Report: National Seminar on Nuclear Energy and Environment



10 & 11, Nov 2011

The two day seminar on Nuclear Energy and Environment was well attended and was conducted with all seriousness.

Experts from Nuclear Industry ( NPCIL) presented their views in an unambiguous way and held that Nuclear option is the cheapest and best for the country. Various types of Atomic Reactors and their pros and cons were explained. The built in safety features and other precautionary measures incorporated were detailed.   The Nuclear industry of the Country has 40 years of unblemished experience, and some of the minor accidents have been managed very well and averted. Details regarding some of the surveys especially, the radiation levels around the plants, and the amount of radiation absorbed by plants and animals in the vicinity were shared.

Dr. B. Hanumaiah,  Hon. Vice Chancellor of Lucknow University, who was the chief guest, Hon.Dr. S A Bari, Vice Chancellor of Kuvempu University who precided the Inaugural function,  Dr D V Gopinath, Dr Venkateshwaran, Dr. N Karunakara,  were the prominent  advocates of  Nuclear power stations as safe option.

Sri A S Sadashivaiah, Chairman,  Karnataka Pollution Control Board, recognized the potentials of Nuclear power plant but cautioned about its hazards as well.

Dr A N Nagaraj, former FAO Consultant, Sri Panduranga Hegde, Environmentalist of Appiko movement fame, Sri Shankar Sharma, Energy Consultant, spoke on various aspects of hazards caused by Nuclear power plants as well as various other parameters.

As regards the cost, sighting the example of proposed 9,900 MW Jaitapur plant, the cost of which was pegged at Rs. 20 crores/MW. While that for Phtovoaltaic system was in the range of Rs 18 crores /MW. Where as the Coal based power plant price hovered between Rs. 7 to 8 Crores/MW

Health survey conducted by MAPS (Madras Atomic Power Station) has indicated increased incidences of Cancer, Thyroid disorder, Diabetes and also lower birth weight and birth defects in people living within a range of 5 km.  These findings however were refuted by Atomic faculty present. Then it was brought to the notice of the audience that such results have been published in peer reviewed Journals like British Medical Journal and WHO reports.

The acute shortage of fresh water in the country was highlighted and fear was expressed that Water could be the major limiting factor for Nuclear power plants which are dependent on large quantities of fresh water.

Dr V T Padmanabhan, Environmentalist based at Kerala pointed out that a statistical analysis of natural calamities of the  past two decades indicate a significant  relationship with the Solar Flares, and that Space Weather Science and NASA scientists predict that a Coronal Mass Ejection, a rare phenomenon where a huge mass of Sun is ejected at random directions,  which is likely to affect Earth during first half of 2013, and this would  cause grid failure on a global scale and  affect Nuclear power plants severely. He cautioned the Nuclear power plant engineers to take note of this.

Energy experts pointed to oft  publicized quote of KEB “One unit saved is equal to Two units produced” and urged the policy makers that the Transmission & Distribution losses and losses due to theft, pegged at about 35% to be brought down to 4-8 % (4% in Germany & Japan). Sri Sharma said that it is possible in India and MESCOM has brought it down commendably to 12% . While plant load efficiencies have to be increased  from 65-70% to 85-90%,  to the level of prevalent International practices. The Demand side management too has to be strictly enforced.  When this is done the amount of Electricity that could be saved will more than 30,000 MW, which means that there is no need for go in for more power production in  the immediate future.  Sri Sharma said that even an illiterate would weigh between the  options  open and select the best, and it was difficult for him to understand as to why the policy makers are zeroed on Nuclear option.

Dr Ashok  Kundapur, Ret. Professor from Udupi, Environmentalist and solar cooker Expert, presented various alternate energy options available.  Our country has tremendous Solar Energy potential, to the tune of 5000 trillion kwh., which is many times more than the energy we are now using. He mentioned about, Solar central Towers, Parabolic Trough, Fresnel mirror systems and mainly Solar chimney, which would be ideal for Villages of our country. In Australia, the Thermal Power Plant producers are compelled to produce at least 15 % of power through Alternate energy sources, and that their Indian counter parts too should be encouraged to so. He also shared some details of his Ocean Wave Energy harnessing system which can produce electricity on 24 x 7 basis for all 365 days till ‘Sun & Moon’ last.

During the discussions it emerged that existing Nuclear power plants of the Country are suffering from fuel shortage, and hence the Govt. has entered into contract with the foreign Govts. for supply of Nuclear fuel for the lifetime of the plant which are being purchased by our Govt.

Dr T R Manjunath, Registrar of Kuvempu University, and Prof A S Chandrashekar, member Awareness committee of KPCB chaired the closing ceremony.  Many of the participants shared their views on this two  day seminar. Although some of them confessed that they were bit confused as to decide which source would be the best option for the Country, many felt that the sources which we use should be such that the future generations should be able to enjoy a good environment.  Resolutions of arrived at the Seminar were read out, and after the modifications suggested were incorporated, they have been deemed as accepted.


  1. Considering the overall per capita energy available in our country there was a general consensus that more energy is required for the present and growing population of India.
  2.  Cost – benefit analysis should be mandated with effective participation of public for all types of Energy sources.
  3. In view unpreparedness to handle major Industrial mishaps, especially of Nuclear power plants,  it is felt that all other sources of energy, mainly renewable sources, are to be considered in detail before the best possible option is arrived at.
  4. It is felt that Government should  conduct fresh detailed analysis of the health status of people, other living animals and plants around power plant  installations in the country.
  5. In view of gross inefficiencies prevailing in the power sector of the Country, the assembly felt  that the efficiencies at all stages in the power sector shall be taken to international practice level before considering additional power production.
  6. In view of the limited Uranium reserves in our Country, the issues associated with imported Nuclear fuels must be debated at National level and a transparent policy must emerge.
  7. In view of the fact that the Fresh water becoming scarce, any new power plant which require water,  should view this precious life supporting commodity, as a major limiting factor.
  8. The Coronary Mass Ejection phenomena demands special attention of all persons concerned with Power production and distribution.


Dr B B Hosatti, Head Dept of Bio Sciences, proposed the formal vote of thanks.


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