land and sea at regular intervals.

Hence I can conclude that Nuclear Energy is safe and it is the need of the hour, India needs more energy for development and increase in Atomic Energy Stations can bridge the gap between its demand and supply.

Vineet Kajrolkar, St. Xaviers College, Mumbai
Saturday, February 11, 2017