Right step towards cheap energy

Following the drastic energy shortfall in Pakistan, the nuclear power generation has emerged as the only safe, cheap and viable option to meet the energy problems. But to go forward with this approach, there is a dire need to create awareness among general masses and allay their fears about safety of nuclear plants. Their apprehensions about these plants do hold some ground in the wake of a couple of nuclear disasters like Three Mile Island (US 1979) accident and Chernobyl disaster (Ukraine, 1986), but now the foolproof safety standards have minimized the radiation factor to almost zero level. The past data indicates strikingly low mortality figures in the accidents occurred in nuclear power plants that too were caused either due to force majeure or human neglect and violation of health, safety and environment code of conduct. There are essentially two measures that must be taken in order to reduce the damage after a nuclear accident occurs. Firstly, the core should be kept cool after an accident so that radioactivity is restricted in the fuel. Secondly, if radioactivity gets released from the fuel it must be ensured that this release is contained and is not exposed to environment. Besides, the amount of fuel used to generate electricity is so much less than that used in fossil fuel plants it is much more practical to do this with used nuclear fuel than with the wastes and emissions from fossil fuels. The urgency of requirement of power generation plants is inevitable because if turmoil of energy shortage persists, the country might be left back into non-recoverable state of disharmony. But this does not mean that we have dearth of eminent expertise to set up the nuclear power technology in the country. The extended life cycle of nuclear power plants also puts them at top brass of optimal methods of power generation as nuclear power plants can be operated for many months without interruption, ensuring reliable supply of electricity. Though the country has a small nuclear power programme with 792 MWe capacity yt it is endeavouring to enhance this substantially. The ground breaking of Karachi Coastal Nuclear Power Plants (K-2/K-3) is one commendable step taken by the government and is also a hint of realization at the top level which is definitely a silver lining in current dismal circumstances of energy shortfall. The K-2/K-3 power plants will contribute a combined 2200 MWe to the grid. This journey should not stop here as the country would have much more to in this sector to meet the national targets.

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