Japan to build 16 new nuclear reactors

Japan to build 16 new nuclear reactors

Notwithstanding the accident, a large number of Japanese nuclear scientists attending an international conference on reactor safety here uphold the benefits of nuclear power, though they are unanimous in admitting that safety features have to be increased and public have to be communicated on the pros and cons of nuclear energy at length.

“There is a tendency of distrust growing among people, which would eventually go away if all the stakeholders clarify nuclear issues to the common man. The regulatory agencies have to play an active role in disseminating information,” Hiroyuki Kameda, professor emeritus at Kyoto University told Deccan Herald on the side-lines of the conference.

As many as 16 reactors are at various stages of planning and constructions in Japan even though some of the old generation reactors were shut down to improve safety measures. For instance, Chubu Electrical Power Company that closed down its Hamaoka plant, 200 km from Tokyo, after the Fukushima accident, a 1.6 km long and 12 mt high wall along the coast is being created as a protective tsunami barrier.
The scientists made it clear that the nuclear plants at Kudankulam as well as the proposed N-park at Jaitapur clears all safety standards. “But we need to find out how to communicate properly to people as there is a definitive change in public opinion,”said Sujit Samaddar, head of the international seismic safety centre at the IAEA.

Risk calculation in future nuclear reactors should not only take the historical records into account. “In the absence of historical data, scientists must use their imagination even without evidence for risk calculation,” said Kameda.

“But there is no going back on nuclear energy, which remains the cleanest source of energy,” Samaddar said.