Policy & Govt

Policy: Nuclear power is the way forward

The importance of global warming and the subsequent climate change needs no reiterating. Yet again we were reminded of it, this time by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos who on February 17 announced the Bezos Earth Fund, a $10 billion-worth initiative to fight climate change. India has been in the forefront of initiatives to give up dependence on fossil fuels and the International Solar Alliance (ISA) is a good example of this.

Developing countries in Asia and Africa, as against the developed nations in Europe, do not often have global warming and climate change on the top of their list. This could be because there are more pressing real-time concerns that need to be prioritised — however, the harmful effects of climate change know no national boundaries.

This is seen is extreme weather-related events, such as the intense storms in the Gangetic Plains and the Mekong and Pearl River Deltas, the wildfires in Australia and South America, etc.

The UN intergovernmental panel on climate change has suggested some measures for tackling the problem. It recommends a focus on renewables, such as wind and solar power to provide between 59 and 97 percent of the total electricity by 2030. It has also proposed a focus on nuclear energy to augment wherever possible, and up to 28 percent.

It is here — in the quest to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels — that India must pay more attention to nuclear energy. Currently India produces only around 6,250 MWs of nuclear power which is just around 6.3 percent of the power production in the country.

India operates 22 nuclear power plants, a bulk of them pressurised hard water reactors (PHWRs), and has ambitious plans for capacity expansion. In this line, news reports that India and the United States are back to efforts to resolve the issues surrounding the stalled six nuclear power plants is good news.

Even if India were to achieve 450 GW of power from the twin renewables of solar and wind, the key issue here would be storage. India has no natural lithium or cobalt and other rare metal reserves

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