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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Pakistan’s most renowned nuclear physicist says solar power is better for Pakistan

flag-pakistanKarachi is unsafe with nuclear, solar better Pervez Hoodbhoy, Pakistan’s most renowned nuclear physicist, discusses the prospects of solar power, Chinese nuclear reactors and hopes and fears he has for Pakistan’s energy future., Eco Business,  By Zofeen T. Ebrahim, 20 Feb 17,  “………More nuclear plants don’t make economic sense to me. We are going for nuclear electricity because the Chinese badly want to sell their reactors to Pakistan – we are China’s only customer for nuclear power plants. China has loaned Pakistan 80 per cent of the amount needed for the Karachi Nuclear Power Plants (KANUPP)…..

After the tsunami initiated disaster at the plants in Fukushima, it became clear that having nuclear plants near any city was a bad idea. If something ever goes wrong with KANUPP, what will happen to Karachi defies the imagination. Fukushima was a small town of 80,000 disciplined people.

Karachi has 22 million people most of whom feel no twinge when going through a red light. Evacuating them in any disciplined manner would be impossible. And evacuate to where? A catastrophic disaster doesn’t have to be caused by a tsunami – an act of terrorism, sabotage, earthquakes, or operator error (as happened at Chernobyl in 1986) could all take us down that path…….

The global nuclear industry obviously aims to make safer reactors. But the problem is that no one can foresee all the ways in which things could go wrong. The fuel contained in a typical reactor core has more than a thousand atom bombs’ worth of fissile material.

And, even though a reactor cannot blow up in the same way as a bomb, it can release thousands of times more radioactivity than was released by the bomb explosions over Hiroshima and Nagasaki. As far as our options go, Pakistan does not make nuclear power reactors. These are beyond our technological capability. Making bombs is far easier and obviously we are making lots of them……

Climate change can be better fought by concentrating on solar and wind power, making more efficient electricity grids, and by cutting down on wastage. Also, if one looks into the carbon cost of making nuclear plants, the savings due to cheap nuclear fuel are much less.

How about if we use thorium fission reactors, or is this still an academic discussion?

PH: India has been planning on doing this for 40 years. There’s still no electricity being produced by thorium fuelled reactors. In any case, it’s not an option for Pakistan because we don’t have thorium deposits and do not have the capacity to make our own nuclear power plants. http://www.eco-business.com/news/karachi-is-unsafe-with-nuclear-solar-better/

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February 22, 2017 - Posted by | Pakistan, renewable

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