Atomic Energy chief seeks media’s help for awareness about nuclear plants

Amid opposition and apprehension about the safety of people and environment vis-à-vis production of nuclear energy, Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) Chairman Dr Ratan Kumar Sinha here on Monday said there was a need to use every possible method available, including the media, to change the public perception and increase awareness about its benefits.

Sinha said the opposition to nuclear power plants, coming up in places like Koodankulam (Tamil Nadu), was limited to a few villages and the residents of the other villages were actually waiting eagerly for the project to begin producing power. "This is not to say that those opposing the power plant are not important. Their concerns too will have to be taken into consideration," Sinha said on the sidelines of a felicitation at Harish-Chandra Research Institute here in Chhatnag.

The function was to honour HRI's Prof Ashoke Sen, who has been awarded the inaugural Yuri Milner Prize (worth $ 3 million) for pioneering research in Fundamental Physics, particularly his contribution towards String Theory.

Sinha, who is also secretary, Department of Atomic Energy, said: "There are many fields related to nuclear science that are helping the people in the country on a daily basis in areas like healthcare and agriculture, which not many people are aware of."

"The threat of exposure to radiation due to nuclear power plant is not even one per cent of what is normally experienced," he added.

Sinha said that the nuclear power generation in India could go up to around 64,000 MW by 2031. Seven power plants, including two units of 1,000 MW each in Koodankulam, were likely to be completed in the 12th Five-year Plan, which concludes in 2017.

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