If nuclear fission can be sustained under control, enough heat can be generated. But heat generation also necessitates protection against damages. Fission is activated by bombarding a fission neutron on nuclear fuels Uranium 235 and Plutonium 239. One bombardment sets up a chain reaction in which continuous fission is sustained. Most of this is achieved in nuclear reactors. By generating this kind of heat from the source of nuclear energy, nuclear weapons and nuclear power generation can be created.
Of the 6 percent nuclear energy and 14 percent power generated in the world, US, France and Japan account for 50 percent of it. Whereas this power is claimed to be sustainable with minimum carbon emission, its opponents highlight the threats posed by this method due to the poor quality of construction, operations and maintenance of these units. Even if the civil contractor maybe relied upon for the high pressure resistant walls that he can construct, the accidental random release of energy or overheating can result in major disasters as were seen in Chernobyl and Japan.
The causes for catastrophes can be divided into two areas, the bad quality of cocktailed nuclear material which might even have been recycled, as was being supplied by France and UK under prolonged contracts to Japan, or the inadequacy of cooling arrangements. As long cooling is to be managed by water, the agencies must ensure sustained bulk supply of it, for the cooling purposes.
In India, we suffer from a composite problem of lack of water, surroundings of dense population and the general casualness of the government. If some countries are raising voices against uses of nuclear energy, even those who have reasonably well planned systems and facilities’, the government of India cannot completely justify its preference for this source of power. If the USA could bypass the requirements of signing of nuclear test ban treaty and permit supply of nuclear fuels to India, and if France jumped in with the offer of this supply one must be cautioned that there must be some stake. Australia is going out of the way to remove the ban on supplying the nuclear fuels to India.
These countries are not only interested in the sale, but also are uninterested about the safety norms in India, since India is geographically far away from all these countries. Our politicians would do well to be forewarned. They should think in terms of its citizens, and not indulge in wild pursuit of the dangerous electricity power, in the light of the poor culture that we have about maintenance of safety.