Shutdown Again Kakrapar Atomic Power Station (KAPS) in Gujarat went into automatic shutdown after a heavy water leak in the reactor’s primary heat transport system. A rupture in the coolant system of one of the nuclear reactors in Gujarat on Friday morning forced the authorities to indefinitely shut down the plant.
“All safety systems are working as intended. The radioactivity/radiation levels on the plant premises and outside are normal.”
Some of the past incidents of shutdown
Kakrapar Atomic Power has undergone serious shutdowns or failure’s, at least, three times in the past in 1994, 2004 and 2011.
Kudankulam nuclear power plant has faced multiple shutdowns owing to instrumentation deficiencies and maintenance shutdowns for many times and it has barely reached full capacity.
1999, somewhere between four and fourteen tons of heavy water leaked from the pipes at Madras Atomic Power Station (MAPS) at Kalpakkam, Tamil Nadu, during a test process, and 42 people were reportedly involved in mopping up the radioactive liquid
Potential health hazards – Kalpakkam as an example
According to one study 244 Kalpakkam employees were detected with various types of cancer between 1999 and 2009, and most of them were affected with thyroid diseases, which are very common for people living in and around nuclear reactor sites.
A study funded by the DAE and executed by an NGO called ASPIRE, however, did a comparative study between 22 villages within an eight-km radius of the plants at Kalapakkam and three villages 50 km from the plant. The full report said the morbidity rate in nearby villages is two to three times higher than distant villages.
“Cancer was the leading cause of death for the 3,887 health-related deaths in the atomic energy hubs across the country between 1995 and 2014.” – according to an RTI filed by Chetan Kothari
Europe’s push towards renewables
Even as India debates and discusses the benefits and effects of Nuclear Power in India, Europe is taking huge strides towards renewable energy sources. Countries in the European Union are smashing all records in its hard push to replace their nuclear and other non-renewable capabilities with renewable resources. Let us look at some of the numbers which elucidate the above-mentioned opinion
Denmark set a new world record for wind production in 2014, getting 39.1 percent of its overall electricity from the clean energy source. The latest figures put the country well on track to meet its 2020 goal of getting 50 percent of its power from renewables.
In the UK, wind power also smashed records in 2014, as generation rose 15 percent from 24.5 terawatt-hours (TWh) hours to 28.1 TWh.That’s more than any other year, and the country now generates enough wind energy to supply the needs of more than 6.7 million UK households.
Renewable energy was the biggest contributor to Germany’s electricity supply in 2014, with nearly 26 percent of the country’s power generation coming from clean sources. That’s according to Berlin-based think-tank Agora Energiewende.
Windy conditions in Ireland meant the country saw not one but two wind energy records set already this year. According to figures record by EirGrid on Wednesday (Jan. 7), wind energy had created 1,942 MW of energy, enough to power more than 1.26 million homes.
In the year 2015, the MNRE set the target for Wind Power generation capacity by the year 2022 at 60,000 MW. It is estimated that only 3% of the total wasteland available in a state is used for development of solar power projects. Rajasthan, with its healthy resource of solar radiation and availability of vast tracts of wasteland in the form of the Thar Desert, has a potential of about 142 GW. India’s current solar power installed capacity is around 3 GW or less than 0.5% of the estimated potential. Naturally there exists a massive opportunity to tap this potential.
Going Beyond The Numbers & Facts
We have to ask ourselves – how democratic has the decision to implement nuclear power been? The debate has been informative and largely balanced, the verdict is for the reader to make. But even as we judge on the future of nuclear, we have to keep in mind the people who are living close to the nuclear power plants which are largely being ignored or categorized as anti-state. Would the urban population of Chennai or any city for that matter be willing to accept a proposal that would place a nuclear plant in the city? If the hypothetical scenario does happen you could expect people protesting about the potential hazards it could cause to drinking water, children and elders alike. Let democracy prevail, let the people’s insecurities be answered or let us put all our efforts into renewables instead of a questionably dangerous technology whose track record in Japan and Chernobyl took a beating.
The Logical Indian appeals to the government to conduct a detailed survey by an independent body on the nuclear infrastructure of India. Besides, we request the government to embark on a massive consultation process taking in opinions on the need, hazards and future of nuclear energy in India in lieu of the huge potential that renewables offer us.
Even at 76, Pradip Burman, the zestful chairman of Mobius Foundation radiates a contagious enthusiasm when he is talking about sustainability. The environmental crusader, better known to many as the great-grandson of Dabur founder Dr S.K.Burman, has devoted substantial attention towards promoting the concept of sustainability in all aspects of life. He refuses to conform to the convenience and comfort in today’s world which ultimately adds on to the adverse effects of climate change.
Talking to The Logical Indian, Burman emphasised why sustainability as a concept is indispensable for us. “We ought to be aware of what lies ahead of us. Soon we will finish the oil, iron, tin, and coal, and our next generations will be left with nothing. Recycling, banning plastics, stop felling trees for paper… This should become a part of everyone’s lifestyle,” he urges.
Traditional wisdom and modern research
A mechanical engineer from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA, Burman had always nurtured a keen interest in helping the society, as evident from his graduation project of designing a sonic aid for the visually challenged, which detected obstacles in the way using ultrasonic wave signals.
As an executive for the nature-centric company Dabur, Burman has always opted for natural alternatives to solve his everyday problems like taking Ayurvedic medicine to cure his Arthritis. He later launched the veterinary wing for Dabur – Ayurvet – which provides nature-friendly solutions for animal health care.
A patron of the ancient scientific wisdom of India, Burman always hailed the confluence of “traditional knowledge and modern research”, which he advocated as the Ayurvet motto.
As part of the CSR initiative of Dabur, Pradip Burman founded SUNDESH (Sustainable Development Society) which has been tirelessly working for last 25 years in remote villages for uplifting the rural communities in an environmentally sustainable way.
An advocate of sustainability
Burman believes that sustainability is the indispensable mantra for the world at present. Due to uncontrolled utilisation of the planet’s resources by human beings, the world today stands at a juncture of destabilisation. Today the human race has reached the pinnacle of progress but the advancement is happening in a very unsustainable manner.
Through energy-efficient use of everyday essentials like transport, communication, altered habits of diet, clothing and daily living, some crusaders of sustainability try to reduce their carbon footprint. Pradip Burman’s Mobius Foundation is one of the forerunners toward sustainability goals.
Mobius Foundation aims to change the sustainability dynamics
In 2015, Burman paved the way for the start of Mobius Foundation, focused on sustainability. Named after 18th-century German mathematician August Ferdinand Mobius, the famous Mobius strip has an important philosophical significance. The extraordinary shape symbolises balance and union.
Similar is the essence of Mobius Foundation which wishes to enhance the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” principle to a widespread basis in India, helping generations to come.
Founder Pradip Burman wishes to achieve notable development in education, population stabilisation and renewable energy projects.
A dream school in the making
At Coorg, Pradip Burman’s Mobius Foundation is constructing the World Environment School, Coorg (WESc) where the curriculum will surpass the boundaries of books and classrooms, with a special focus on hands-on learning in close collaboration with the environment. Amidst the pristine natural beauty of Coorg, the school will nurture young minds to grow up into future green leaders. As of now, the school will be open to teenagers, welcoming students from standards 6 to 12.
Needless to say, World Environment School will be the first-of-its-kind not only in India but also in entire South Asia. The school is expected to start from March 2020.
The school promises to nurture the responsible behaviour of citizens of our future.
The Sustainability Conference of 2019
In 2019, the Mobius Foundation has planned an international conference, on the lines of the celebrated earth summits over the past decade. The 2019 International Conference on Sustainability Education (ICSE 2019) aims to bring together environmental activists, practitioners of sustainable development as well as climate change experts to help develop a sustainability-focused curriculum.
It is surmised that the conference will give a platform to innovative concepts of Sustainability Education including an essential change in the existing education system ensuring a wholesome personal development for a student.
The Sustainability crusader
The Mobius founder strongly believes that it is high time to sprout sustainability awareness among a society drowning in consumerism and unknowingly doing irreparable harm to the planet, every second. The best way to achieve this goal is through education which is available to all. At present, the education system is predominantly career-oriented, making the learners a victim of materialism, and thus, their dreams are also outlined in those colours.
Living beyond the limits
When asked about his wish to attain the age of hundred, he strongly asserts that more than becoming a centurion, he wishes his life and work continue to better the society even in his absence. “I have lived my life. I wish that whatever I start before I go, will continue – for the betterment of my country,” says Mr Pradip Burman.
He is also a trustee of the Climate Reality Project – India (affiliated to Mr. Al Gore of the Climate Reality Project Foundation, USA). Climate Reality Project, India, has been actively engaged igniting the spark and spreading the message of climate change amongst educators, policy makers and civil society. The India branch looks after more than 500 trained Climate Leaders, and more than 900 volunteers spread all over the country.
In his journey, Pradip Burman has been a beacon of hope for millions, motivating many to join the movement for sustainability. We wish he continues his tireless efforts for promoting sustainability awareness and inspire generations to come.