Safety

…the possibility, however remote it may be, of human error, systems failure, sabotage, earthquake and terrorist attacks leading to the release of radioactive matter in the public domain, cannot be entirely ruled out.

 

Guidelines on Management of Nuclear and Radiological Emergencies

National Disaster Management Authority

Govt of India

All nuclear power plants are inherently dangerous.  They are vulnerable to any combination of natural disaster, human error or design failure.  In India, institutional faults make that risk a little bit greater.  Yet these dangers are routinely and emphatically downplayed by the nuclear establishment.

There’s a myth propagated that nuclear power has become safer in recent years.  It’s now toted as the answer to climate change – an “environmentally-friendly” option that guides us away from the looming crisis of peak oil.  The truth is that even a significant increase in nuclear power would only lead to a negligible CO2 reduction 1, and that nuclear reactors are no safer than they were in the 20th Century.  If anything, as they become more powerful, the possible consequences of an accident become even more terrible.

Mistakes do happen.  The nuclear sector is replete with chilling stories of incidents, accidents and near misses.  There’s a story or more for every day of the year - all 365 of them.2 Accidents happened before Chernobyl.  They happened after Chernobyl.  Only the explanations and excuses get tailored anew each time.  The industry is known to have manipulated safety and inspection data, in certain cases, in order to avoid costly repairs and lengthy shutdowns.3 The secrecy that blankets the Indian nuclear power sector shields it further.

Yet even under normal operations nuclear power plants regularly discharge radioactive materials into the air and water.  Nuclear waste, the deadly by-product of nuclear power for which there is no real long-term solution, remains radioactive for generations.

Proponents of nuclear power want it discussed and evaluated on the same factors as other methods of power generation.   This can only be done if the risk factor is set aside altogether as being irrelevant, if the horrific, long-lasting consequences of an accident on huge populations is considered an acceptable price to pay. At Greenpeace, we don’t think it is.

Alternative power sources exist, such as solar, wind or micro-hydro energy.  They can be combined with energy efficiency to deliver India’s electricity needs, fast.  They won’t exacerbate climate change like fossil fuels, and nor do they leave a radioactive legacy or carry the unacceptable risk of a radiological accident, like nuclear energy.  India needs to stop gambling with the health of our children and our land by investing in nuclear power.



Sources
1 Energy Technology Perspectives 2010, IEA/OECD, June 2010
2 http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/publications/reports/nuclearaccidentscalendar/
3 “Complacency, negligence threaten nuclear industry, WANO warns". Nucleonics Week, vol. 44/ Issue 42, Oct. 16,2003

The latest updates

 

People Power Wins!

Blog entry by Grace Saji | January 2, 2018

A new year has begun. And many promises have been made. Only time will tell if they will be kept or broken. But our health, our forests, and our oceans cannot wait. Our governments and the big corporations must know that we are aware...

The MoEFCC Has Spoken: A National Clean Air Programme for India

Blog entry by Nandikesh Sivalingam | December 20, 2017

Amid all the bad news on air quality, there is a ray of hope. After two years of incessant public demand for a comprehensive national action plan to tackle air pollution, the government has finally stated in the parliament that they...

MoEFCC: For People Or For Thermal Power Plants

Blog entry by Diya Deb | December 18, 2017

Last March, my family forced me to pay a visit to our doctor at Chittaranjan Park in Delhi for a diagnosis of my dry cough. It had been lingering for over two months. The doctor gave me a concerned look from behind his specs and asked...

Procrastination, Thy Name is Human!

Blog entry by Payal Gunaki | December 12, 2017

I live in Pune, the second largest city in Maharashtra. Also known as “The Oxford of the East”, it is a sprawling city known for its cultural heritage (base of the Peshwas of the Maratha Empire) and is now set to become a Smart City.

Direct Communication at the Ministry of Environment and Forests in New Delhi

Image | December 11, 2017 at 12:07

Direct Communication at the Ministry of Environment and Forests in New Delhi

CAN_Direct_Communication

Image | December 11, 2017 at 12:03

Direct Communication at the Ministry of Environment and Forests in New Delhi

As India struggles to breathe, over 300 coal power plants are violating air pollution...

Feature story | December 7, 2017 at 17:01

As of December 7, more than 300 coal power plants across the country are still violating the emission standard norms that were given by the MoEFCC back in 2015. These norms were to come into effect by the 7th of December 2017. But despite being...

With Less Than 24 Hours to Go, Citizen Activists Say "Enough Is Enough".

Blog entry by Grace Saji | December 6, 2017

Two years ago, coal power plants were given new emission norms to follow. The deadline has come. Tomorrow, on the 7th of December 2017, all power plants must have complied with the norms. But as the government shuffles papers around,...

11 - 20 of 3947 results.