The debate over the proposed nuclear power plant at Madban, near Jaitapur, has heated up with environmentalists claiming that renewable sources of energy are more effective and economical.
“The government is trying to impose nuclear power plants on people under pressure from multinational companies. But the fact is that in 2009, energy generated from renewable resources was at 13,242 MW, as against 4,120 MW of nuclear power,” said Girish Raut, an environmentalist.
The budget allocated for atomic power during 2003 was a whopping Rs3,350 crore, while the same for renewable energy resources was Rs470 crore.
“Renewable energy resources are definitely economical, as the source of energy is free and only one-time investment is required to set up the facility,” said Nishikant Kale, an expert on global warming and climate change. “On the other hand, operating a nuclear power plant involves huge investment, as the fuel is costly,” Kale added.
Also, nuclear power plants involve high risk of disasters if the radiations are not controlled, Kale added. If a similar disaster happens here, the radiations would destroy entire Goa and Mumbai, Raut said.
He also pointed out that since the supplier of the nuclear reactor is liable for risk covering, Areva, the French company supplying the reactor, has pressurised the government to cap the maximum limit of insurance cover in case of such incidents. “While the maximum limit in the USA is Rs48,000 crore, it is Rs1,700 crore in India,” Raut said.
Solar energy is the ultimate solution for countries like India. “The wind power sector is progressing fast and as on today is generating 7,400 mw of electricity,” Kale said. Solar dryers and water heaters have directly contributed to the conservation of electricity. But due to some technological limitations, solar photovoltaic has failed to gain necessary popularity.
Though it is a very costly option, the breakthrough will soon be achieved to make it cost-effective.
According to Kishor Rithe, president of Satpuda Foundation, “Grid interactive solar energy getting popular in European countries as it does not require a battery to store generated energy which is actually the biggest trouble.”
Solar plates tap the solar power and provide it to grid from where it is distributed. “People who install solar panels get money for maintaining it in addition to the earnings through the sale of power,” Rithe said.