Sonam Mittal

Sonam Mittal is a journalist and has been involved in studying the impact of environmental degradation on climate and social life. She works as an activist to fight for a clean and sustainable environment.

She can be reached at sonam.k.mittal@gmail.com

This classic saying gives the perfect background view to an aspect which needs urgent discussion -Why are there multiple segments of our society; who still want to believe nuclear as the only way out?Despite reports, long list of countries banning nuclear in their territories, despite all the protest movements, where are these segments rushing into a technology which has earned a label of ‘most expensive way to boil water’? Let’s explore;

We have one segment of climate-concerned, who want to change the world only by reducing carbon emissions. Since nuclear has negligible carbon emissions (highly debatable), this segment loves to promote and propagate nuclear as the only solution for our climate crisis. They ignore continuous radiation leaks or the dangers of dealing with an unstable technology. They ignore huge losses in oceanic biodiversity due to high temperatures of discharge water. They ignore the threat of radiated food crops in the regions nearby. They also ignore the fact that they have no answer the question of nuclear waste disposal.

We have one segment, which believes in economic security, and they link economic security with nuclear growth. They overlook huge economic losses that would be sustained in the entire process of setting up nuclear power plants, right from buying the fuel to commissioning the plant. They also overlook the debt our nation is in, or the loans which needs to be taken, or the subsidies they would have to get into. They are oblivious to nuclear energy being one of the costliest energy providing technology right now.

We have one category of politicians, who really want to do something for the masses, as a pressure, or maybe as an interest. Though they say they work for the people, they would still enforce nuclear down the throats of people who don’t want it in the first place. When questioned, they have a unique ability to come up with creative answers linking nuclear with the betterment of the masses. They conveniently erase facts like businesses would be the first beneficiary of nuclear energy, thehealth industry will benefit from treating long term diseases and the poor would become poorer due to health bills, lack of business opportunities and reduced physical, social and financial capacity to change this situation.

We have another segment of ‘settlers’, who can believe and settle down for anything that comes up in their life. They believe in nuclear only because they don’t want to explore and push the boundaries. Not much can be expected from this category who have grown up with text books which puts Nuclear Energy in the category of ‘Renewable Energy Sources’

We have one category of indifferent population, whose main concern in life is meeting their basic needs of two square meals a day. They need electricity, for sure, but these kinds are least bothered about the source of electricity. Their situation has conditioned them to think only till the level of lack of energy security. They are unable to think on the level of energy sustainability. They place their subconscious trust on the category of pioneers, who would uplift their conditions.

The category of pioneers, are heavily fascinated by technology. This can be a good thing, but they love any technology which will give them power and control, like nuclear. They never would be fascinated by a technology like renewable, specially decentralized renewable energy, which will dissolve power from few individuals and provide power (both literal and figurative) to the people who need it the most.

We also have a special category of nation lovers, who would want nuclear since they believe it would make India a superpower. They conveniently forget that a huge amount of Indian money would be going to other foreign countries and debt-ridden foreign companies who are apparently trying to help us become a superpower. At the end of the day, everything is accountable to the tax-payers money. For India to shine, Indian resources should be scaled within India itself. Maybe the nation-lovers have a different vision for India’s progress. Their support for nuclear also stems from the fact that neighboring countries are already into nuclear technology, so if a war breaks out, then we, as a strong nation, needs to be prepared to give a befitting answer. They conveniently overlook the possibility of a terror attack on an Indian nuclear plant which will unleash a nuclear terror on the land they love so intensely.

The ever essential category of critics plays a crucial role in this entire scenario. They know loopholes and flaws in either side of the argument. They also know what is going wrong, at what time and for what reason. They are content in their life by simply commenting on the current scenario without any real need to utilize their knowledge and skill to support and leverage the right thing.
The most essential category, the protestors, is unfortunately at the bottom rung of the entire ladder. They are the most troubled category. They are used to being treated with injustice and treachery. This category maybe filled with intellectuals, educated, illiterates, someone with knowledge, or even someone without any knowledge. They are willing to sacrifice their life with relay fasts and get arrested for ‘dissent’, one of the most essential elements of democracy.

They dissent because they are being abused by the rulers, abused by power which they bestowed upon those‘leaders’. They protest because they have seen worse in Fukushima, heard worst about Chernobyl. All they dream of is a secure future for themselves and their next generation, and they fight because they see their beautiful dream being threatened for profits.

This category has no boundaries. This category will fight. Continue fighting. Because they know the true meaning of the saying ‘Fools rush in where Angels fear to tread’