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

 

Letter to Ministry of Environment Forests and Climate Change

Publication | November 7, 2014 at 16:30

With the next round of IPCC negotiations upon us, Greenpeace would like to congratulate the government on indicating the seriousness it accords to the climate change issue by renaming the Ministry as to include 'Climate Change' and on your call...

Letter to Ministry of Home Affairs

Publication | November 7, 2014 at 16:30

We write to you concerning recent statements by the Ministry of Home Affairs in the Delhi High Court (Greenpeace India Society vs Union of India, WP(C) 5749 of 2014). The MHA has stated in its affidavit dated October 9, 2014 that Greenpeace India...

Global Maize Contamination Report

Publication | October 29, 2014 at 12:18

Genetically modified crops were first commercially grown on a wide scale in 1996. But, there has always been concern about their effects on both health and the environment. A specific concern has been that once released, it would not be possible...

"Smart" breeding, where science and farmers' knowledge meet

Publication | October 28, 2014 at 16:25

GE crops are very limited in sophistication, being almost completely dominated by herbicide tolerance and insect resistance traits. Could the numerous tools of biotechnology deliver better outcomes? This report tries to answer that question.

Hope Brewing

Publication | October 15, 2014 at 14:21

The introduction of chemical fertilisers and chemical pesticides resulted in an increase in production in the early years, but by the 1990s and early 2000s, yields had begun to stagnate.

Elephant in the Room

Publication | October 7, 2014 at 10:02

Human-elephant conflict (HEC) in Chhattisgarh started with 18 elephants migrating in the late 80s from the neighbouring states of Odisha and Jharkhand and over the years the migration increased. The estimation of elephant population in 2012...

Annual Report 2013

Publication | August 27, 2014 at 12:33

What is the catalyst for a successful campaign? Sure, there may be many factors; money, timing, brand name, et al. But the one thing that stands out at the frontline and at the very heart of every campaign, is people. History and literature have...

Power for the People

Publication | August 5, 2014 at 10:10

The Mahan forests are a contiguous patch extending over about 500 sq km in the Waidhan and East Sarai Ranges of Singrauli, Madhya Pradesh’s eastern most district. Singrauli is a relatively new district, carved out of the neighbouring Sidhi in...

Dharnai Live Microgrid Media Manual

Publication | July 15, 2014 at 13:54

Greenpeace's energy access campaign in Bihar. A detailed manual consisting of all the information on the decentralised solar microgrid installed by Greenpeace India in Dharnai revenue village, Jehanabad district, Bihar

Dharnai Live - Microgrid Technical Fact Sheet

Publication | July 12, 2014 at 17:53

A technical know-how of the decentralized solar microgrid. Find out the details on energy generated, specification of the microgrid spread about in clusters in Dharnai, Jehanabad district, Bihar, India

1 - 10 of 318 results.