ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Decline of Nuclear Power

We may not be giving up much when we move away from nuclear energy as experience of other countries, notably the US, shows. Nuclear power plants the world over have been shutting down due to excessive cost besides safety concerns. India need not repeat the mistakes when it can learn the lessons directly.

Lights are going out for the nuclear power plants in countries like the US, Sweden, Germany and a number of other countries. A de facto moratorium on new orders for nuclear power plant prevails in the US from 1978. Sweden has decided to close down all the 20 plants after years of national debate. Decommissioning of the first plants has started last year. Germany, under pressure of opposition from the public led by the Green Party, has stopped expansion of nuclear power. Paradoxically in India the department of atomic energy has decided to expand nuclear power capacity, of all places, within a few hundreds kilometres of the coalfields in the eastern region. The reason for siting a nuclear power plant in an area which department’s own calculations admitted was uneconomic remains a mystery.

This paper discusses how the early promise of nuclear technology to offer a cheap and safe way for generating power failed to come true and gave way to disappointment among the consumers both with respect to cost and safety. The objective of the paper is to acquaint the readers with the course of development of nuclear power in the developed countries. It provides a background against which an appropriate assessment can be made of a policy for nuclear power being pursued in India.

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