Saturday, February 15, 2014

Challenges of Nuclear Energy

Due to the fast expanding requirements of every nation we cannot continue to rely primarily on fossil fuel for energy security. According to the Department of Nuclear Energy of the IAEA which makes two projections, one low and the other high, the world could see a significant shift in reliance to nuclear energy. It is revealed that the total production of electricity could vary from 447 GW(e) in 2030 (low projection) to 691 GW(e) in 2030 (high projection). Accordingly, by 2030, the increase in electricity production could be 25 percent or 93 percent respectively. Further, by this time, the number of countries generating nuclear energy could increase from the present 30 to 50.

The disastrous effect on climate that the use of fossil fuels and beget, their exhaustible nature and the absence of any other viable alternative that could satisfy the fast growing energy needs of the world striving to achieve economic growth have propelled the reversal of the policy of abandoning nuclear energy as the focus of the future. The decision by India govt. is also the same. But the greatest challenge is safety and security. Due to the increasing dependence on atomic energy, it would be imperative for both the operators and regulators to create a culture of highest levels of  energy management and safety.While operators have been entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring the highest safety standards, the regulators ensure that they are followed without any deviations and undertake their obligations. In order to operate at efficient level, it is must to have the required engineering, financial, and management capability to built, manage, operate and follow the highest safety standards.

The operators and regulators in the entire world function under a global nuclear safety regime. The regime is a collective international enterprise that sets safety parameters for all the operators and regulators, monitoring the progress and safety measures in place, and building competence among them. The adoption of higher safety standards by individual countries will not only enhance the credibility of the global regime but will also help in assuaging the fear of the civilian population to the establishment of nuclear plants. Now it is the need of hour that every nuclear power should ensure the adoption of safety measures.

As the technical assistance is provided by various international organizations like IAEA, NEA and WANO for the upgradation of safety standards. India requires to modify its regulatory structure and norms to make the generation of nuclear energy safe and viable. As the prospects for nuclear energy development in India and the possible trajectory India's civilian nuclear energy programme could take a survey of the best international practices relating to safety, security, liability, management and ENR transfer operations and suitable recommendations there for the existing legal and institutional structures in India and the need to build a nuclear regime in the country that would be more responsive and accountable to the concerns and needs of the public. Now there is great need that Indian government should enact a nuclear liability Law to make India a partner in the international nuclear energy regime.

Source: IDSA Task Force Report. Development of Nuclear Energy Sector in India ( )

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