Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Power Plants and Protests

There's been a lot of hullabaloo about a proposed Nuclear Power Plant in Koodamkulam. The project has been under construction for quite some time now (more than a decade ago!). But recently, thanks to the Fukushima incident in Japan and the erstwhile Chernobyl. I cannot deny the fact that a Nuclear disaster is a really horrible thing to happen and if one were to happen, it could do a lot of damage!

But this particular protest smells very fishy. For one, the protesters did not protest when the project was initiated a decade ago. And contrary to popular belief, an investment of these proportions (U.S.$ 3.5 billion) is not just carried out on a whim. The people who protest are citing Chernobyl and Fukushima. Sure, they are horrible reminders of what happens when Human negligence happens or when Nature decides to take the upper hand. But that's hardly a reason to stop work there. The fishermen around the area claim that the effluents from the power plant would contaminate fishes and the ilk and reduce their livelihood in the area. Fair enough... only that they knew the power plant was coming up so long ago. And if they had a problem with it, they should've brought it up way earlier. And saying that a Nuclear Power Plant is a disaster waiting to happen is almost similar to saying "Putting on a light switch would kill you!" There are adversities everywhere and when one sees the advantage of greener energy and better power distribution, it almost seems silly to think of stopping Nuclear power plants for some person's unfounded stigma about it. Do they think that a project of these proportions would be implemented without proper research and safety precautions?

I suspect that this entire protest has a political tinge to it. And if that is true, it's sad. Being a science student, I know how much of an advantage having a Nuclear Power Plant would be. Then again, there were folks who thought switching on the LHC would bring about the end of the world! Oy vey, it's a sad time for science, folks!

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