Nobel laureate wants concerns of Jaitapur residents addressed
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Concerns and fears of locals regarding the proposed Jaitapur nuclear power plant have not been addressed, said John Byrne, Nobel laureate and director of the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy (CEEP), University of Delaware.
Byrne, who was in India on a study tour to gauge the Indian perspective on developments in environment and energy sectors, met locals from Jaitapur in Mumbai on Wednesday.
He said all upcoming nuclear projects, including the one at Jaitapur, must analyse and take into consideration all possible risks, even those that "have not been contemplated".
"From the discussion I had with Jaitapur locals, it appears that they have been trying to find answers to several questions like need for this project, possible risks and subsequent measures to be taken and implications of the use of this technology. But they haven't received clear answers yet. They have been told, it appears, that an emergency required this site to be chosen. They have, however, not been told what was this sudden emergency," he said during a press conference which included anti-Jaitapur project activists and project-affected people.
He said accidents and risks associated with nuclear energy are making countries re-think its viability. He said economic viability is also an aspect that has led several countries to move away from nuclear power.
Stating that solar energy is a more sustainable option, he said India can focus on exploiting its "abundant" solar energy resources.
"Nuclear plants are expensive to build, operate and manage. Besides the technological and economic risks, one must also review the consequence of using this technology on coastal ecology and environment. If you are going to use this technology, one must have scientific vigilance in place. Scientists at Fukushima or the Three Mile Island were some of the best, but even they could not foresee the future risks," said Byrne.
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